Tuesday 24 June 2014

Choice Cuts: Warning - Watching From a Distance (2006)

Warning ‘Watching From a Distance’

The Band:
  • Patrick Walker | vocals, guitar
  • Marcus Hatfield | bass
  • Stuart Springthorpe | drums

Possibly metals most depressing album of all time, Warning’s 2006 release ‘Watching From a Distance’ is capable of reducing the burliest of men to a whimpering wreck. The band gained interest from the metal underground from their early demos and release of their full length debut ‘The Strength to Dream’; however ‘Watching From a Distance’ became their most significant release.

Lyrically introspective and sung with the utmost of emotion, vocalist Patrick Walker bears his heart and soul for our listening pleasure. The vocals are somewhat unique and take a moment or two to get on board with, but the vulnerability and sentiment in the way he sings is what makes this album what it is.

Down tuned, distorted, dense guitar riffs form the backbone of each song, opening track ‘Watching From A Distance’ begins with a long dawdling doom drenched riff, before Walkers mesmerizing vocal stylings seize our attention and demand it for the entirety of the album.

The highlight of the album for me is undoubtedly ‘Footprints,’ which in essence is seven minutes of total heartbreak. Melancholic from the get go, harsh guitar tones set the bleak atmosphere as the song builds to a heart wrenching epic conclusion. Anyone familiar with this record will understand the impact of the following lyric: “Yet here I stand, a broken soldier, shivering and naked, in your winter light.”

Never have I heard something so hugely emotive, the final two minutes of ‘Footprints’ are without question one of the most moving sections of music I have ever experienced. Continuing with the notion of utter gloom, ‘Bridges’ is immersed with bleakness and despair. The slowest track of the album, the guitars crawl along at an almost painfully slow tempo escalating to an uncharacteristic euphoric end. Final two tracks ‘Faces’ and ‘Echoes’ continue the unrelenting melancholic assault, delving into the depths of desolation that Warning do so well.

‘Watching From A Distance’ is a timeless album that will forever be a firm favourite of mine. Warning disbanded in 2009, however Walker formed a band called 40 Watt Sun who offer similar gloom and doom, and a band I also rate very highly. Some albums are good, some are great and some capture something so special it becomes an unforgettable experience. This is one of the most beautifully crafted and meaningful albums I’ve ever heard or will ever hear, and an essential listen for any metal fan.

Words & Recommendation by: Heather Blewett

Album Details:

‘Watching From a Distance’ was the second full length record by Warning, released in 2006 originally on The Miskatonic Foundation label.  It was subsequently on vinyl via Metal Supremacy in 2008, CD again on the Cyclone Empire Label in the same year and finally on vinyl in 2012 via Kreation Records, although members have deemed this as an unofficial release. 

‘Watching From A Distance’ track listing:

1). Watching From a Distance 12:06
2). Footprints 07:31
3). Bridges 11:30
4). Faces 08:31
5). 10:16

Recorded at Rosenquarz Studio, Lubeck, Germany, Spring 2006

Additonal Info:

Official Statement from Patrick Walker from 2012 re reissued vinyl on Kreation Records

It was recently brought to my attention by a Warning fan that my 2006 album, Watching from a Distance, was being reissued on vinyl. ‘Would I be receiving any copies?’ he asked, ‘and would I have any for sale?’
I felt rather embarrassed to say the least as this was certainly the first I had heard of it. After a brief online search I came across the website of

Kreation Records in America advertising pre-sales of a vinyl reissue of the album.
I immediately telephoned the label and asked who the record was licensed from and what the deal was; to my knowledge Cyclone Empire had exclusive rights to the album.

It transpired that Cyclone Empire had been licensed the album for CD release only. Miskatonic Foundation had licensed the record to Kreation for a vinyl reissue (the first vinyl release was the attractive but hard-to-find Metal Supremacy release in 2008).

I was angry and upset that this record has been reissued without my band’s knowledge and consent, without our involvement in its conception and design, and that no offer has been made to us to participate in the profit of this release.

This morning I received a shipment of the reissued album from Kreation Records (our share of the deal, apparently) and I was heartbroken and utterly deflated. Everything from the bastardised cover art, badly photoshopped and redesigned text layout, bad quality packaging and even a new “thanks list” penned by The Miskatonic Foundation is reason enough for me to ask you that if you care about Warning and its music then to consider this statement before investing.
While it is not in my nature to vent publically, I feel I have no choice now other than to offer an explanation and an apology of sorts for the poor-quality release which, regrettably, bears the name of me and my band.

I was hoping to one day produce an “official” vinyl reissue of this album that we could be proud of. We have a small handful of bonus materials that I’d like to have been used, and would like to have overseen the release from its conception right through to the finished article.

The bottom line is, I want it to be known that Kreation Records’ reissue of Watching from a Distance is, as far as I am concerned, unofficial, does not reflect myself or Warning and is not something that we are profiteering from in any way. The shipment of records I received this morning are going to be returned.

Thank you for reading.
Patrick Walker