Known more for metal and heroic bass pedalling than toppy jazz, Derek Roddy also has an instrumental band, Serpents Rise, that features a more wide-ranging percussive style. Hence his signature Serpents series, which joins German firm Meinl's Byzance range of cymbals - manufactured in Turkey.
"The idea is that either cymbal can be mounted on top or bottom"
These 14" hand-hammered hi-hats follow on from the already-released 13" version and combine a heavy Brilliant cymbal with a slightly thinner unlathed Extra Dry one. The idea is that either cymbal can be mounted on top or bottom.
Also reviewed, the new Turbo Crasher consists of dual bands of corrugated steel, 10" (25cm) across, attached to a standard mounting bracket.
Roddy's Serpents hi-hats are a two-in-one package. With the unlathed cymbal on top you get a loud and clear response with a thickly dark tonality. It's a pretty heavy pairing, so you get plenty of sharpness when pedalling and the shoop/bark is big and dusky.
Now if you invert them so the heavier Brilliant cymbal is on top the sound is treblier. In fact the half-open smashed sound will loosen your ear wax - a piercing, almost shrill blast. Yet through it all there is a smooth tone, clean and bright, almost sweet. This is a versatile double set-up that will favour many styles, not just rock and metal but anywhere that you appreciate a decent amount of ready volume with flexibility.
The Turbo Crasher gives a short and rather innocuous clatter. The twin corrugated bands of steel are fastened slightly apart, free to rattle as you swipe them, giving you an abrupt metallic 'tish'. It's not particularly loud or cutting, but could, for example, provide a useful alternative feel to constant hi-hat.