NO WARNING Are A Piece Of Modern Hardcore With “Torture Culture”

Ben Cook I Matt DeLong I Jordan Posner I Ryan Gavel I Jesse Labovitz

Classic rappers are synonymous with their points of origin, neighborhoods, or
adopted locales: KRS-One and the Boogie Down Bronx, N.W.A. and Compton, Jay-Z
and New York; Eminem and Detroit; Tupac and the entire West Coast. The hardcore
punk scene is no different: Sick Of It All and New York City; Suicidal Tendencies and
Venice Beach; Dead Kennedys and San Francisco. When it comes to torchbearers
for Toronto, or all of Canada for that matter, there is NO WARNING.
After nearly a decade away, No Warning return with “Torture Culture,” a third album
that is as scrappy, self-assured, and unrelenting as it was once unthinkably
improbable. No Warning is confrontational, uncompromising, and unapologetic, like
the best in hardcore, metal, crossover, and thrash before them, all of which are
elements that find their way into their too short but massively important discography.
No Warning’s return jettisons the overly processed fakery of many of their
contemporaries in favor of authentic noise, capturing real performances in rich
analog tones and back-to-basics crunch without sacrificing modern clarity or power.
Thematically it’s about dwelling in the gutter while furiously clawing toward the light.
The new album is grimy, pulverizing, and antagonistic street punk in a mind-meld with
menacing metalcore, comprised of towering riffage, blistering solos, and raw vocals.
No Warning don’t so much as borrow hooks from the past as they’ve studied the very
essence of what’s come before, from Bay Area thrash metal to New York Hardcore,
from post-grunge melody to melancholy balladry and back again, all through their
own lens of discontent, simmering noncompliance and stark rage.
“Ill Blood” (2002) quickly established the band as impossible to ignore contenders
within the hardcore punk scene, earning them shows with iconic genre stalwarts like
Cro-Mags, Madball, Sick Of It All, and Hatebreed across North America. Praising the
band’s “no holds barred attitude and punchy riffs,” tastemaker Noisey observed, “No
Warning’s influence solidified Canada’s pin on the hardcore map and got people to
recognize Toronto as a destination for the genre.”
Suffer Survive surfaced on Machine Shop Records, a major label imprint cofounded
by Linkin Park. Shows with diverse artists like The Used, Papa Roach, and Fear
Factory followed, in addition to high-profile spots on major international festivals and
on the Projekt Revolution Tour with Korn, Snoop Dogg, Ghostface Killah, and M.O.P.
and Downset. All of it put No Warning in front of larger crowds, while at the same time
quickly burning out its members with overexposure and a classic case of “too much,
too soon.”
While the band went away following a quiet near-dissolution in 2005, the members of
No Warning never disappeared. Some of them became in-demand ghostwriters for
major artists in the worlds of pop, hip-hop, pop punk, and rock. Hardcore
heavyweights Terror recruited guitarist Jordan Posner. No Warning’s singer has been
involved with enough projects to warrant a “Top 5 Ben Cook Bands” listicle in Toronto
Now, saluting troublemakers F**ked Up, ‘80s inspired pop of Yacht Club, and Cook’s
solo alias, Young Guv. No Warning’s 2013 comeback 7”, the fittingly titled
Resurrection of the Wolf, saw release through Cook’s own Bad Actors label.
The positive interpersonal vibes engendered between Cook, Posner, and fellow
longtime No Warning members Matt DeLong (guitar), Ryan Gavel (bass), and Jesse
Labovitz (drums) across a series of reunion shows in North America and Europe
encouraged them to continue playing together, leading to the new album’s creation.
Drums were tracked near Hamilton, Ontario on Canada’s largest First Nations
reserve, Six Nations. The rest of the album was recorded in Toronto’s East End. The
band collaborated with engineer/mixer Chris Creglia. Mastering duties fell to Joel
Grind, the mastermind and sole official member of neo-thrashers Toxic Holocaust.
“Torture Culture” is more of a spiritual successor to “Ill Blood,” following in the tradition of
early Cro-Mags, Bad Brains, and Leeway, with the bounce of street metal groove.
None of the industry forces drawing them toward the so-called “mainstream” on their
second album are present anymore. The band sounds refreshed and realigned, firmly
planted in the sound they started with plus the newfound confidence to incorporate
elements of bands like ZZ Top, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Scorpions, Ozzy
Osbourne, and other giants of late ‘70s and early ‘80s hard rock and heavy metal.
Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon to see Cro-Mags opening for Venom or
Motörhead, or D.R.I. t-shirts at Testament and Exodus shows. That spirit lives on with
No Warning, culminating in a freshly modern take on a classic crossover sound that’s
as invigorating and cathartic as it is inspiring, angst-ridden, and pissed off.

No Warning “Torture Culture” is released today October 13th via eOne / Last Gang / SPV.

Read our review here.