Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Serpents Of Glory - DieFly
Musical Style: Classic Hard Rock Produced By: Summers & Weldon
Record Label: Independent Country Of Origin: US
Year Released: 2008 Artist Website:
Tracks: 10 Rating: 75%
Running Time: 41:42
Serpents Of Glory - DieFly

Rolla, Missouri is home to Serpents Of Glory and its melding of the acoustic and electric: acoustic in terms of its how it establishes a classic rock driven environs but electric in how it also mixes in elements of straightforward hard rock.  The group presents with its independently released 2008 full length debut DieFly.  The album proves a musically consistent effort characterized by the diversity of its songwriting, ranging from upbeat hard rockers “It’s All About Me” and “Livin’ On The Downlow” to acoustic laced mid-paced pieces “When I Die I’ll Fly”, “No Time To Waste” and “Serendipity”.  In between Serpents Of Glory delivers two tracks combining elements of hard rock and the acoustic – “Crossbars Hotel” and “So Misunderstood” – along with the scratchy blues rocker, “Pay At The Pump”, and Floydian influenced “One More OC”.
While DieFly took several listens to fully grow into, I learned to appreciate the well constructed nature of its material.  With “Homesick” being the lone exception, each of its tracks brings that extra spark or musical freshness that would allow them to hold up under repeated play- and its melody to remain in your head for some time.  That said, DieFly does trend towards the mid-tempo side of things, leaving one with the feeling that another upbeat composition or two would have made for the more uniform listen.  Replace “Homesick”, for example, with a hard rocker along the lines of “It’s All About Me” and I would have raised the final score by at least 5%.

The musicianship of Serpents Of Glory is also a strong point.

It all starts with the varied vocal abilities of Russ Summers.  The likes of “It’s All About Me”, “Crossbars Hotel” and “So Misunderstood” find him adding an edgy Alice Cooper-like feel to his delivery while he takes a smoother approach on “When I Die I’ll Fly”, “One More OC” and “No Time To Waste”.  “Pay At The Pump” even finds him adding some complementary grit and gravel. 

Lead guitarist Eddie Weldon proves equally able.  He puts his best foot forward when cutting loose in bluesy fashion, as demonstrated on “When I Die I’ll Fly”, “No Time To Waste” and “One More OC”, but can exhibit a more aggressive side to his abilities as well (check out “Crossbars Motel” and “Livin’ On The Downlow”). 

In terms of the production, a bit of muddiness exists in the low end but, otherwise, things are solid for an independent release.

Serpents Of Glory, a group that believes the biggest lie the Devil ever told was to convince the world he had all the good music, focuses on lyrical issues that impact the culture of our day.  Topics include self-centeredness (“It’s All About Me”), drug addiction (“One More OC”), prison (“Crossbars Motel”) homosexuality (“Livin’ On The Downlow”) and the high price of gas (“Pay At The Pump”).

Raucous hard rocker “It’s All About Me” gets things going.  One of the albums few upbeat tracks, the song allows for a snarling rhythm guitar to set the tone while Russ Summers provides the edge with his cutting vocal delivery (complementary Alice Cooper-ish feel to his approach here).  The chorus, heavy duty but catchy, aligns itself with the caustic scene.  “It’s All About Me” focuses on the narcissistic age we live in:

It’s me first
That’s my golden rule
I make no exceptions
And I never, ever lose

I’m never wrong
You’re never right
You better treat me special
Because I’m one of a kind

It’s all about me
It’s not about you
It’s all about me
Forget you

“When I Die I’ll Fly” heads in a tempered classic rock direction.  An acoustic guitar compels the song its distance, underlining its composed verse portions and a catchy chorus in which a laid back setting is put into place.  Eddie Weldon steps forward with a run of bluesy lead guitar.  “When I Die I’ll Fly” talks about reaching the end of your life and having no regrets:

Now it’s time to say goodbye
Hope you had a good time
And if you should get to heaven before I do
Tell all my friends, I’ll see them soon

When I die I fly
Into the eye of the hurricane
Fly so high
Past the stars in the sky

“One More OC” has a bit of a Pink Floyd vibe to it.  Another tempered and relaxed piece, the song takes an atmospheric blending of acoustic guitar and keyboards and backs it with quite the abundant melody- compelling, gripping and certain to pull you in on first listen.  A complementary touch of razor-like lead guitar closes out its final minute.  “One More OC” focuses on drug addiction (OC stands for OxyContin):

Doctor, doctor
Can you give me one pill
Doctor, doctor
Can you give me one pill

One More OC just to help me numb the pain

Quite my drinkin’
I just take these little pills
Quite my drinkin’
I just take these little pills

One More OC just to help me numb the pain

But offers hope in the end:

