The Warriors, See How You Are

The Warriors, See How You Are

Back when Oxnard-based metalcore dudes The Warriors released their last album, Genuine Sense Of Outrage, I listened and mostly gave a shrug, pushing it off to the side as yet more hardcore-tinged metal pit filler; the music wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything all that interesting, either.

Fast-forward a few years, and The Warriors are back with their latest, See How You Are, and honestly, I’m feeling a little bad for dismissing ’em the first time around. It may be because I’ve heard so much flat-out awful metalcore-type stuff in the intervening time, but I find myself liking this a hell of a lot more than I did the band’s earlier efforts.

It helps that the sound of See How You Are is freaking massive in comparison to Outrage, simultaneously heavier and more expansive — the band no longer feels confined to this tight little hardcore box, but rather is willing to fully embrace the metal side of things, and that makes a pretty major difference, at least in terms of the album. Listening back to Outrage again, it seems tinny and small by comparison.

Beyond that, the songs seem less cookie-cutter metalcore this time around; right from the start of the title track, it’s obvious that the band’s aiming in somewhat of a different direction. “See How You Are” is snarling and full of bile yet still somehow very deliberate-sounding, like it’s really just a prelude to what’s to come; the guitars soar and scream while the drums and step inexorably along towards some kind of unmentioned end. I don’t call the track a prelude to put it down, mind you; it’s pretty damn impressive in a heavy, foreboding kind of way, and absolutely not what I’d expected the band to lead off with.

Things go in a more hardcore vein after that with “The War Unseen,” but even then there’s a lot more metal in the mix than hardcore. “Seize The Fire” crunches and stomps along nicely, and “Pit Of Shame” and “Mental Chains” both hit high notes — the former’s bitterly downtrodden and resigned but still defiant, fighting on even though the fight seems never to end, while the guitars on the latter make me think of industrial-metal stuff like Prong, for some reason, and the song itself is impressively head-bob-inducing.

“Where I Stand” rides a cool, oddly circular sounding riff, and “Here We Go Again” is surprisingly arresting all by itself, a grooving, chugging slab of metal that blurs the line between Rob Zombie graveyard-boogie and that easiest of metal subgenres to fuck up horribly, rap-metal. It makes me think a bit of rap-punk supergroup Transplants, for what that’s worth, and I’m grinning like an idiot listening to that bent, slightly detuned riff that comes in near the end.

Roll on towards the end, and some of the tracks are a bit forgettable (“Panic” and “The Enforcer,” in particular), but The Warriors finish strong with “Along The Way,” a track that veers closer to Killswitch Engage than it does the band’s hardcore roots. It’s funny, but when I was listening to A Genuine Sense Of Outrage, I found myself wishing they’d never changed their sound; from the sound of See How You Are, it seems they just hadn’t changed it enough.

[The Warriors are playing 3/7/11 at the House of Blues, along with Parkway Drive, Set Your Goals, & A Ghost Inside.]
(Victory Records -- 346 N. Justine St., 5th Floor, Chicago, IL. 60607; http://www.victoryrecords.com/; The Warriors -- http://www.myspace.com/thewarriors)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Monday, March 7th, 2011. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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