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Hollow - 19%

Nokturnal_Wrath, September 25th, 2013

This album is pretentious, that basically sums up my thoughts about the album. It's an album that tries so desperately to be something that it's not that the whole music comes off as unfortunately pathetic and carrying with it an inflated ego. Watching From A Distance is an album that came about at the right time. The music in itself is nothing worth noting, it's bland, unimaginative and dry yet for some reason people can't get enough of it. It's something that will always astound me no matter how many listens I give it to try and immerse myself in the experience.

I suppose it's not the bands fault, really, I highly doubt the critical acclaim would go through the roof when they released it. So I can't really fault them for the reputation they've built themselves. I can however fault them for releasing a pitifully bland album with some of the strangest vocals I've ever come across. Watching From A Distance tries to come across as painfully earnest and inspired, yet the sheer desperation of it all causes the music to completely annihilate itself. The music is just so sad that it goes completely past the point of being tastefully atmospheric and emotional to devolve into realms of whining self pity and teenage angst. When the music is more resigned, as in the case with the second track Footprints I can get behind it more. It starts off really emotional and atmospheric, it's not trying so hard to achieve what it set out to do and so it flows more naturally. The vision feels fully realized on Footprints, it shows the band in their purest and most honest state. Unfortunately I can't say the same about the rest of the songs. Whilst they are in no way repugnant and horrific, the sheer desperation is really what kills it for me. Emotional music should be created naturally, the ideas need to flow, be given room to breathe. When trying to force the music to become as emotional as you'd like it to be the vision becomes lost, the music becomes a muddled mess of ideas.

There are several reasons as to why I don't exactly like this album. Like I said before it tries too hard to be depressing, that right there is the fundamental flaw of Watching From A Distance. It feels too rigid, too formulaic, not enough thought was put into the compositions. The music itself seems to have been specially engineered to be as sad as possible. The vocals are full of an absurd level of angst. They're painfully cheesy and flat out nauseating. They've got to be some of the weirdest vocals I've ever listened to, no one on earth sings like this guy. But just because they're unique doesn't mean I have to like it. Whilst some vocalists can capture a good level of depression and earnest emotion with their vocals Patrick Walker comes off as pathetically uninspired. His voice lacks any sort of range, it's full of angst and is incredibly overrated. Also the fact that they've a very strong presence within the album obliterates any semblance of emotion that could be buried within the instrumentation.

The instrumental front on its own is fairly standard melodic doom, nothing too special here but it's certainly not awful. It's quite effective at creating a nice musical backdrop, it's fairly emotional, quite atmospheric but it does have a tendency to bleed into one long, monotonous passage. There's not really enough diversity on Watching For A Distance. The riffs don't build up to anything, whilst they're depressive it's not really that hard to do. They've overtly melodic and melodramatic, no different from a standard depressive rock album. There's no power behind any of the guitar lines as well. Doom metal is supposed to be heavy, crushing and full of dread and impending doom. Watching From A Distance seems to forget the rules of the genre by making it ridiculously accessible. It's not really heavy, guitars aren't too thick, not oppressive enough. The tempo isn't anything challenging, the whole thing warbles on at a fairly comfortable pace that remains constant. There's no transitions between different tempos, it follows the same tempo for the entirety of its playing time. No build ups, no climaxes, nothing that stands out and compels you. It's mercilessly apathetic, disinterested and detached. There's no desire to try anything different here, just the same generic doom riffs being repeated at the same pace constantly.

When an album doesn't build up to anything, doesn't achieve anything majestic then it kind of fails in what it set out to do. There's no desire to be interesting here, the band just seems to have found a comfortable formula to work with and constructed some of the most boring music ever concocted around it. There's no power, no drive, no emotion. When an entire album trickles past without leaving an effect then it's really hard to find anything to critique about it. It goes completely past the point of being boring to being nothing at all.

This Is Supposed To Be Polarizing? - 53%

dystopia4, July 29th, 2012

Warning, and later 40 Watt Sun (featuring two of the same members), have made a big splash in the doom scene. Often Warning is heralded as pure brilliance, breathing new life into an allegedly stagnant genre. Others act is if Watching From A Distance is the single worst doom album ever released. For something so polarizing, this is really boring. An abomination against mankind this is not, but if you've heard one song off this album, you've heard them all. This is a supposed to be an emotionally hard-hitting homage to crippling depression, yet in the end it comes off as melodramatic and watered down.

Although to some it must seem as if Warning came out of nowhere to take the doom world by storm, this is in fact not their first album. While not hugely successful, their debut was met with some limited success. It was generally regarded as a good but not great doom album. This album was from 1999 and lots of people eventually forgot about it. Warning was inactive for a considerable time as Patrick pursued acting. The band was eventually reanimated for a second album. While the seeds where certainly there, the first album didn't sound like the sophomore. One of the main difference, besides it not sounding completely the same throughout, is it had actual riffs. You know, the type that are somewhat convincing and hard-hitting. On their second offering, they would forgo riffs that actually feel like riffs in favour of atmosphere. The riffs, if you can even call them that, feel powerless and are utterly unmemorable. The guitar tone doesn't help things - it feels grey and flat. Not grey as in a way that embodies life-crushing depression and despair, but grey as in dull, monotonous and lifeless.

The lack of real riffs could be forgiven if they were omitted in favour of an atmosphere that was truly wondrous. Much of atmospheric music is largely about escapism. At the risk of sounding wildly pretentious, I'm going to assert that listening to successful atmospheric music is somewhat akin to reading a good book. A good book can draw you into another world, supply you with temporary relief from whatever bullshit is happening in your life. For me, I find that atmospheric music can do the same thing. It can bring emotions to the surface and more than anything, it can divert your mind away from reality.

