Published Oct 31, 2019At points haunting and at others mighty, the constantly poignant Warrior Down by WHOOP-Szo blends cultural disenchantment, grunge and psych into an eye-opening experience.
The Ontario five-piece mixe melody and noise to delve into the macro and micro of colonialism throughout the album's ten tracks. A standout of the poised, urgent approach? Album closer "Cut Your Hair," which traces bandleader Adam Sturgeon's grandfather's experience in the residential school system — and the familial trauma it left behind.
Musically, Warrior Down takes you for a sonic hike — sometimes through the wilderness, sometimes through a wasteland — never staying long in one spot or indicating the next direction. With long instrumentals that dance between chaos and calm, it's a subconscious assault on the emotions.
Lyrically, it punches you square in the gut. The tragic — but all too common — story of "Gerry" opens with "Well, my cousin Gerry was shot by a cop" while "Long Braided Hair" tackles the systemic issues behind the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
It's heady stuff, with enough Easter eggs to keep you returning for more: From the intentional multilingualism to the unknown "warrior" the album title references and each track thematically unpacks, your brain has lots to chew on while your ears delight.
Whether you're looking for a revelation or just to rock, Warrior Down is an album that continues to grow and give as it settles into the folds of your brain. (You've Changed)