Serpent Of Wisdom is the ambitious debut album of Finnish prog band Magna Vice. A concept album, it tells the tale of a war veteran suffering from hallucinations who realises a helping hand is closer than expected.
Opener Temple Of Sin sounds exactly like how an opening track should, slowly building up into a great wall of guitars before the vocals kick in. Admittedly, the vocals are a little weak, which is quite disappointing as the rest of the music is fantastic – the keys/Hammond organ are especially impressive – but the song still sounds great regardless, and leads perfectly into the next track, Hope You Find Your Way Out. By far the shortest track of the release, it still measures up well to the others and manages to fit in so much in a short period of time. The opening keys really worm their way into your mind before you know it, and you’ll soon find yourself humming along without even thinking about it!
Gods Of War has a truly epic-sounding introduction with orchestral sections, which really add dimension to the already impressive track. The guitar solo just before the five and a half minute mark is mindblowing and really showcases the musicianship of the whole band. It just works really well and is definitely one of the high points of the album.
Fifth track Knowledge Talks, Wisdom Listens takes a while to get going, with an unnecessarily dragged-out introduction that just doesn’t seem to get things moving. Although there are a few good solos within the track, the song as a whole is quite long and dragged out, with repetitive sections that just merge together. It blends into the next track Real Delusions which continues exactly where the previous song left off, meaning that it feels like one long 22-minute track rather than two separate entities – but then again, this is a prog album and prog is known for its long songs, so I’m not sure what I was expecting! As a whole, it really works, but there’s just a few hit and miss sections to it.
The album ends with the all-out energetic Yellow Sky, which really showcases each members musical ability. A great way to round things off. The keys especially are stunning.
All in all, Serpent Of Wisdom is a pretty good release – nice and proggy, and filled with some absolutely stunning instrumentation. The only thing that lets it down is the vocals and even then, it’s not like they’re dreadful – just maybe not as powerful as anticipated. If you like your prog, you’ll love this.
Magna Vice: Facebook