This album is often compared to funeral doom, which is without a doubt one of the metal sub-genres most know for its atmosphere. Abstact Spirit's Tragedy And Weeds can bring the listener to a bizarre world far removed from whatever monotony that every day life may bring. Fungoid Stream's (look past the name, they're a very interesting band) debut has an ethereal otherworldly aura you can lose yourself in. Ahab's Call Of The Wretched Sea can make you feel as if your braving stormy weather at sea. Warning just doesn't have that quality of escapism - the music lingers there, but sometimes I almost forget I'm listening to it. The reason that it's often compared to funeral doom, besides it's attempt at atmosphere, is the lack of speed as well as the repetition. This recording is indeed very slow. While there surely are many funeral doom bands that are much slower, Warning come close.

Being slow in itself isn't something I could possibly fault a band for. I'm a big fan of doom, including the funeral variety, and I like a fair bit of drone as well. Slow metal often has a tremendous amount of atmosphere as well as feeling crushingly heavy - in a very different way then, say, a brutal death metal band. It doesn't crush you with chaos and bombastic, unrelenting fury. It crushes you in another way, a way that has more to do with texture and feeling than technicality and brutality. Another way in which this relates to funeral doom is the lead guitar parts. While the lead guitar sound most associated with funeral doom has a slightly different timbre and vibe (this is prevalent on many albums in the genre, but Colosseum's debut would be a good reference point) it is still vastly similar. While not overtly displeasing, Warning's take on these leads yield no significant impact. They all sound very much the same, and grow tiresome over the course of the album. While funeral doom bands often are repetitive in just about everything, including lead guitar work, successful bands use this to their advantage by using subtle variation, using the repetition to create a potent atmosphere as well as crafting the melodies so that they are the type that one would not take issue with hearing over a long stretch. Many bands also switch things up from song to song. Warning, however, does none of these things, allowing the lead work to stagnate and therefore fail to capture the imagination or have any lasting impact.

The overarching theme of this album is depression. And I get it, sometimes you just need to feed the fire before things can get better - sometimes people who are down just need something they can relate to, something that lets them know they aren't the only ones feeling that way. This isn't to say that depressed people are the only people who listen to music that is dark, slow and dreary, not by a long shot. Obviously, many perfectly happy people listen to music in this vein, there are many talented musicians playing these styles and many interesting atmospheres to discovered. But it's pretty obvious that a depressed person can relate to it, and therefore would often be drawn to this type of music. A depressed person may also be drawn to making it, which the singer (who also plays guitar) obviously is, if his lyrics are any indication of how he really feels. Everything about this album bleeds depression, the lyrics, the sound - hell, even the artwork is a metaphor for depression. The album cover is done in shades of grey, depicting a man attempting to move up an incline, being hindered by a heavy weight on his back.

The thing about this album depicting depression is that I really just can't see a person in the middle of a dark, crippling depression who feels that life simply isn't worth living actually being able to relate to this. Watching From A Distance simply isn't convincing. It doesn't come off as oppressing despair; it doesn't come off as a soul-crushing shroud of hopelessness. If anything, this comes off as dysthymia. For those who may not know, dysthymia is a form of depression that is long lasting and less severe than major depression. People can go years, even a lifetime without being treated, as its usually not bad enough to bring normal functioning to a complete halt. Many people just believe that it is just part of their personality. Sure, these long-winded song all have a dreary vibe, but can any moments evoke parallels with episodes of crippling episodes of severe depression? Not a snowball's chance in hell. And as for the long lasting analogy, its not specifically that the individual songs are long; many lengthy songs evoke a deep sense of despair. No, the thing about this album is that the whole thing might as well be one song, because everything sounds the same, and certainly not in a wonderfully atmospheric or a perception-alteringingly hypnotizing way. This is just one mildly downcast marathon of monotony. Rather than having intense, truly oppressing moments of anguish, this is just a long lasting slab of slight discomfort.

The vocals are overwhelmingly this album's biggest detractor. When I was first recommended Warning, I was intrigued by the vocals. If for anything, the singing at least deserve credit for uniqueness. Patrick Walker has a very distinct voice. His voice is a very present force, it has a full sound, although often drifts into nasally territory. It's really bizarre, he often wavers between a relatively deep voice and a nasally voice many times in the same song. There is this intangible element to his voice that is just slightly off. Even if all the nasally elements were eliminated, there would still be something strange about his singing. It doesn't help that he often goes a little over the top. Not in a power metal-esque theatric sort of way, but just in a way that you can tell he is giving it 110% when maybe he should show a little restraint. Although his singing isn't the biggest on variation, there are a few interesting vocal sections in "Faces" and "Bridges". These moments, however, are fleeting. He also has this annoying habit of getting his most nasally in these sections, which particularly does the music a disservice. In the end, his vocals are hard to enjoy for the entire endurance of the album. They don't make it unlistenable, but they certainly don't help matters.

The lyrics are just as bad, if not worse, than the vocals. As an embodiment of true depression, as they are often portrayed as being, they are completely unconvincing. They come off as more 14 year old emo kid who just got dumped than an honest portrayal of paralyzing depression. Many of the lyrics are about missing a girl and being sad about it, which I don't really want to make fun of, but it does come off as a bit cliché. Most of these lyrics come off as more filled with cheese and predictability than with endless torment and true sorrow. Here are a few examples:

"I want to be master of my own emotions with a fire that fills me. But I don't understand myself, and I don't know what my heart is anymore."

