EP Review: WarlocK - 'Rise!'
Hailing from sunny Stoke, the comedy metal group WarlocK release their debut EP – a neat quintet of catchy hooks and sleazy rock riffs.
Forming in 2019 and taking influence from bands such as Alice Cooper, Van Halen and The Darkness, WarlocK have burst onto the Midlands metal scene with tight tunes and even tighter trousers. Having only played a handful of shows on the local circuit, everyone who has seen the group leaves with at least one of the pun-laden songs stuck in their heads for weeks going forward. The two singles released prior to the EP - Balls First and Geralt of Labia - were both excellent and had me looking forward to it, as I was hooked on WarlocK’s ability to be more than just a joke band. Rather, they crafted songs that had me returning for weeks after their release.
Rise! is a unique collection of innuendo laden, trad-metal tunes with a charmingly funny list of song titles. Kicking off the EP with perhaps the most serious song on the track-list, Rise, WarlocK detail the backstory to the band’s fictional frontman, ‘The Warlock’, who provides some excellent vocals throughout the tune. One of the strongest songs on the EP, the track sees guitarists ‘Horace the Alchemist’ and ‘The Dread Pirate’ flex their lead playing abilities with gang vocals a-plenty.
Scratch ‘n’ sniff (a self-proclaimed ode to Gemma Collins) opens with a sleazy rock riff straight out of the eighties and contains the most typically ‘metal’ riffs to be found on the EP. The pre-chorus is also a welcome addition to the musical lexicon of the band, containing some of the most hilarious lyrics they’ve put to tape. The two aforementioned singles then follow and are cut and dry the best songs on the EP, with the latter, Geralt of Labia, being one of my favourite songs of the year so far. Using motifs found in The Witcher series of games, the song is incredibly catchy with some incendiary guitar playing in the second half of the track.
'WarlocK have burst onto the Midlands metal scene with tight tunes and even tighter trousers. Having only played a handful of shows on the local circuit, everyone who has seen the group leaves with at least one of the pun-laden songs stuck in their heads for weeks going forward'.
Closing the EP is the song Expecto My Patronum – whilst the title is one of my favourites on the project, the track is easily the weakest. With a The Darkness inspired riff and a simple (but effective) rhythmic backbone the song is mostly just okay, but is marred by production issues that other tracks on the EP don’t seem to suffer from.
Overall, the EP is an excellent debut from the Midlands metalheads, but is slightly let down by the production value (with the last track’s vocals being buried for a large proportion of its runtime) and a minor decline in quality towards the end of the release. I can see big things coming from the group in the future as they refine their technique and perhaps include more narrative based tracks like Rise, expanding the lore of the fictional characters that make up the band’s ranks. If they plan on releasing more songs of a similar calibre to Geralt of Labia, they may yet enter the star-studded pantheon of comedy metal Gods!