With Corque, Sydney guitarist Chris Warren creates complex and captivating material without any words necessary.
Through a mash of energetic, atmospheric melodies and tight, all-encompassing progressive metal sections, Corque is the perfect example of an act that doesn’t need vocals to take music to new heights.
The solo project from Sydney guitarist Chris Warren, with Corque, Warren has created a sound that lets him flex his technical prowess while also being absolutely stunning with loads of personality.
Following on from his 2018 debut EP Far Out, Warren is seeing out the year with the release of his sophomore EP, Centauri Breach.
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Warren has long been a master of his craft and instruments. Beginning his musical journey on the piano before progressing to woodwind instruments in school bands, his passion for music was ever-evolving. It wasn’t until he came across a nylon string acoustic guitar and 90s punk bands that he began a love affair with heavier music.
“Since then, a guitar has always been in my home. I eventually gave up the school band and started covering songs (mainly Pantera and Metallica) and eventually writing music with my friends in High School,” Warren explains.
“In 2007, I joined Sydney thrash band Damarill and contributed to their second EP ‘Eye of the Storm’. Since the days with Damarill I have played with a variety of Australian acts including psychedelic folk band ‘Ivi’, and Progressive rock bands ‘Cinder and Dry’ and ‘Fort Collapse’.”
Time has not dulled Warren’s creativity since, nor has time slowed him down any, and Centauri Breach is a testament to what happens when you start in the thrash scene and surround yourself with a swathe of psychedelic and prog rock talent; magic can happen.
It’s a raw and epic adrenaline rush across six captivating tracks. From the very first note, Warren immerses you deep into a pool of melody-heavy and cinematic sounds, with clear musical influences from the likes of Metallica, Gojira, and Karnivool, as well as Intervals, Ben Eunson and Nick Johnston.
With his unique fusion of metal, progressive rock and raw soundscapes, the EP is an authentic escape to an innovative and experimental world.
“We are escaping more and more from our evolutionary roots. There are many positives to this, but also some negatives. These sounds are a reflection of this escape. I used the physical escape to Centauri Breach (a variation on Alpha Centauri and Proxima B – planets and stars with habitable zones) to reflect this psychological escape from our past selves and our ancestors.”
From the gritty, futuristic soundscapes of EP opener and title track ‘Centauri Breach’, the urgent ‘Proxim-Ark’, and the transcendental riffs and passages of ‘Silicone Militia’, Warren take a heavy, aggressive, slightly darker approach with this release, while still retaining strong melodies, and really beautiful and intricate guitar and key work we’ve come to love from his previous release.
The EP also isn’t without its slower moments and straight-up improvisations. Of the more spacious tracks, the pure and vibrant ‘Play Computer’ is my pick with velvety riffs, and lush, infectious soundscapes that melt into your subconscious, creating a softer, clearer headspace from the EP’s more furious metal sections.
Regardless of the tempo, each track sets a solid rhythmic and percussive foundation to allow melodic freedom and improvisation throughout, presenting a completely unique reimagining of what progressive music is capable of.
With an ability to expand his skills with each new release, Warren’s musicality is impressive, as is his overall sound. The most impressive feature is that he is really trying to add in something new to the scene and isn’t afraid to take risks, as evident by the closing track ‘Terror Stricken Gaze’. The only track to feature vocals in the Corque discography, the hard-hitting instrumentals accommodate Warren’s vocals due to the tempo, allowing the song and vocals to gradually rise in a much more operatic formula.
“The final song ‘Terror Stricken Gaze’ was always supposed to have vocals on it, but these came last as I found this part the hardest. It took me a long time to find the right words and melodies, but I may sing a bit more on the next one. We’ll see!”
A complex release at its heart, the shift in moods and dynamics carries you through the release with such ease despite being a project stalled from the cruellest of heartbreaks.
“I have had versions of some of these songs since immediately after releasing my last EP and I would’ve kept working on them but I experienced some complicating life events, including the passing of my firstborn, and I consequently got booted down a different path,” Warren shares.
“The guitar and swimming (I’m an avid swimmer btw) remained a constant throughout this period. Both cathartic in their own way.
“My wife and I now have 14-month-old boy/girls twins. The twins dance to the tracks, particularly ‘Play Computer’, which is thrilling for me to watch,” he adds.
Recorded almost entirely in Warren’s home in Sydney, the EP sees the multi-instrumentalist embrace a DIY ethic and deliver a vision that is pure and unrestrained by musical conformity. Enlisting the mixing and mastering talents of Sydney-based guitarist James Norbert Ivanyi, Centauri Breach boasts a clear progression into more polished and heavy production and tighter musicianship in comparison to Warren’s last release.
“I wanted a clearer, heavier sound, and I put the time in during preparation and recording to achieve this. This is very much an at-home job. All parts are played, sung, programmed at home (by me), the guitar and bass amps are simulated through the AXE-FX, and I have a USB sound card for everything else.
“Almost all the guitar parts you hear on the tracks are on my trusty Schecter Hellraiser except for a brief bluesy solo that was on a Fender Strat I built (they call these ‘Partscasters’).”
Featuring artwork by Mike Morphett at M29 Creative and ear candy for fans of technical guitar work, Centauri Breach is an engaging mosaic of raw emotion, complex rhythmic devices, and prismatic melody, taking listeners on an (almost) fully outer-worldly instrumental musical journey.