STYX — The Serpent Is Rising (review)

STYX — The Serpent Is Rising album cover Album · 1973 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Unitron
Styx-The Serpent is Rising

After the good but overall weaker effort of 'Styx II', Styx released one of their most groundbreaking albums yet. The mighty 'The Serpent is Rising' came and became a pretty odd release in Styx's discography.

The Serpent is Rising is a widely varied album, with songs ranging from heavy proto-metal rockers like 'Witch Wolf' and 'Young Man' and softer melodic tracks like 'The Grove of Eglantine' and 'As Bad As This'. Dennis DeYoung wrote most of the songs for the previous album, but guitarist John Curulewski took most of the songwriting duties for this album. This probably led to this album being much heavier then anything Styx had done before, hence James Young or Curulewski singing on most of the tracks. I find it hard to imagine DeYoung's vocals being very suited for the gritty heavy songs, his vocals give a great performance on 'The Grove of Eglantine' though.

My favorite song on the album is 'Young Man', which begins with some great acoustics and pretty dark lyrics. The song builds up quite a bit, especially after a soft melodic bridge when Young screams, quite a contrast. Another standout song is the title track combined with the final two tracks. The title track is sang by Curulewski and his voice fits in perfectly with the swirling keyboards and moogs and heavy menacing guitar. Then comes 'Krakatoa', which is a one and a half-minute track of screams before 'Hallelujah' starts playing.

I'm not sure if this is true, but I've always seen this album as a concept album. It may be subtle, but it appears that it's a concept album about life and death. Many of the lyrical themes connect to different parts of a mans life, 'The Grove of Eglantine' being about finding love, 'Young Man' being about war, 'As Bad as This' having to do with depression, and the title track relating to death.

Overall, this is my personal favorite Styx album and one of my favorite progressive rock albums of all time. It's an extremely underrated album and an album I find flawless.

Hope you found this review helpful.

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