It’s not too often one comes across a classic prog rock concept album by a Finnish band. But this is it. And it’s good.
Magna Vice is a Turku-based band that has been doing progressive rock since 2011. Serpent of Wisdom is their first album and it’s a 70 minute trip down the classic prog rock lane.
The album sounds very 70’s to my ear, although there are sections that could be labeled as more modern, heavier prog. Magna Vice’s soundscape boasts with sharp, stylish guitar solos and Hammond keyboard sounds - and even the vocals of Veli-Matti Heino have a retro feel to them. Not to even mention the world the album’s story is set in. I had instant flashes of early 70’s Vietnam War related music, as the story on Serpent of Wisdom is about a war veteran suffering from hallucinations and post-war traumas. The album is definitely a critical commentary on war (and religion) in general, made to provoke and get people thinking. Worthy goals for a rock album these days.
I enjoy an album that is challenging and has many levels on which the music works. Serpent of Wisdom is such an album. It requires you to listen to it quite a few times before it really opens up, but there are enough of hooks to get you interested already on the first listen. The complexity of the songs isn’t, however, too overpowering. You’re not likely to get frustrated by trying to understand what the heck is going on, but instead the part of your brain where you process music is going to be tickled just enough to keep things interesting.
A concept album is an ambitious project these days, when most music is played on mobile devices on shuffle, or on different playlists that consist of individual songs chosen to fit certain moods. The artform of a concept album suffers from such an ADHD take on music. So if you’re into “old school” prog rock, more Rush than Dream Theater, more Pink Floyd than Genesis, check Magna Vice out. And listen to the whole album, enjoy the story.
1. Temple of Sin
2. Hope You Find Your Way Out
3. Gods of War
4. Green Giant
5. Knowledge Talks, Wisdom Listens
6. Real Delusions
7. Yellow Sky
Magna Vice are:
Esa Karppinen - guitars and backing vocals
Robin Jansson - bass and backing vocals
Jonne Orrensalo - drums and percussion
Petri Oksanen - keyboards
Veli- Matti Heino - vocals