"But I'm afraid of the way that I'm feeling, afraid of this new understanding now; afraid for the beauty within me,
and that which I hold within my hand. And this is the ultimate secret that many before me have ever known.
So capture me while I am weakest, I want to know, I want to know."

"It's always frightened me how some things lose their meaning, how some things change direction with a breeze."

Despite all the negative qualities of this music, the drum work is something that deserves praise. It perfectly goes along with the music, and feels like the only thing that emits any true feeling. Heavy on cymbal-work, the drums plod along at a slow pace, while always providing well above and beyond a mere adequate performance. There is always something more going on than just a standard beat. There are many fills, which are always well executed and often provoke intrigue. The drums have wonderful tone, feeling very organic. Unfortunately good drumming can't save bland songwriting and apathetic atmospheres.

While this definitely is not the masterpiece of modern doom it is often heralded as, it would be hard to deny that Warning are passionate about what they do. Many awful music is done with passion as a driving force behind it. I mean, surely no one can accuse Celine Dion of being apathetic towards her music. Neither the first album of Vulvectomy or Waking The Cadaver was born out of disinterest - the people behind the bands obviously believed wholeheartedly in what they were doing. It just happened that what they believed in so dearly translated into something that was largely over the top and in bad taste. When someone puts all their heart into a rotten idea, thats where truly awful music is generated from. Warning are a unique case. They are not truly horrendous, they are just mediocre. Music that is not horrible, but merely comes off as stale, is not something that is often the spawn of true passion. Unfortunately, Patrick's passion for creating a true feeling of depression didn't play out perhaps not in spite of his passion, but rather because of it. Perhaps in his attempts to paint everything grey, he lost sight of everything else an album needs to succeed. Maybe he focused so much on making the album feel as devoid of life as someone in the grips of major depression, he failed to recognize that one ingredient just won't do a convincing job. The album does indeed feel grey, it just comes up short of any real feeling, likely because the whole album sounds the same and ends up feeling more monotonous than depressing.

As much as I feel this album has many negative qualities, I find it hard to actively hate it. Just as many people act as if this album was made by God himself, many doom fans act as if this is the worse thing ever produced in the entire history of the genre (well for starters, Patrick's next band would prove to be infinitely worse). I think the reason many people feel like this is literally the worse piece of doom ever is because of it's popularity. I could see how someone would feel like it poses a threat to the equilibrium of the genre - what if they inspired an endless stream of clone bands? As for this band saving doom, that is just plain silly - doom was never in need of saving and even if it was, Warning would not be the band to reanimate the corpse. I still find it impossible to hate, listening to it isn't pure agony - it's just there, not really doing anything. Sure its got a nice flow to it, which is probably why it's not that hard to listen to, but it has no impact. It's just the same thing for an entire album. While it is better than silence, it is only so by a very thin margin.

It really is baffling that this is such a polarizing release. Sure, they have a somewhat unique sound, but it's not like they ever do anything with it. This is no Master Of Reality nor is it a Cold Lake. This is just a very boring album - nothing more, nothing less.

Originally Posted At:
http://ifthisishellthenimlucky.blogspot.ca/

One of the greatest albums ever released - 100%

lyon1535, November 29th, 2011

Like many metal fans, I've never been particularly impressed with the modern metal scene. I had not in my years of metal listening heard an album by a modern band that I would consider classic.

This changed when I heard Watching From a Distance.

The album begins with a heavy, crushing, excruciatingly slow riff. It is, despite its heaviness, surprisingly melodic. From the first chord, the enveloping gloom of the album is apparent. The drums pound and reverberate in the background as the guitar progresses for three minutes. Admittedly, a good portion of music fans would not enjoy the length of this album, and if you're not a fan of long songs, this might not be your sort of album.

Pat Walker is one of the most unique vocalists ever. His voice is sorrowful, powerful, unnerving, and beautiful. His every word is imbued with a brutal, sincerity unmatched by any other vocalist. He is rare in that the music feels as if it is an extension of the raw emotion of his voice rather than his voice being an extension of the music.

To add to the overwhelming sense of gloom in the album, the lyrics are melancholic, poetic, mysterious, and introspective. The mood and subject of the lyrics varies from desperation (Watching from a Distance and Footprints) to loneliness (Bridges) to remorse (Faces) and to fleeting dreams (Echoes).

The album is unrelenting in its barrage of abject misery upon the listener, and anyone who can relate to the songs personally is immersed even further in the immense gloom of this gargantuan of an album.If you have not heard it, listen to it.

Watching From a Distance is one of the greatest albums ever released. It is heavy, depressing (perhaps the most depressing offering metal has), beautiful, and sincere.

Classic of Modern Doom - 100%

violentrestitution, November 26th, 2011

You can hear this album the first, maybe second time and not think much of it. This album is for listening by yourself, preferably with headphones in a dark room. Truth is you need this album to grasp you, you need to take it in and not let it go by. Warning has a great understanding of how to take take slow music and make it interesting.

Every single note on this album is there for a reason. Every cymbal crash, every chord, every bass note, everything happens here to grasp you and never let you go until its over. The dark personal lyrics of Patrick Walker perfectly highlights the instruments in this regard, very insightful, depressive, meaningful.

