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Warpicks - Age of Exploration CD (album) cover

AGE OF EXPLORATION

Warpicks

 

Heavy Prog

3.94 | 17 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Heavy Seas...

Warpicks are a heavy progressive rock band hailing from Sandvika, Norway, which is close to Oslo. They've been around since 2013 I believe and the band consists of Armin Koshyar Amiri (b), Gjermund Førland Berg (d), Jannik V. Korsvold (g/v), and Markus A. Skjærstad (g). In 2014 the group released a debut EP called "Good Enough for Jazz" and in April 2016 comes the full length "Age of Exploration." The 6-part conceptual seafaring tale of a 17th century explorer was a joy to take in. Via video they made of one of their practices, one quickly discerns that these young guys not only enjoy very much their band friendships, but that they have put in the time on practicing their chops. There is a high degree of fluidity and complimentary playing that really enriches the material, which is surprisingly well constructed for an early effort.

Warpicks may be heavy progressive rock first and foremost, but there are elements of jazz and perhaps more so metal lurking just outside the door of their practice space, plotting how to get in. Sometimes they succeed and the guys are briefly possessed, other times not. But the long epic tracks provide plenty of ground for instrumental explorations while still holding the instantly jamming riffs and killer punches intact. The listener can very quickly get into the music after just a couple spins, while the band retains enough room to do their own things around the edges. I love that. That's something that some "prog" bands forget: before you can make a good "progressive" album, it needs to be a good "rock" album first. It needs to engage the heart as well as the mind or many people will not return to it.

Comparisons are always problematic but I always just go with the first ones that pop into my head. I hear a bit of Remedy Lane era Pain of Salvation (listen to the middle of Uncharted Lands), the energy and hooks of Powerslave era Iron Maiden, and I think they'd even appeal to Rush and Ohm fans. Beyond my noted metal descriptors there are obviously other jazz/instrumental influences at work, hard hitting, virtuoso and modern . Great chugging, great mix with up front guitar! What I really loved was the passion of the playing, the beautiful leads, driving rhythms, and a special note to vocalist Korsvold. He has a very capable voice, dexterous, pleasing, suitable to the group but not the least overpowering. There is no screaming or showboating, rather he is almost laid back which somehow serves the music quite well. There are some nice, softer introductions on several tracks employing acoustic guitar or ambient mood segments. In each piece there is good correlation between the lyrical theme of the song and the vibe of the music.

An excellent album that should be on some 2016 end-of-year lists. Great work Warpicks!

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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