The title track virtually explodes out of the gate, microcosmic of Exil’s overall approach, all instant-hook shouted chorus and furious tempo. It’s almost two minutes of pure kinetic energy from start to finish. Vocalist TB shouts and barks; guitarist Kristoffer rips through chords, augmenting the ascending chorus with a pick-slide that’s perfectly placed, both punk glory and arena-rock goofy; bassist 138* and drummer Andre push the whole of it forward with whirlwind power, careening at warp speed but never once losing control, maintaining an almost inhuman intensity at Mach 5.
From there, through nine more songs across twenty-three additional minutes, Exil never lets their foot off the gas pedal — even the rare midtempo moments are possessed of a crackling energy, and what is hardcore about if not that adrenaline surge? 138’s gnarly and clanging bass opens the raging “Damaged” before the remainder of the band joins him for another absolute ripper, a highlight track in an album comprised almost entirely of those. The chanted “The History Of Cleanliness” bounces atop a droning groove, detailing the history of sarin from its development as a pesticide to its later and more tragic use in chemical warfare, before “Idiot Face” kicks the walls down for the split song’s second half. Later on, “Security” rides some tremolo-picked crossover riffs to shout-along perfection, flirting with a slightly slower groove until Andre brings it right back up to full speed ahead. The whole of these ten tracks are amphetamine-level pick-you-ups, just shots of pure speed through the ears and direct to the heart and brain, undeniable and unstoppable giddy fun, in the way that only hardcore punk can truly muster up.
In some respects, Warning is a record out of time — it could’ve come out in the 80s, 90s, or, quite clearly, it could come out now. (Since, y’know, it did.) It’s both a throwback and refreshingly… well, fresh. It’s the product of four punks who know their business, released by a label that certainly knows quality when it comes to hardcore. Born just before the pandemic and then forced into lockdown like the rest of us, Exil had the spirit, the means, and energy to burn. They poured every damned bit of all of it into Warning, and it shows in spades.
This is pure hardcore fury. Get in the pit.
*He is 138. He iiiiiiiis 138.
This is really sick. Reminds me of Kim Phuc, but with a bit more speed.