Here we have a special delicacy for everyone who's interested in Warrel Dane's (Nevermore) first musical steps. Before he joined Sanctuary, Dane was the singer in SERPENT'S KNIGHT and this compilation, released in 2010 by Shadow Kingdom Records, gives an overview about his first recordings with the band. In addition, there are also a couple of songs on the second disc which have been recorded in the late 1980's with Mark G. on vocals. SERPENT'S KNIGHT was one of those bands who never had the chance to record a proper studio album and this amazed me somewhat, because the quality of their material is very good. The fifteen tracks on disc 1, entitled 'Released From The Crypt', were recorded between 1983 and 1985, featuring Warrel Dane on vocals with the exception of 'After The Dark' and 'Mystic Psalms'. Of course, you have to have a strong preference for insanely high pitched vocals, because otherwise this will become a painful experience.
Apart from the self-penned songs, there's also a good cover of Jefferson Airplane's 'White Rabbit' that sounds like an own composition. Besides that, SERPENT'S KNIGHT really had their shit together and even the average sound quality does not ruin the music. With regard to the sound, it should be noted that all tracks have been recorded with home equipment. Here we have historical recordings and I think we should all be pleased that these tapes had survived the last 25 years. Furthermore, the songs were re-mastered by guitarist Brad Poland for better results. I cannot deny that SERPENT'S KNIGHT music unfolds a unique and mysterious charm, especially in semi-ballads such as 'Tears Of Love' which surprises with strong 1970's leanings. In all other respects, however, SERPENT'S KNIGHT was a pure-bred dark heavy metal band of the 1980's, strongly influenced by Mercyful Fate and Judas Priest. However, I must honestly admit that Warrel Dane often exaggerates its style and sometimes I just have to grin. It continues with disc 2, entitled '3000 Degrees In the Shade'.
With the exception of the last two tracks 'Battle Angels' and 'The First Spider After Winter', the remaining eight songs have been recorded in 1989. In the meantime, Warrel Dane was replaced by Mark G. and, fortunately, his vocal style is less extreme and theatrical. Also the sound quality is much better than on 'Released From The Crypt'. On the musical scale SERPENT KNIGHT's stick to their roots although these songs are a bit more aggressive than the old stuff. As so often, Shadow Kingdom Records did a killer job on 'Silent Knight...Of Myth And Destiny'. The extensive and thick booklet contains the complete band history, including tons of rare photos and there's also a bonus video of SERPENT'S KNIGHT first show. It should be clear to everyone that this compilation was made for heavy metal completists and Sanctuary/Nevermore fans only, but they have a reason to be pleased.