Warish: Down In Flames

Whether you’re skating in the city or fighting the man at your 9-5, Warish is your soundtrack to a punk-rock lifestyle. Fronted by Tony Hawk’s son Riley, this sludgy trio is built to take your ears from 0 to 60 in 11 tracks. Thick, fuzzy guitar and bass tones saturate these songs to the core, with straight ahead drums and wailing vocals dripping with reverb and delay as the icing on top. There’s a heavy influence from early Nirvana with aspects of iconic punk acts like Misfits, Jawbreaker, Sonic Youth, and other 90’s noise-rock and punk bands. The songs are bare bones, aggressive, and melodically creepy. Though reminiscent of another era (debatably the golden age of punk) there is something new and progressive about Warish that continues to build on the foundation of punk and pull it into the 2020’s.

Formed in 2018, Warish is hitting the ground running with two releases this year (though there is some overlap of songs between their debut EP and their new album). As with any skate-punk band, the songs can blend together a bit, but they’re all good enough to stand alone. Certain songs do have memorable riffs or unique moments. “Fight” has a very middle-eastern sounding lick to start the song off before it jumps into a fuzz-laden anthem. “Shivers” starts with a guitar riff that has a stoner-rock vibe and ends with several Black Sabbath influenced changes. “Their Disguise” evolves into a doom-rock head-banger halfway in, and then jumps back to a fast-paced end. The vocal effects make them hard to decipher, and it sits low in the mix, but that all adds to the charm. There’s plenty of punk clichés, but Warish reminds us there’s no formula to their music. Just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they switch things up.

It can be easy to assume that the band is riding the wave of fame from Riley’s dad, but regardless of public appeal there’s real talent here. Warish can prove their own worth in the West Coast punk scene. There’s nothing fake about their sound, and fans of classic punk bands will feel that same nostalgia for the sound of this album. Everything about the band screams So-Cal, and Warish is the perfect band to carry the torch of their predecessors into the modern age. They’re becoming peers with more progressive punk bands like Whores and Spiritual Cramp. Whether you’re a fan of stoner rock, noise-rock, punk-rock, skate-punk, hawk-punk (ok, maybe I made that one up), or whatever else you want to call it, Warish has something for you. One thing is for sure, we can expect to hear one of these songs on the next Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game.

Rating: 8.0/10