Lets talk about the production here: The cymbals are crisp and every crash sounds like a waterfall being poured down on you of sound. The snare is tight and short, sometimes hit in rapid succession with cymbals crashing left and right and piercing sounds between the cymbals and the snare bringing out the crawling guitar riffs. Another thing, guitars. Two things you may notice are that they are very deep, distorted and looming. sometimes seeming as if they drone on forever. Honestly it's one of the heaviest guitar tones I've ever heard. I love it. Just when a section of a song starts to crawl on for too long it bridges to a either higher soulful riff or some very nice deeper parts. There's even some small, slow solo's here and there that are really nice to hear. The bass is audible having some nice touches here and there but it doesn't play a huge part in the album, but I definitely feel like it gives the entire sound a little bit more punch a little more depth and a darker sound. There's some notes thrown in that don't harm anything else in anyway, it just fits right in.

Vocals are a huge part of why this album is so great. Patrick Walker really makes this album what it is. His voice is very distinctive. Whether or not you like this album you'll remember his voice. You'll remember the whining drawn out words, the accent, the sincerity in his voice. This whole thing just sounds genuine and from the heart. I don't usually think music is about the lyrics but in this case its a big factor. Everything he says works well with the guitars and drums, they meld together so well you really hear and take in the words instead of letting them fly right by. Take this for example:

Here I am wide open, surrendering to your side;
I have laid down my armour,
I have no sword at my side.
I leave behind me the ruins of the fortress I swore to defend;
I leave behind me foundations;
I'll leave you a man I'll need you to mend.
And through all the battles around me
I never believed I would fight.
Yet here I stand a broken soldier,
Shivering, naked, in your winter light.

The lyrics are pretty poetic and it works in favour here. especially when sung in such a sincere and believable way.
This album is unique in and of itself but is not anything incredibly innovative. It's barebones traditional doom metal. What makes it so different is the emotion and devotion put into crafting all these different depths of sound coupled with Patrick's voice. The songs don't differ, they all follow the same path. They're slow, very, very slow. Each song averages 10 minutes give or take one or two. They don't seem that long. When you really get into each song and really listen to them they give you something special. Some original, simple doom metal.

There's not much more I can say about this piece of music. It's pure and simple. Its original in honesty and personality. I only wish there was more. I find it flawless, I am completely grasped by this album and every time I come back to it it does not get boring or less good. I must of listened to this at least 30 times by now, and it's the only album with 5 songs that I can come back to this many times.

If you want to be drawn in by simplicity, honest music. Get this. It may take a few listens to really get into it at first, but it's worth it. I wasn't a huge fan until the third time or so. Some people may have a problem with albums like that, but I can say its worth it. There's much to come back to.

A classic of modern doom metal

Stunning - 95%

ScatologyDomine, July 11th, 2009

I'm not normally one to give a score so high as a 95 (in fact, it's the highest score I've ever given), particularly to an album with so little innovation or experimentation. Each track on Warning's "Watching from a Distance" is essentially the same formula: Guitar lays down a sorrowful and heavy melody, bass follows, drums keep a steady beat and Patrick Walker sings. There are no dramatic tempo changes, no backing vocals coloring the sound, no stand-out sections or impressive soloing- it's pure traditional doom metal through and through. Most musical groups going for this sound and being so true to it would lose my attention over the span of a 12-minute song. With Warning, this is not the case.

Warning's appeal lies primarily in their purity, actually. Warning plays doom metal, stripped down to its most basic form- a powerful expression of despair. The lyrics deal entirely with personal struggles, failure, longing, and the like. Patrick Walker's vocals are emotional and intimate. Unlike traditional doom bands that employ operatic vocals, Patrick Walker sings in a plain but passionate voice. Every word is believable and authentic due to Walker's inexplicable power. Listen to the section beginning at 5:18 of "Footprints" and tell me you don't get chills every single time.

The guitar has an impressively heavy quality for seeming to be comprised of only two layers. It has a tasteful amount of roar on the sustained notes, while still maintaining a light and beautiful quality on the harmonized melodies. Generally speaking the bass is unremarkable, but contributes its share to the heaviness of the guitar. While I am normally put off by bands that do not utilize the bass, I feel as if much bass-work would taint the emotional experience of Warning's music. The drums are a similar story, keeping tempo and coloring the sound with a wide array of cymbals; though Springthorpe's tom fills are sometimes a tasteful standout point without being distracting.

The album is nearly flawless, with one mis-step (which may simply be personal tastes) in the last track. "Echoes" is a bit up-tempo compared to the rest of the album, and for some reason Walker's vocals seem a bit forced. Lyrically the track is no less intimate than any other, but all in all the experience is just a bit lacking. Had this track been dropped, and perhaps "Footprints" placed after "Faces" as the closer, the album would be the perfect doom metal experience.

Whining. - 20%

caspian, December 14th, 2008

"But I'm afraid of the way that I'm feeling;
Afraid of this new understanding now;
Afraid for the beauty within me,
And that which I hold within my hand. "

I definitely liken this album to sitting in your best friend's bedroom as a 13 year old, forced to listen as he proceeds to pour his heart out about Wendy Syphilis or whatever his latest crush is. That's pretty exactly what this is, just stretched out for an hour.

Honestly, I find this album and it's fanbase pretty amusing and ironic; doubtless the fans are quick to mock Fall out Boy/My Chemical Romance and all those other emo bands. This is some heavy, despair filled stuff, y'know. Shit is deep. Draining and depressing. Or.... perhaps it's not, and perhaps this is just a slow, listless record that's full of incessant emo-like whining (Pete Wentz and co are no doubt pretty envious right now).

