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Serpentine: A Touch of Heaven

Another month, another album featuring Tony Mills was my first thought on receiving A Touch of Heaven, the debut album from AOR sextet Serpentine. 2010 is not even three months old and Mills has already featured on State of Rock and now this latest effort, released across Europe via AOR Heaven. And aside from these latest endeavours Mills still fronting TNT and has also rejoined SHY, the Birmingham band with whom he first made his name. But any suggestions that Mills might be spreading himself too thinly are soon dispelled on hearing the opening four cuts of A Touch of Heaven, each of which offers up some of the smoothest and vibrant melodic rock you could wish to hear.

It may be Mills' soaring voice that stamps its authority all over his release but the band had its origins back in 2007 when the trio of Gareth D Noon (keyboards), Chris Gould (guitar) and Gareth Van Stone (bass) combined to demo new material. Vocals were originally handled by American Greg Flores but the logistical issues of using a frontman from across the Atlantic proved problematic and Mills stepped in with the line-up rounded out by second guitarist John Clews and drummer Charlie Skeggs. With Mark Stuart (known for his work with Magnum) on hand to provide impeccable production AOR Heaven has secured one of the most impressive new names on the melodic radar.

Keyboard flourishes, lush harmonies and breathless vocals provide the opening of the title track before the main riff kicks in aided by some surging guitars and Serpentine make an immediate impact. "Whatever Heartache" will delight fans of Journey and Survivor and is the obvious first single for which the band have also released an excellent video; an anthemic, sweeping epic with double tracked guitars and a killer chorus. The moody "Lonely Nights" and the ballad "For The Love Of It All" ebb and flow and sound natural and from the heart and if the rest of the album dips slightly it is more a testimony to the strength of this opening quartet than a criticism of what follows. This is an album that deserves to be heard live and hopefully the band will have the opportunity to take it on the road later this year.

The hugely impressive debut album by W.E.T. at the end of 2009 and now this effort from Serpentine just a few months later are proof enough that the melodic rock genre is enjoying an upsurge in fortunes and have helped breathed new life into the scene. If Serpentine can build on the momentum of A Touch of Heaven then there is every chance they can become Tony Mills main concern.

Track Listing
1. A Touch of Heaven
2. Whatever Heartache
3. Lonely Nights
4. For The Love Of It All
5. Let Love Rain Down
6. In My Blood
7. Fashion
8. We Belong
9. Love Suicide
10. Unbreak My Heart

Added: March 6th 2010
Reviewer: Dean Pedley
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3221
Language: english

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