The Serpent's Egg (album)

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The Serpent's Egg
Serpent egg - dead can dance - front.jpg
Studio album by
Released24 October 1988
GenreNeoclassical dark wave
ProducerBrendan Perry, Lisa Gerrard, John A. Rivers
Dead Can Dance chronology
Within the Realm of a Dying Sun
The Serpent's Egg

The Serpent's Egg is the fourth studio album by the Australian band Dead Can Dance, released on 24 October 1988 by record label 4AD.


The album was the last produced while Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard were a romantic couple. A majority of the album was recorded in a multi-storey apartment block in the Isle of Dogs, London.

Perry discussed the album's title: "In a lot of aerial photographs of the Earth, if you look upon it as a giant organism—a macrocosmos—you can see that the nature of the life force, water, travels in a serpentine way".[1]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry.

Side A
1."The Host of Seraphim"6:18
2."Orbis de Ignis"1:35
4."The Writing on My Father's Hand"3:50
5."In the Kingdom of the Blind the One-Eyed Are Kings"4:12
Side B
1."Chant of the Paladin"3:48
2."Song of Sophia"1:24
4."Mother Tongue"5:16


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[2]

In a retrospective review, AllMusic said, "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", heaping particular praise on the album opener "The Host of Seraphim", which it called "so jaw-droppingly good that almost the only reaction is sheer awe".[2]


In popular culture[edit]

"The Host of Seraphim" was featured in the 1992 non-narrative documentary film Baraka (and was included in the film's soundtrack), the theatrical trailer for 2006 film Home of the Brave, in the final scenes of the 2007 film The Mist[4] and in the 2018 film Lords of Chaos.

A short excerpt of "Ullyses" was also used as background music in the BBC Horizon episode #30.7 "Hunt For The Doomsday Asteroid" in February 1994, originally broadcast ahead of the predicted impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with the planet Jupiter in July that same year.

"Severance" was used in the "Victims of Circumstance" episode of Miami Vice.

Release history[edit]

Country Date
Australia 24 October 1988
United States 2 February 1994


  • Lisa Gerrard – vocals, production on tracks 3–6, 8 and 9
  • Brendan Perry – vocals, hurdy-gurdy, production, sleeve design
  • Andrew Beesley – viola
  • Sarah Buckley – viola
  • Tony Gamage – cello
  • Alison Harling – violin
  • Rebecca Jackson – violin
  • David Navarro Sust – vocals
  • John A. Rivers – co-production on tracks 1, 2, 7 and 10
  • Vaughan Oliver – sleeve design (with Brendan Perry)


  1. ^ "The Serpent's Egg (1988)". Dead Can Dance. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b "The Serpent's Egg – Dead Can Dance". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 February 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Patrin, Nate (21 July 2015). "The 10 Best Chemical Brothers Songs". Stereogum.
  4. ^ "Dead Can Dance". IMDB.

External links[edit]