There’s something about Canada and hardcore. Though the NYC and DC scenes have certainly dominated the genre in the past, the Great White North has given us some of its best bands in Comeback Kid and Counterparts. So it should be no surprise that when one of the scene’s most solid acts makes a comeback, heads will turn.
No Warning’s fourth album, ‘Torture Culture’ stands as almost a tribute to the thrash metal and hardcore bands of old. Opening track ‘Headless’ opens with a System of a Down-esque picking style, and then breaks into what could only be described as Metallica at their heaviest. The four-minute track acts almost as a complete history of hardcore, even featuring a face-melter of a solo straight into a beatdown section.
The record continues on at breakneck pace, throwing riffs, gang vocals, and solos at the listener so fast it can be hard to process what song you’re even listening to. It’s an issue that seems to run throughout most of hardcore, and while No Warning clearly wear their influences on their sleeves; they fail to offer much in the way of originality. There’s not much difference between the nostalgic style No Warning offer and that of, say, Turnstile.
Despite this, the band break the mould somewhat on ‘Total Surrender’, which sees them take a more melodic, calculated approach. There’s not much of the fast-paced instrument thrashing here, instead, they allow some breathing room, making for possibly the best track on the album. The trend continues into ‘Hell Realm’. It’s clear why it was selected as single, as it’s much more controlled, with the band allowing themselves to break out and show their metal side for about 20 seconds before reeling it back in. ‘Sanctuary’ also shows another different side to the band, offering up an almost 90s alt-rock vibe alongside hardcore riffs.
‘Torture Culture’ is a welcoming return for No Warning, but it’s a safe one. Their sound is a nostalgic one, but it’d be nice to see that explored a little more adventurously.
‘Torture Culture by No Warning is out now Bad Actors and Last Gang Records.
Words by Ben Mills (@BenMills28)