Sunday, 11 July 2010

Review: SERPENTINE - 'A Touch of Heaven'

Serpentine
"A Touch of Heaven"

Genre: AOR/Prog
AOR Heaven

Tony Mills is a busy fella right now. Aside from fronting TNT he seems to be turning into something of a journeyman as far as AOR releases go right now. This is just one of the many projects he has been involved with in recent years, and the former SHY frontman is on very fine form indeed. The songs on offer with this album immediately bring to mind Journey at their peak, however the undeniable comparisons don't stop the songs being great.

The title track gets things off to a pleasantly uptempo start, with hugely melodic hooks that bring to mind Kansas and Styx as well as old school Journey. 'Whatever Heartache' follows and is a little more mellow, while track three brings us the first big ballad with 'Lonely Nights'. The album continues with 'For the love of it all', and while this would be where some albums start to struggle, here we continue to get quality.

The album is unashamedly old school in it's approach, but the songs, the performances and the little touches of progressive rock keep it lively and fun. It almost feels like a lost album by one of the greats of the genre, such is the finesse of the songwriting. It's a disc I have been playing a great deal since it arrived, and it continues to improve with each successive listen. While the AOR genre will probably never be any great shakes in terms of success ever again, it continues to thrive with such high quality releases as this one. AOR Heaven have another gem on their hands here, and the six musicians involved deserve some serious kudos. It may be bright and melodic, but it still rocks.

...apart from the cover of Toni Braxton's 'Unbreak my Heart'. After such a good album, it does kind of end on a note of WTF?

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