The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- An insanely good copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it throughout
- These sides were doing everything right — clear, spacious and musical with tons of energy and a big punchy bottom end
- Perry and Gerrard continued to experiment and improve with The Serpent's Egg, as much a leap forward as Spleen and Ideal was some years previously. As with that album, The Serpent's Egg was heralded by an astounding first track, "The Host of Seraphim"... it's so jaw-droppingly good that almost the only reaction is sheer awe." - All Music, 4 1/2 Stars
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This vintage 4AD pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What the Best Sides of The Serpent's Egg Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1988
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
What We're Listening For on The Serpent's Egg
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
- The Host Of Seraphim
- Orbis De Ignis
- The Writing On My Father's Hand
- In The Kingdom Of The Blind The One-Eyed Are Kings
- Chant Of The Paladin
- Song Of Sophia
- Mother Tongue
AMG 4 1/2 Star Rave Review
Perry and Gerrard continued to experiment and improve with The Serpent's Egg, as much a leap forward as Spleen and Ideal was some years previously. As with that album, The Serpent's Egg was heralded by an astounding first track, "The Host of Seraphim." Its use in films some years later was no surprise in the slightest -- one can imagine the potential range of epic images the song could call up -- but on its own it's so jaw-droppingly good that almost the only reaction is sheer awe.
Beginning with a soft organ drone and buried, echoed percussion, Gerrard then takes flight with a seemingly wordless invocation of power and worship -- her vocal control and multi-octave range, especially towards the end, has to be heard to be believed. Nothing else achieves such heights, but everything gets pretty darn close, a deserved testament to the band's conceptual reach and abilities.
Slow plainsong chants such as "Orbis De Ignis" mix with the harpischord and overlaid vocals of "The Writing on My Father's Hand" and the slow build and sweep of "In the Kingdom of the Blind the One-Eyed Are Kings." Two of Perry's finest vocal moments occur here. The first, "Severance," is a slow, organ/keyboard led number that showcases his rich, warm vocals exquisitely -- it's no wonder that Bauhaus chose to cover it some years later on its reunion tour. "Ullyses," the album's closing track, makes for a fine ending as much as "The Host of Seraphim" did an opening, Perry's delivery almost like a reading from a holy book, the arrangement of strings and percussion rhythmic, addictive and lovely.