It's kinda of like a slowed down Agalloch, for a number of reasons. First, it's ridiculously accessible. Slow, granted, but heavy? Nope. It's kind of like a slower MDB minus any sort of genuine songwriting skill (and with a painfully average frontman). Graceful, glacial, perhaps, but incredibly melodic and hardly different from any slow, depressive rock album. There's no tension built up in the riffs, and while you could suggest that they're somewhat depressing, that's pretty much nothing special at all. Get a minor scale, play some minor chords and you're already there.

It's also like Agalloch in the vocals department; not so much in the lyrical department (seeing as the Agalloch guy does know his way around a verse or two) but certainly in the "this guy is a terrible singer and is incredibly overrated" department. Back to the emo comparisons; anyone who likes this is prohibited from calling any other singer "whiny" ever, ever again. Sure, a singer certainly doesn't need to have a powerful Dio style voice or some big guttural thing, no, not at all. But this is really genuinely whiny, lacking any sort of range and terrible in it's self pity and overall badness. Nothing wrong with emotion, everything wrong with melodrama. Aaron from MDB is a pretty good example of someone who can do this sort of stuff with finesse and subtletly; brilliant lyrical wordsmithery, dynamics, the ability to just shut the hell up sometimes. Mr.Cockgobbling Warning-Frontman just lays on the "13 year old who broke up with his crush" with an alarming amount of thickness; it's like jam that was cooked for too long and then left in the freezer.

One way that this isn't like Agalloch is that Agalloch, despite doing a somewhat similar kind of dark-radio rock thing mix the tempos up. There's faster, "heavier" tunes by them, real slow builds, catchy sort of things, slow dirges. Warning lapse into a slow, comfortable tempo and riffing pattern, and proceed to stick at that exact same tempo and riffing style for the entire album. it's not incredibly slow (to make it too slow would be to make it inaccessible for some people, after all) but ruthlessly lethargic. There's not one mid paced moment, not one moment that's slower then the usual stuff, just constant trudging along at a ruthlessly boring pace. Songs blend into each other constantly. Riffs? Good guitar ideas? Nope! A lot of unremarkable, very cliched doom riffs that don't compel you to do, well, anything. It could almost be this hypnotic thing if it wasn't so damn boring.

This is a horrible record- albeit a good marketing move by the band, this'll sell like hotcakes- and you'd be well advised to avoid it. Incredibly boring, cliched, limp guitars, a singer who is possibly the most irritating you've ever heard; overall it's just a really, really bad attempt at being all gloomy and deep. Tell you what, go out and buy a My Chemical Romance album instead. The music's catchier, lyrics are about similar things, and not even Gerald whatever his name is is as irritating as the frontman here. Plus, the songs are shorter!

A Step Into the Doorstep of Despair... - 99%

Akerfeldt_Fanboi, December 13th, 2008

...Holy hell. HOLY HELL. These are the words that can only describe UK's finest (no, not Akercocke or Carcass). Post-listening of this album will both induce a feeling of despair and loneliness but also, a feeling of completion and fulfillment.

Led by Pat Walker on vocals and guitar, Warning are a doom band, nearing the funeral doom style, that are led by one simple plot point: Passion. And, that is what the band exhudes, a feeling of passion and sadness no other band I have heard can match.

Beginning with the title track we are shown what the band has in store for us. Drudgingly slow and heartbreakingly powerful. Heavily distorted and down-tuned riffing (if you can call it that) pours throughout the album, stumbling between chords and harmonized lead riffs. The tone is spectacular and distorted enough to pass as a doomy riff sound.

Anyways, onto what is the most moving part of this album; the vocals. While Pat's nasally style may take a bit to get used to, no one can deny the passion and dramatic presence his voice has. That acting job certainly worked out for the best, eh? The vocals and lyrics contorted and twisted me as I sat there attempting to listen through the album all the way through. With an album littered with lyrics such as "Footprints" (I have lain down my armour/I have no sword at my side/I leave behind me these ruins/Of the fortress I swore to defend) you can't sit through it and not feel an ache of sorrow or longing.

The drumming of Stuart is nothing below top-notch, but his snare has this oddly high crack that I like, but just reonates oddly. His bass drums have the perfect pitch and his toms have excellent resonation. All in all, he presents an excellent performance for our listening pleasure.

The bass is virtually nonexistent except for a few moments on my bass-presence headphones and the intro to "Faces". So, honestly I have nothing to say on the bass front, but from what I heard it was of good tone and playing.

The production can seem a tad weak at times, but it shines through on the EVEN slower bits like the riff from 4:12ish onwards on "Footprints". Covering the bass end of he drums we get great response, but ot so from the bass oddly enough...and the guitars and vocals are obviously at the forefront as this IS Walker's band and front.

Sometimes the melodic sorrow of the funeral doom pace can get a bit boring, but that is so little on this album that I can't even drop 1 point from this score. It's also just a given when speaking of the genre (funeral doom).

Anywho, this album I could easily recommend to those who are fond of nostalgia and willing to subject themselves to fits of tears and/or morbidly slow headbanging. Or fans of early Katatonia, Draconian, early My Dying Bride, and Swallow the Sun.

If you want a good sample of this album, listen to all of "Footprints".

