Serpent's Knight

Silent Knight... of Myth and Destiny

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Before he carved out a successful career as the leader of Nevermore and Sanctuary, lead singer Warrel Dane cut his teeth with a highly theatrical, amateur heavy metal band named Serpent's Knight in the early 1980s. So amateurish, in fact, that Dane would later seek to disown and even obfuscate any trace of his involvement, prompting Serpent's Knight jilted founder and guitarist Brad Poland to partner with the Shadow Kingdom label for the express purpose of exposing the group's homemade demos to the world at large. 2010's two-disc collection, Silent Knight… of Myth and Destiny, became the agent for his revenge, and it's easy to understand Dane's dismay whilst listening to these terribly reproduced, boombox-quality recordings. For the most part, they reveal a barely competent garage band, more preoccupied with molesting groupies, posing in full metallic regalia in local cemeteries, and patching together theatrical gothic-horror stage shows than working on developing their songs or musical skills. The first disc's contents were captured between 1983 and 1985 and essentially consist of Euro-influenced heavy metal, not dissimilar in style to what cross-town rivals like Metal Church or early Queensrÿche were experimenting with at the time (just nowhere near as good), rounded out by additional comparisons to Mercyful Fate, whose falsetto-happy lead singer King Diamond was apparently a major influence on Dane's equally high-pitched histrionics. In short: die-hard Warrel Dane fans (or more likely non-fans) may get a perverse thrill out of these low-fidelity relics, but the joke may ultimately be on them, after having to sit and listen all the way through. That's not the end of it, though, as the second disc collects a selection of 1989 demos recorded with Serpent's Knight's next lead singer, one Mark G., but the end results are no more enticing than what came before. The sound quality may be marginally better, but it's evident from the simplified, less ambitious song structures and tasteless dross like "Sick Bloody C**t" that the boys in Serpent's Knight were really trying to shock listeners rather than legitimately entertain them. No wonder the group never grew up in time to make a career of it, but instead wound up a dish served ice cold to consumers, years after the fact and for ulterior motives, no less.

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