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

The Serpent's Egg
Serpent egg - dead can dance - front.jpg
Studio album by Dead Can Dance
Released 24 October 1988
Genre Neoclassical dark wave
Length 36:15
Label 4AD
Producer Brendan Perry, Lisa Gerrard, John A. Rivers
Dead Can Dance chronology
Within the Realm of a Dying Sun
(1987)Within the Realm of a Dying Sun1987
The Serpent's Egg



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 listingEdit

All tracks written by Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry.

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "The Host of Seraphim" 6:18
2. "Orbis de Ignis" 1:35
3. "Severance" 3:22
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
No. Title Length
1. "Chant of the Paladin" 3:48
2. "Song of Sophia" 1:24
3. "Echolalia" 1:17
4. "Mother Tongue" 5:16
5. "Ullyses" 5:09

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic      [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 other mediaEdit

"The Host of Seraphim" was used in the end credits of the 2007 film The Mist.[3] It was also used in the theatrical trailer for Home of the Brave, and in the non-narrative documentary film Baraka.

Release historyEdit

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)


External linksEdit