Drifting. - 90%

Perplexed_Sjel, July 4th, 2008

There are four known metal bands that go by the name of Warning, but none have the reputation that the British band seem to carry on their shoulders. Britain has a history with creating outstanding doom acts. Most consider Britain to be the unofficial home of doom metal, or at least it used to be, many years ago. It would seem that the likes of Warning, amongst others, are trying to revive a dying reputation. Hailing from the unknown region, to most anyway, of Harlow, Warning rose to success with the release of their second full-length record, ‘Watching From A Distance’ in particular. The rise of this band wasn’t fast, by any means. It would seem that it was a slow, gradual process in which very little material was ever released. This, the second full-length, is my first taste of Warning and although I do consider the band to be slightly overrated, it is a very good album. Fans of traditional doom scene, or slow music in general will appreciate the attention to detail by Warning. Likened to doom metal legends like Candlemass and Pagan Altar, whom are also British and have numerous connections with this particular band, Warning were always bound to gain substantial success due to the similar artists named within the same breath as them. Due to their rather large and noteworthy connections list to bands like Cradle Of Filth, My Dying Bride, Napalm Death and Solstice, all of whom are British, Warning’s rise to fame was long overdue. Richard Walker, one of the bands guitarists, is the head of the record label The Miskatonic Foundation, to which they are signed themselves, and whom have released records from much adored acts like The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Warning have so many connections to so many bands, the popularity was always bound to overshadow that of many bands in a similar field to Warning. Which is probably why I consider them to be overrated.

In terms of the present music, Warning have a knack of deceiving listeners. Upon first picking up this piece, after a few moments of listening, I thought this was going to be a long haul of a journey. In many ways, it is, but to begin with, I thought the extremely slow nature of this record would hinder the melody that this type of doom relies so heavily on. The main positives, for me, on this record are the soundscapes created by the highly infectious guitars and the stunning vocals. The guitars are the powerhouse here. They build up the songs and crush the audience. Doom metal is a slow genre, so if you’re looking for the double bass work that death metal provides, or the tremolo picking that black metal provides, you’d best look elsewhere. This is straight up doom metal at it’s best. Soundscapes are important no matter what field of metal you work within. I’d imagine that they are the most important aspect of the music and Warning realise that with astounding professionalism. The band focuses their attentions of the intricate guitar work, which again, is deceiving. I thought the guitars would be limited to simplistic riffs, but if you look beyond the surface of this record, the guitars showcase a complexity of melody that I’ve rarely heard anywhere else. Songs like ‘Footprints’ and ‘Bridges’ brilliantly portray what I mean. The slow nature doesn’t affect the melodic styling of the guitars in any other way than positively. My apprehension was misplaced. Warning use two guitarists to play off one another, creating a solid wall of noise that lays down the foundations of the record. Those foundations consist primarily of melancholic melodies, as stated previously. The vocals are superb in addition to the guitars. The job of these two elements seems to me to be portraying raw emotion to the audience through subtle pain and slow dirges of depression. The production of the album is spot on. It’s hollow in the sense that it allows the vocals to take center stage without overpowering the instrumental aspects. The percussion, although not as important as the guitars, is slow, steady and well paced. The slow-mid pace of the work is perfect alongside the vocals, which sound long and drawn out.

The lyrical themes, portrayed magnificently by the wondrous vocals, deal primarily with depression and relationships, which speaks volumes to me on a personal level. I’m a big fan of bands that deal with relationships in their lyrics because they’re incredibly important to humans and human development. Through suffering we learn to really appreciate the finer things in life and through suffering the torment of the slow, but beautiful melodies of Warning’s style, we learn to appreciate the doom genre more so now than ever before. Lyrics such as these seem brilliant to me:

“Take ahold of my life
Make it into one that I want it to be
Make a whole of my life
Make my faces one that I want you to see.”

Lyrics like these give the audience an understanding of the sheer genius that goes into the production of making Warning’s music.

“When I am not alone
I sever silent moments
Building bridges with meaningless words
And only feel the distance further
Remember being happy in our silence
I wish that you were with me tonight.”

I’m sure audiences are familiar with the movie Pulp Fiction, well, these lyrics remind me of that movie. During the movie, there is a part where one character says to another, “Why do people feel the need to yack about bullshit in order to be comfortable? It is those moments when you can share a comfortable silence that you know you’ve found someone special.” To me, that is what those lyrics, in particular, are saying and I connect to them. Establishing a connection with the lyrics, to me, is important. I’m not a lyrics kinda guy. I tend to avoid paying attention to them because it’s the music which means the most to me, but sometimes, not often, a band will portray the most significant lyrics I’ve ever read and in songs like ’Bridges’, Warning seem to be one of those bands. The brilliance in song writing not only comes in terms of instrumental play, but also lyrical writings. Warning have so many depths to their game it’s unbelievable. On first glance, I thought I was in for a simplistic ride that lasted far longer than it needed to, but with Warning, you’re left yearning for more as the album comes to a close. Doom metal is a very difficult genre to portray correctly, but Warning do it with seeming ease and professionalism. The brilliance of the guitar work, especially in creating entrancing melodies, the beauty of the vocals which become so important as the album progresses and the tight work produced on the record make this an outstanding edition to anyone’s collection.

Alone and Tormented - 100%

Soylent_Groan, April 3rd, 2008

The way I see it, there are two types of depression. The first is real depression - a serious mental problem, characterised by despair, disinterest in enjoyment, obsession with death, etc., usually caused by fucked up shit happening to you. It's not a good thing.

The second is self-imposed depression. Strong feelings of despondency, lethargy, a thick pall of gloom hanging over you. It makes you want to curl up under warm blankets and withdraw into yourself, and it feels absolutely wonderful. You revel in the darkness of your own melodrama. It shouldn't be indulged in too often, of course - it can be addictive. This depression can be brought on entirely by the imagination, though music can help; some albums are perfect for setting the mood for a bit of melodramatic self-indulgence.

Watching From A Distance is one of those albums. Within this CD you will find five of the most heart-wrenchingly sad love songs ever written. Each of them is essentially the same story - a man pouring out his soul in lament because he cannot be with the one he loves. It can almost be considered a concept album, though not the cheesy kind with characters and stories. Consider each song the product of a broken man sitting alone each night, writing out his feelings in order to cope with them better.

