Warning Sign – Left to the Sharks (Self-Released)

Wednesday, 19th October 2016
Rating: 9/10

Passion and sincerity go hand in hand in developing a following in the metal scene. People have to believe in what you are offering – and in the case of Quebec City, Canada act Warning Sign, there’s a whole lot of traditional and old school power/thrash love at the forefront on their second full-length Left to the Sharks. They aren’t reinventing the wheel, but these eight songs certain keep the vehicle rolling and turning through crafty riffing, smart hooks and tempo changes, plus high octane singing that rivals the best classic/traditional vocalists going in the genre.

Taking a wide swath of 1980’s power/thrash influences and turning them through an Iron Maiden/Judas Priest melodic veneer, hints of Metal Church, Omen and Thundersteel period Riot come to the forefront when taking on the twin Max Beaulieu/Olivier Perrier-Maurel guitar harmonies and chase action break sequence for the title track – sure to appease the closest guitar hero in us all. Warning Sign can also shift into mid-tempo anthem mode, which the follow up “Make Them Fear Us” does through single word vocal chanting, and a catchy main riff that allows drummer Jean-Michel Perrier ample chance to showcase his speedy thrill fills. You can tell aspects of Megadeth and Testament factor in to certain chord progressions and time changes during “Going to War” – but the band chooses to look deeper into the intricacies of these bands instead of just hanging their hats on pure thrash. And hats off to throwing down a three-minute opening instrumental “Eat a Bag of Hell” that rivals Iron Maiden circa “Ides of March” or “Losfer Words”.

In the end, the true treat lies in Max Beaulieu’s stellar vocals throughout the album. He has a crisp, clear command of his multi-octave abilities, reminding me very much of the chameleon-like charm that has put current Riot V singer Todd Michael Hall near the top of the genre in a relatively short time period. One listen to “Going to War” or the epic 8:48 closer “Shifting Sands” and you’ll know that he has the pipes to carry Warning Sign into rarified terrain, the latter making me think of Mike Howe-era Metal Church. Sonically on point in terms of tones and production, the zombie-oriented cover is the only thumbs down aspect to an otherwise excellent product.

Those who are looking for melodic power metal the North American way with a bit of true and thrash nuances, Left to the Sharks will devour minds, bodies, and souls – proving our neighbors to the north really have it going on these days.

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