The Snake The Cross The Crown - Mander Salis (Cover Artwork)

The Snake The Cross The Crown

The Snake The Cross The Crown: Mander SalisMander Salis (2004)
Equal Vision Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I had heard this band referred to as sounding like former labelmates Coheed and Cambria. While I would not have any problem with this it was not the case; the only glaring similarity is their shared fondness of long songs, though SCC keeps it a little more under control keeping half the tracks betw.
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I had heard this band referred to as sounding like former labelmates Coheed and Cambria. While I would not have any problem with this it was not the case; the only glaring similarity is their shared fondness of long songs, though SCC keeps it a little more under control keeping half the tracks between the standard 3 to 4 minute range. Although their sound is just rock and not really anything that odd, I had trouble figuring out who they do sound like.

Formed by brothers Franklin and William Sammons in their hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, SCC was originally called Curbside Service. They soon relocated to Santa Barbara, California, and changed their name before releasing the EP Like a Moth Before the Flame on Waste Of Time Records. I've never heard that record, maybe they sounded like CoCa then, but on here their overall sound would be compared more to old Radiohead, when electronics were auxiliary and not the forefront. And actually, the very first thing I thought after pressing play was Thom Yorke. While the voices are not identical, I noticed Franklin's intentional slight slurring of speech, scooping up to notes, creepy melodies and liking of falsetto to be similar. There is none of the ultra-falsetto of your favorite big hair frontman to be found. The music underneath is dark and layered with acoustic and electric guitars, keys and programming, giving an overall sound reminiscent of recent tourmates Murder by Death, all the way to the almost old west feel in songs like "A Brief Intermission" with its horsie clippity-clop percussion. Their southern upbringing may have inspired the almost bluegrass "Empires", and while even though it's in 6/4 is sounds like a less mellow Iron & Wine or maybe something off of Mock Orange's newest. And then you've got "The Laughing Man" which sounds like "Clocks" by Coldplay (who happen to sound a lot like old Radiohead) at the beginning due to the piano and the rhythm, but then it changes thankfully. Though SCC know how to play their instruments and they throw in a meter change here and there, I would never associate "prog" with their sound, however that affects your opinion of the band is up to you.

"An Honest Misapproriation of Funds" may be kind of a long title (at least there's no colon in there), and sure it starts the album with an arpeggiated buzzing synth line, but it soon veers into tambourine, clean guitar and a Yorke-style vocal line. As it builds, a second vocal line comes in, intertwining with the first. This band is all about layering, and this shows it right from the start with vocals on top of vocals and piano on top of guitar, all over top of building bass and drums. "Gates of Dis" is a favorite, but simply a song that sounds a bunch like the mentioned bands, with a creepy verse melody and a memorable chorus hook, but not pop like the pop metal of some Coheed. "A Gathering of Shades" has a smooth falsetto melody in the chorus, my favorite vocal line on the album, and an interesting sweeping melody throughout the rest as well. 9 minute "Echolalia" is my favorite track, taking its sweet time to get rocking and making it all the more worthwhile. It has 2 ½ minutes of ambient noise, then takes off into a driving riff with arpeggiated keyboards behind it. The chorus finally comes and we find the vocals fitting in between the guitar chords, and a broad-ranged melody over top. It ends on a mellow note with a Death Cab-ish swelling of music returning to the ambience from whence it came. It ends with the spooky acoustic / piano tune "The Fields of Ius" which could have fit easily on The Bends as maybe "Fake Plastic Trees II".

Mostly positives have been spoken to this point, but the album is kind of a hard listen at first. It is kind of long, but not unbearably so. Also, although the melodies and riffs could be called catchy at times, it takes at least three listens before you will get any song stuck in your head. I don't know what to attribute that to, it may be that the lyrics are difficult to understand, therefore you can't sing along right away.

I'm just trying to give this band a chance to be heard by the Coheed haters. They really don't sound alike at all. Sure Coheed fans may like this, but so could anybody. The Snake The Cross The Crown are just a rock band that knows how to put layer upon layer to create interesting dark songs that would never be labeled "prog" or compared to Rush by anyone who actually took the time to listen.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
rockguy2007 (March 13, 2007)

i like, check out scary kids scarying kids.

sweetsugarpezz (October 22, 2004)

i found this album used at my local record shop. i think this is appropriate- some like it, some don't. i can not get enough of this stuff, whilst the person before me obviously did not, therefore hooking me up with this record for cheap!

oh, and the only reason that the snake the cross the crown can be compared to coheed and cambria is because they share(d) the same label. thats it. in my opinion, comparing these two is pretty absurd.

Anonymous (October 22, 2004)

Haha, that 2nd paragraph contained the most band comparisons ever.

Anonymous (October 21, 2004)

I hadn't heard of them before but I saw them play before Gatsby's American Dream and I was very impressed. Good stuff.

Anonymous (October 21, 2004)

maybe its just be
but since their ep they have always reminded me a lot of old juliana theory

Anonymous (October 20, 2004)

muse, they sound like muse. 'cept a lot better

greg0rb (October 19, 2004)

Scott: I'm not saying that you have to like this, but I think I figured out your problem. TOO MUCH FREE MUSIC. You dont have time to have an album win you over, or you dont have the patience. It's like you have to already know you're going to like something or you dont give it much of a chance. It's understandable with how many cds pass your way, but you might be missin out on some occasions.

wearingawire (October 19, 2004)

I enjoyed it. There first EP was a lot better though.

Anonymous (October 19, 2004)

This record is...okay. I bought it along with the new Lovedrug for 15$ Canadian, then, after listening to both of them, wondered if I perhaps had been ripped off.


colossalbandit (October 19, 2004)

I like the song "the contortionist" does the rest of this cd sound like that.
PS i remember back in the day curbside service played RAUNCHY ska, then they played rock with horns, then they lost the horns and played REALLY poppy punk, and now this is just chill/ jam music... isnt that interesting

maverick (October 19, 2004)

I fell asleep like two songs into this disc.


bemused (October 19, 2004)

Great record, the review is dead on.


Anonymous (October 19, 2004)

I like Coheed, but this is still crap. Too pompous for words.

Anonymous (October 19, 2004)

I like this a lot.

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