This goes a long way towards explaining the lyrical style, too. Even in a lot of doom, lyrics tend to be constrained by the rhythm of the song, and have to fit into a set meter. This tends to limit lyrical expression, because, to keep it coherent, each line is usually self-contained, separate from all the others. Not so here. Each verse is written as a continued piece of prose, because the music is slow enough to allow each syllable to be emphasised individually. If they weren't sung so beautifully, they would sound like spoken word performances. As far as choruses go, on the rare occasion one does appear, it is limited to a single line which recurs through the song ("I wish you were here with me tonight" from "Bridges" being the prime example).

As for the music, it's difficult to listen to it in enough depth to get a feel for how good the musicians are. As soon as I start listening, I get sucked into that warm, personal void of self-imposed depression. The music is undoubtedly great, though - heavily distorted guitars playing beautifully harmonious melodies, slow enough to emphasise every note, and occasionally breaking into clean tones to soar above the warm, fuzzy, but ultimately clear production. The bass is almost lost within said production, which usually annoys me, but it doesn't seem to bother me here. The drumming is my favourite type of drumming for doom - the bass drum keeps the slow beat, while the toms and the cymbals fill in the gaps.

The vocals might present a bit of an issue for some. The singer has a strong, powerful voice, and hits all the notes, but his style is somewhat nasal, which I expect would bother some people. It doesn't present a problem for me. He pours so much emotion into his lyrics that it wouldn't surprise me to discover that they were based on his personal experiences. Perhaps they were, I don't know.

Album highlights? There are really none to speak of. The album runs together flawlessly, leaving little room for ups and downs. It's definitely an album to be listened to in full, rather than picking one or two songs and putting them on repeat. Some, I expect, would find it boring, seeing as there's little variation in sound between songs, but it works for me. It's background music for deep reflection and wallowing in self-pity, music by which to stare out the window on a rainy day, drinking tea liberally laced with whisky. I'd recommend it to any doom fan, and anyone sick of the connotations of emotional music being characterised by angsty teenagers wearing too much mascara.

Doom Has New Life.... - 100%

Pratl1971, December 22nd, 2007

I pride myself on knowing what is good out there in metal music. I have invested over 30-years in this genre I so covet and love, and it has depressed and angered me at the level of sellouts and fly-by-night bands that have infiltrated our scene over the last decade and watered down our purest wine.

In short, when a band like Warning (UK) comes along and I happen upon them I'm as happy as I was some 20-years ago when Master of Puppets came out (a weak example, yes, but point made valid). When the first chords of this album rumbled through my speakers at decibels worthy of Hell itself I knew I was in for something great. The band manages to keep an even level of interest and diversity throughout the journey by issuing Black Sabbath-esque riffs and somber vocals that remind me of a forlorn priest making peace with some god on the knell of his passing - it's amazing! Within these five tracks lies the very essence and definition of doom metal at its finest, I can't stress this point enough.

I have no complaints about this CD - it has the power and talent to stand alongside some of the great bands of the genre such as Trouble, Solitude Aeturnus and Necromandus - all disciples of the mighty Birmingham Four mentioned earlier.
If I absolutely had to find fault with something it's that the distribution was low and I can't locate my own copy anywhere. If not for the kindness of others this gem would have passed me by...don't make a similar mistake. Find it at any cost!

I Wish You Were Here With Me Tonight - 90%

Frankingsteins, December 17th, 2007

The second album from Harlow doom-metallers Warning was released in late 2006, a staggering seven years after their debut release. Although this was primarily due to frontman Pat Walker’s pursuit of an acting career, the extended duration is entirely appropriate to Warning’s funereally slow style. As musical taste is entirely subjective, each individual will respond in varying degrees to music that is designed to evoke emotions of sorrow, whether it’s a particularly sad Mahler symphony or everything recorded by Radiohead ever. For me, ‘Watching from a Distance’ is the most intensely upsetting and hopelessly forlorn music I’ve ever heard, partly because of the associations it has to the depressing time at which it came into my collection, when I felt compelled to endure its languid melancholy repeatedly.

This album collects five songs ranging from a comparatively short seven and a half minutes (I said comparatively) to a monstrous twelve, and excepting slight deviations in delivery, the tone is perpetually dismal and sorrowful, translated in the music through an enormously slowed tempo of drawn-out notes. Rather than sounding like an average-speed song slowed down, Warning’s funeral-doom style constructs guitar riffs and vocal melodies that stretch across the minimalist soundscape, backed by a drum that hits once a second or less, in an incredibly effective attempt to create a bleak and isolated atmosphere. Taking its cue largely from classic Swedish doom band Candlemass as well as more local influences such as Cathedral and even Black Sabbath, Warning associates more thematically with the depressed death-doom, lovelorn lyrics of fellow Brits My Dying Bride and Anathema, without resorting to the death metal vocals and blasting drums of either.

The slow, extended sound will be the most startling aspect of this album for newcomers, especially as it never speeds up in a significant way throughout (though the shorter second and fourth songs do stand out as less sombre than the longer main ‘trilogy’), but for seasoned doom metal fans the main area of interest will likely be the vocals. Pat Walker, also the guitarist and song-writer, follows the memorable example of Robert Lowe from Solitude Aeturnus (now the frontman for Candlemass) in his pained high singing, with a nasal tone reminiscent of Ozzy Osbourne in the early days. Avoiding the bombastic tenor approach of Messiah Marcolin, Walker’s distinct voice adds a great sense of character and personalisation to this album, something I find lacking in the indistinct death metal grunts of My Dying Bride and their contemporaries, and although the nasal edge will likely get on some peoples’ nerves, it’s clear that his acting training has taught him how to express himself clearly without going over the top. Perhaps more vocalists should take up that career, to avoid sounding too melodramatic.

