Review Summary: When you realize that the person who once loved you has replaced you.
We've all experienced the end of a relationship, in one way or another. Whether it be through cheating, growing bored or simply losing attraction, it all feels the same way: dejecting. That tight knot that forms at the pit of your stomach is either your conscience yearning for what used to be or a pang of guilt around how it ended. Warning, a UK-based doom metal band, has taken this awful feeling and transformed it into fifty minutes of grievous emotion in audio form. If you've been dumped, cheated on or otherwise kicked to the curb, this is the album for you. Just make sure you don't actually need something happy to cheer yourself up first, because the content here will drain you of every positive feeling imaginable.
The tone is set from the initial moments of the opening track, "Watching From a Distance". From reading the track names in sequential order, I derived that Warning is telling a story of a broken man who is watching his former flame and his replacement crossing a bridge. Vocalist Patrick Walker has a distinctive melancholic vibe in his voice, reminiscent of Paranoid-era Ozzy Osbourne, and it floats around the heavy and burdened riffing of his band-mates. The drumming is simplistic, but it suits the tone that Warning is trying to place over their material. Some may complain over the lack of variety in the pace, but I feel that a faster pace would have lessened the impact for the listener; it sounds like a man is actually trying to climb up a hill despite the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Through the slow melodic leads of "Footprints" and the most depressing vocals on the album in "Bridges", Warning continue to chug through an always-devastating experience. One of the most impressive things about this album is the way that the band was able to take brief moments in time and draw them out into epic landscapes of sound. The misery never relents into the bitter "Faces", where Walker resentfully belts out lines like "Don't ask me where I am, I'm trying to come home but I can't keep myself from drifting" and "So come into my life with your violence and pain, 'cause I feel the dance of a love I've never known". In the final track, "Echoes", the man is seeing the pair vanish into the distance without looking back. The album goes out like a lamb with a single droned note trailing off into obscurity.
Doom metal isn't exactly a forte of mine, and there's only a handful of bands in which I can listen to and stay focused throughout the entire album. Warning, however, manage to remain captivating despite a lack of variation in the content. This takes skill, as repetition is a contributing factor to the failure of many a band in the world of music. It's clear from the lyrics that Patrick Walker is a suffering, tormented shell of a man who has been thrown away like a used tissue one too many times in his life. If that's what it takes to make such an immense album, I'll gladly stick to being happy and writing lesser-quality music. Nonetheless, one can't help but wonder about the anguish that plagues bands like Warning, and they've managed to take the feeling of being replaced and turn it into something tragically alluring.