On Premonition, the new album from Canadian punks White Lung, drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou, singer Mish Barber-Way, and guitarist Kenneth William rip through ten songs with enough blazingly proficient lead guitars, kick-ass drums, and powerful vocals to convince those who haven’t been paying attention for the past decade that perhaps they’re listening to the best speed metal trio to come out of the Great White North since Anvil. White Lung don’t seem to care to present themselves as a group with ambitions to pack stadiums with headbanging, devil horn-signing punters, however. Instead, the Vancouver, BC band bring with them a decidedly neat and comparatively reserved indie aesthetic that belies their virtuosic, technical chops.
The songs on Premonition come at you fast and hard without a whole lot of differentiation in tempo from song to song. Every track is imbued with William’s remarkably good guitar work that ranges everywhere from crying solos one moment to thrashing power chords the next and back again. Highlights on the record’s first half include “Date Night”, which features Barber-Way singing about being on a date with a drunken God. On “Under Glass”, the band back off the accelerator and deliver an emotive song that uses imagery inspired by Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar to express how it can feel to be overwhelmed by life, as if one must put on a fake front to just exist.
Incredibly, Premonition’s second half hits even harder than the first with Vassiliou hammering the hell out of her kit on the lightning quick, hardcore hellraiser “Girl”, a track that has Barber-Way singing about the emotional rollercoaster that is motherhood. The record goes out the same way it came in. With a swift, aural onslaught consisting of William’s incessant, brutally heavy guitar and Vassiliou’s rapid percussive attack, White Lung drive the entire collection to a crushing conclusion with Premonition’s thunderous closer, “Winter”. Barber-Way has saved her strongest vocal moment for the end as she sings, “All of you line up and wait, stand back and swallow your fate now, come wait, come wait, you’re late.” Here, Mish Barber-Way gloriously sustains the chorus’ last word each time it comes around while her bandmates deftly hold everything together.
While there’s not a lot of variety on Premonition in terms of cadence from track to track, White Lung do manage to dispatch a speedy set that grabs you immediately by both ears and refuses to let go. For a record that keeps the pedal to the metal for roughly thirty minutes, amazingly, White Lung never run out of tricks. And while Premonition might not be an album that will have you shouting memorable choruses, it is an album that features a jaw-droppingly tight band whose stunning instrumental and vocal competency will leave you gasping for more.