With the focus being on creating and maintaining a tone that lasts through the album, the other musicians naturally have less opportunity to show off their credentials, but carry out their duties admirably. Walker’s guitar dominates the proceedings as expected, taking second place only to his vocals and filling in with higher and more melodic ending sections in place of inappropriate guitar solos once the lyrics are over, but Stuart Springthorpe’s drums are the real foundation. Usually following a repeating pattern of a cymbal tap followed by a drum hit, but varying with each song, Springthorpe’s playing is necessarily repetitive but avoids being dull or too noticeable. The only real weak link is Marcus Hatfield’s bass guitar, which becomes lost behind the loud, constantly roaring guitar sustain and is only really noticeable at the start of the fourth track.

1. Watching from a Distance
2. Footprints
3. Bridges
4. Faces
5. Echoes

An obvious comment to make is that much of this album sounds very similar, especially on the first few listens before the nuances of each song define themselves, but recently I’ve come to regard the longer odd-numbered tracks as a different entity to the slightly shorter second and fourth songs, which diverge thematically and musically to some extent. The unofficial ‘trilogy’ is wisely separated by these seven to eight minute pieces, which prevent the similar crashing riffs from blending too much into each other, and allowing some time away from Walker’s tales of lost love. The lyrics of tracks one, three and five are all addressed to an absent ‘you,’ clearly a loved one who has left of their own will rather than a dead family member or pet, and although many of the remarks made are a little predictable and clichéd in the ‘that’s exactly how that would make me feel’ way, the non-commercial nature of Warning’s music means that it’s more easily believed and less of a publicity stunt, though of course Walker’s acting experience could negate this reliability.

These three songs are all based, as is the norm, on a main crushing guitar riff, becoming heavier as the album goes on to culminate in ‘Echoes,’ with Walker warbling his regrets and losses every so often in an irresistible sing-song fashion around the riffs. The album encourages loud volume, perfectly suited to the high quality, deep production, and while the chorus sections are easy enough to learn after a couple of repetitions, the rest of the words can easily be substituted with whatever you imagine he might be saying as you lie in your empty double bed, clutch her side of the duvet and sing along through the tears; the melodies are easy to follow, and weave nicely through the riffs. The songs all start and end abruptly, the riffs appearing and disappearing from the speakers, but each of these three songs features a nice ending section lasting several minutes in which Walker’s guitar takes the place of the vocals and leads out on a slightly higher scale, complimented in the excellent third track by some backing ‘ahh-ahh-ahh’ singing behind the noise.

Tracks two and four are slightly shorter and thus more palatable for newcomers to doom metal, and are equally as good as the longer, more traditional trilogy songs. ‘Footprints’ describes the lead-up to a battle that the speaker felt safe he would never have to face before being confronted with the reality, which may be a metaphor but I prefer to take at face value to differentiate this song from the others. Walker’s vocals in these two songs take on a more warbled, gruff tone, sounding a little like Saxon’s Biff Bryford on occasion, and on the whole there’s more abundant energy to these songs than the sapping effect of the others, sounding more like early Candlemass here. Track four begins very suddenly, wasting no time moving from a brief bass riff to some instant vocals, and is necessarily slightly more upbeat to maintain interest at this late point before the black hole of the final song.

‘Watching from a Distance’ is an intense album in exactly the opposite way to a relentlessly violent Cannibal Corpse album, and is the finest doom album I’ve heard from recent years. The repetition could be seen as unimaginative, and doubtless many will find the whole experience dull (especially if they’re in an incredibly happy place and have never had their heart broken... b**tards), but Warning’s music combines most of the strengths of the genre and pushes it to the extreme, using only the three basic rock instruments along with Pat Walker’s excellent voice to create a truly funereal atmosphere without needing to resort to clichéd organs or violins. This is pure, unadulterated and deeply gloomy doom from the school of Candlemass and St. Vitus, but without the headbanging potential of either. Sigh. I’ve gone all melancholy now, better stick on some Manowar...

Emotionally draining - 100%

R0flmywaffles, March 9th, 2007

This is one of those cd's that comes around once in a great while. One of those things that makes you forget all of the lack-luster releases that everyone seems to be praising, and gives you hope that their might actually be some inspiration left in the world.

First let me just say that some people may be turned off by the vocals. I personally love them and believe that they complement the album in every way. But some may not agree with this, so be forewarned.

Musically, obviously this is doom metal, so if you don't know already, there will be no elaborate solos. No extremely technical guitar playing. But what you can expect is a very well put-together piece of music where no one instrument seems out of place or could have been higher in the mix. The drumming, in my opinion, essentially makes the album. But at the same time it doesn't seem too flashy or like it is trying to take center stage. The bass-work does it's job, and there are even a few high-lights here and there. By no means is the bass-work sub par, it's just you can't really talk much about the bass in most bands.

Lyrically may be the band's crowning achievement on this album. It's some of the most well-written and depressing work I've ever read. And it's not depressing in an "emo" way as some might think. You have to experience it for yourself.

Something about this cd, after listening to it all the way through. You feel as though you've been through something unexplainable. You'd think it would be less moving over time, but it doesn't. If anything this cd will only get better. A true masterpiece.