The Serpent Is Rising

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The Serpent Is Rising
Styx - The Serpent Is Rising.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 1973
Recorded1973 at Paragon Recording Studios, Chicago; St. James Cathedral, Chicago
LabelWooden Nickel
ProducerStyx, Barry Mraz
Styx chronology
Styx II
The Serpent Is Rising
Man of Miracles
Singles from The Serpent Is Rising
  1. "Winner Take All"
    Released: 1973
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2/5 stars [1]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide1/5 stars [2]

The Serpent Is Rising is the third album by American band Styx, released in October 1973, a mere three months after their previous album Styx II in July 1973.

The album was reissued in 1980 with new artwork and a new title, Serpent.[3]

The album peaked at #192 on the Billboard 200, their second-lowest charting album, and as of 2007 has sold fewer than 100,000 copies worldwide.[4]

Songs and reception[edit]

Described as a loose concept album, The Serpent Is Rising contains a number of sexual innuendos. The baroque prog "The Grove of Eglantine" (written by DeYoung) was about a woman's vagina. It has some harpsichord and accordion, to give a British/European sound.

The proggish title track was written by John Curulewski, is about the serpent beginning to rise. Musically, it has some King Crimson influence especially on their debut album.

The screaming spoken word "Krakatoa" by Curulewski was named for the volcano event of the same name in 1883. It features an ending glissando which was taken from a Beaver and Krause track called "Spaced" in 1970, for which they were credited on the album; the song later made it onto the THX audio snippet Deep Note.[5]

The acoustic bluesy track "As Bad as This" by Curulewski has a hidden track called "Plexiglas Toilet" which is a calypso humor about a boy who is sitting on a Plexiglass toilet and having problems. The track features only Curulewski and the Panozzo Brothers. The song was played on the Dr. Demento radio show and "Weird Al" Yankovic supposedly loved it.[6]

The album also includes James Young rockers "Witch Wolf" and "Young Man", the upbeat "Winner Take All" (written by DeYoung and sung by Young) and the boogie-woogie track "22 Years" (written by Curulewski but sung as a duet by DeYoung and Young); the outro for that track features the producer and president of Wooden Nickel records Bill Traut on saxophone.

The prog rocker "Jonas Psalter" was written by DeYoung and sung by Young. Lyrically, it was about pirates. Musically, it has elements of the contemporary sound of Yes, and also featured Moog Synthesizer.

The album finished with Handel's Hallelujah classical piece, features all the band members singing and DeYoung played a pipe organ on cathedral in Chicago.

Styx considers The Serpent Is Rising to be their worst recording. Dennis DeYoung is indirectly quoted as saying it was "one of the worst recorded and produced in the history of music."[7][8]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Witch Wolf"James Young, Ray BrandleYoung3:57
2."The Grove of Eglantine"Dennis DeYoungDeYoung5:00
3."Young Man"J. Young, Richard YoungYoung4:45
4."As Bad as This"
  • a. "As Bad as This" - 3:45
  • b. "Plexiglas Toilet" (Hidden Track) - 2:22"
John CurulewskiCurulewski6:10
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Winner Take All"DeYoung, Charles LofranoYoung3:10
2."22 Years"CurulewskiDeYoung, Young3:39
3."Jonas Psalter"DeYoungYoung4:41
4."The Serpent Is Rising"Curulewski, LofranoCurulewski4:55
5."Krakatoa"Curulewski, Paul Beaver, Bernard L. KrauseCurulewski1:36
6."Hallelujah Chorus" (from George Frideric Handel's Messiah)HandelDeYoung, Young, Curulewski, C. Panozzo, J. Panozzo2:14



Additional personnel[edit]


  • Producers: Styx, Barry Mraz
  • Engineer: Barry Mraz
  • Cover art: Dennis Pohl


Album - Billboard (United States)

Year Chart Position
1974 Pop Albums 192


  1. ^ Planer, Lindsay. Styx: The Serpent Is Rising at AllMusic. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  2. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 789. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  3. ^ "Styx - Serpent". Discogs. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  4. ^ Harrigan, Brian (1980). H.M.-- A-Z. Bobcat Books. p. 74. ISBN 9780860019282.
  5. ^ "THX logo theme song... an observation?". Steve Hoffman Music Forums. 30 May 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  6. ^ "'Weird Al': 5 Songs to Scare the Neighbors". Rolling Stone. 16 March 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  7. ^ Koch, Bob (8 January 2011). "Vinyl Cave: "The Serpent is Rising" by Styx". Isthmus, Madison, Wisconsin. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  8. ^ Whitaker, Sterling (2006). The Grand Delusion: The Unauthorized True Story of Styx. S. Whitaker. p. 142. ISBN 9781419653537. Retrieved 11 July 2018.

External links[edit]