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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.