Styx's last with Wooden Nickel
Johnny Boy | Hockessin, DE | 06/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'The Serpent Is Rising' featured the last of the Wooden Nickel years. A year later, in 1975, Styx would sign to A&M Records, leaving their old label Wooden Nickel behind. It was then when Wooden Nickel shut down their record company, after Styx signed.
1974's 'The Serpent Is Rising' features several great tunes, most notably one of my all-time favorites 'Witch Wolf.' It is a classic song. Another classic is definitely 'The Grove of Eglantine.' Dennis' voice is superb here, as is the guitar playing of John Curulewski and James Young.
Of course, there is the two-disc 'The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings' that is out. My advice would be to pick that set up instead, because the album is featured there, digitally remastered and everything.
But for those who truly love Styx and want more than their A&M recordings, 'The Serpent Is Rising' is definitely worth a listen. My advice would be to buy this along with 'Equinox,' Styx's first record with A&M Records. They sound great together.
Overall, this is a great record that should definitely be given a listen. Sure, Styx's A&M years got far more attention, but their Wooden Nickel years are just as good.
Highly recommended for any Styx fan. Probably Styx's best record under the Wooden Nickel label.
Great Album, the best Styx album ever.
Ofanin | 06/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my first review in all my amazon buyer history but I decided to write about this album because I think first things should be, if not the best well, may be as good as possible. First, I agree with some reviewers, this is by far the best Styx album ever, not a single track is bad and are also arranged in perfect position... one thing that amazes me is that even for Styx and some fans of the band this is not their best album and also catalogize it as bad, not here in amazon but in other places, some people even do not know about this album... that is very sad, mostly for them because they miss a hell of an amazing piece of art, progressive rock at it's best, even entering into heavy metal sounds (the serpent is rising). I started to purchase Lp records again and this was one of the first Lp's that I got... amazing. So, to cut the bla, bla, bla, if you want a piece of real rock history get this album and hope you have the enough sesibility and brains to understand it... if you do, enjoy it, if you don't, don't act like an ignorant brute giving bad coments about something that you don't understand... no offense."
Styx Simply at their Best
L. Tierney | USA | 02/10/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Before discovering this record I thought that Styx could get no better than The Grand Illusion or Paradise Theater, but I was proven wrong. Here, Styx had still not fine tuned the sound that would ultimately define them, but because their music is like a diamond in the rough, and because they were still very experimental and progressive, it works, and might I say, works well!
The album is a concept album, and a simple one at that, but the music very powerfully carries the message. The overall theme here is of life, death, love, and lust. Simple, no? As I said, Styx carries this concept well.
-Everything begins with "Witch Wolf", a great rocker that will undoubtedly stay with you, and have you learning the lyrics quick so you can sing along. It is written and sung by JY, better than most of his efforts on later albums. The lyrics seem to point toward the Witch Wolf being a prostitute, or at least someone of dark influence who keeps messing up the life of the singer.
-"Grove of Eglantine" follows, written and sung by Dennis DeYoung, though if you were expecting Lady or Babe, then you'll be surprised to hear this far more "sexy" song about a man who lusting after a girl with a "virgin smile" kinda takes advantage of her...kinda. The chorus has a real cool mythic feel to it, but that's just the progressive rock at work. I'll leave you to find out what the Grove of Eglantine is, but I'll warn you, it ain't pretty.
"Young Man", JY does great work as he again produces an awesome rocker with maybe the best message he's ever put into song. It is probably also his best lyrically which makes it that much more powerful. A few progressive vibes are thrown in again just to keep you in awe and in interest.
"As Bad As This", John Curelewski's first footprint on the album, and wow! he's off to a great start. This song IS a sad and regretful song, but it evokes so many emotions in you at once, it's almost liberating to listen [and sing]to. Following it is the hidden track "Plexiglas Toilet". Now, a lot of people say it's the worst song Styx ever wrote, and some are just confused, but it makes a lot of sense. You listen to As Bad As This first when your down and depressed and you let out all of those sad emotions, then you listen to Plexiglas Toilet and it's like an instant pick-me-up.
-"Winner Take All", another song by DeYoung. Is a lot of fun to listen to and kind of "bouncy". Very simple lyrics, and the best part of the song is it's chorus. JY does the singing here, and his voice certainly fits, and does the music justice.
-"22 Years", Written by John Curelewski [though a duet of sorts between Dennis+JY], is a pretty generic rocker. Honestly, there are a lot bands that could have done this song and it would have fit. Regardless, just as with "Winner" the chorus is fun and catchy.
-"Jonas Psalter", Dennis's last contribution and...it's a mixed bag. I really love the music, and song structure but my big gripe is with the lyrics, they just suck. This [and his other songs on the album] are the result of "Lady" not being a success at first, and so he tried being like other bands with his writing. The result is a lyrically poor song about a pirate!
-"The Serpent is Rising", JC is back with a very progressive, and almost metal song about DNA, and evolution. VERY dark, but VERY awesome!
-"Krakatoa", JC keeps up with the darkness in this "epic poem" of sorts. It doesn't have a solid structure which irks me, but may not affect others, and ends with a single note that rises, and rises until you hear the familiar "THX" sound. And btw, this album preceded the company THX by over a decade! So this is where Lucas got the sound from.
-"Halleluja Chorus", a cover by all means of a classical composition, though it is certainly the best conclusion to a very solid album.
The album is a very solid work, though the best of it is in the first few tracks. The album is better enjoyed when listened to as a whole, instead of just individual songs. If you love progressive rock, and even more so if you love Styx, then you will without a doubt enjoy this album. I highly recommend it to anyone!"