Read my Bible
Pray to Jesus everyday…

“Crossbars Motel” presents with some interesting time changes.  The song gently meanders through its first two verses acoustically, abruptly picking up in pace as a hard hitting rhythm guitar bursts in to shore up the driving chorus that follows.  No, this might not be the albums catchiest piece but the weighty environs puts it over the top.  Another expanse of furious lead guitar.  “Crossbars Motel” is an acronym for prison:

Checked in but you can’t check out
One way ticket
Gonna stay til’ you rot
Room service is three hots and a cot

Ball and chain
Driving me insane

The crescendo of aggressive riffs at the start of “So Misunderstood” soon gives way to a quietly played guitar.  Hauntingly flowing through its verse portions with a female voice in the background, the song regains its momentum as the rhythm guitar returns to back a muscular chorus dealing with the moral dilemma of having no absolute right or wrongs:

White is black and black is white
Right is wrong and wrong is right
Good is bad and bad is good
I am so misunderstood

The biting vocal delivery of Russ Summers gives another track an old school Alice Cooper vibe.  Once more, the moral dilemma in question is the subject matter at hand:

Is this the beginning
Or is this the end
I love my enemies
I hate my friends

Death and destruction
They are calling, calling out my name
I think I’m normal
But they say, they say I’m insane

I might describe “No Time To Waste” as subdued classic rock (sort of like “When I Die I’ll Fly”).  The aura conveyed by the song throughout is relaxed, smoothing flowing front to back to a quiescent guitar in highlighting a riveting chorus and extended instrumental section sustained by a blend of keyboards, piano and bluesy lead guitar.  Albums best song.  The message here is how fast time flies:

Like flowers in the field
You bloom and are gone
And only the memories linger on

The road in life
Has very little time
Pretty soon my friend
You reach the end of the line

The song is ending
Never get to play it again

And you got no time to waste…

“Livin’ In The Downlow” is a much needed upbeat hard rocker.  A metal-edged rhythm guitar sustains the song its length, establishing an energized setting with its jagged momentum and Eddie Weldon’s snarling lead guitar.  Initiative tapers, if only just slightly, for a chorus which finds the bass guitar moving to the front of the mix.

Lyrically, this is the albums most controversial number.  The bands track description at CD Baby offers further detail:

“Livin On The Downlow” is a real problem for women who don’t know their men are homosexuals.

Yes, a touchy subject; and the group approaches things in a tasteful manner.  That said, the theme of living a double life, in my estimation, can be applied to all aspects of life and not just one defined area, which seems to be the backbone of what Serpents Of Glory is trying to convey here.  Where I differ with the guys, however, is that unlike “One More OC” they do not offer any answers for a person trapped in such a lifestye.  They just simply present the facts but no solutions and then move on. 

Blues rocker “Pay At The Pump” will delight fans of Glenn Kaiser Band and Stevie And The Saints.  Resonating a refreshingly upbeat momentum, the song stands out with its gut-level chorus – in which Russ Summers adds an element of mettle to his delivery – and lyrics dealing with the high price of gasoline:

Pay at the pump
Debit or credit
Pay at the pump
Do you want a car wash
Pay at the pump
Takes all your money

All in all, a blues based number that is nothing less than fun to listen to that, unlike the previous one, presents with a lyrical direction not quite so heavy handed.

“Homesick” is the only track here I struggle with.  A song that fails to find itself, “Homesick” cannot decide if it’s another blues rocker or a classic rock driven piece.  Add it up either way, the spark of the albums better material is missing and, more often than not, I end up hitting the skip button.  I wish there were another catchy hard rocker in its place instead.

“Serendipity” ends things fittingly with its acoustic leanings, occasionally touching things up with a hard rocking rhythm guitar- such as at the end of its pointed chorus – and more lead guitar on the adept side of things.  Some nice time changes are made (again, from the acoustic to electric) and lyrics portraying what one finds on the journey of life:

Driving down the road
And I looked up to see
The man in the mirror
Well, he looked like me
Pulled the car
And I thanked him for the ride
Think I’ll do some walking
So I said goodbye

Went by a church
And I stopped there to pray
Went to the altar with my ball and chain
Said Lord if You can hear me
I could sure use a hand
And He gave me a ticket to the promised land

Review by: Andrew Rockwell

Track Listing: “It’s All About Me” (3:18), “When I Die I’ll Fly” (3:37), “One More OC” (6:03), “Crossbars Hotel” (3:39), “So Misunderstood” (4:39), “No Time To Waste” (5:14), “Livin’ In The Downlow” (4:38), “Pay At The Pump” (3:32), “Homesick” (3:37), “Homesick” (3:34)

Russ Summers – Lead Vocals, Guitars & Keyboards
Eddie Weldon – Guitars
E.K. Summers – Bass
Rus-T Summers - Drums


Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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