Album Review: Turnstile – Time & Space

By Marvin Dotiyal, Features Editor
[Roadrunner; 2018]
Rating 6.5/10

Key Tracks: “Big Smile”, “Generator”, “High Pressure”

The definition of East Coast hardcore would be inadequate without its founding fathers like Minor Threat, Bad Brains and Born Against, but it would be dead without modern successors like Turnstile. As a band that has been pushing boundaries and vigorous crowds for almost a decade, Turnstile’s Time & Space just goes to show that hardcore punk never dies; it just passes out in a basement from time to time.

Time & Space keeps its listeners on their toes with its bruising beatdowns, danceable grooves and mosh pit warrior anthems, all sprinkled with a pinch of unexpected flavors. For Turnstile, their branches grow straight from their roots; the band’s capability to integrate a progressive edge in the spirit of old-school hardcore captures a genuine style that sets them apart from the current scene.

Musical diversity in hardcore punk is usually difficult to point out, but Time & Space has got everything from hardcore high jinks to quirky interludes to anthemic singalongs to even a collaboration with producer, Diplo. With an appetite for musical experimentation, Turnstile flaunts the odd chemistry between grungy psychedelia and heavy hardcore in this release, predominantly shown in “Moon” and “Generator”, with its spacey wall of reverbed instruments. Their instrumentation can be chaotic as a whole, but when examined in parts, it’s composed of small complex arrangements that also signify different musical elements.

The instrumentals in Time & Space play consistently with its style, paying homage to metallic hardcore with thrashy guitar solos in “Generator” and “Come Back For More/H.O.Y.”. Bass also plays a prominent role throughout, serving as the main backbone in “I Don’t Wanna Be Blind”, feeding off of the punchy drums that fuel the whole album. At a close listen, percussive claps (“Can’t Get Away”) and synth jabs (“High Pressure”) can also be heard to enhance overall flow and rhythm in certain songs. Needless to say, there are plenty of pure hardcore bangers like “Big Smile” that will keep the pit nice and sweaty with its fast-paced intro, which eventually makes its way to a catchy, somewhat surfy riff.

Frontman Brendon Yates’ desperate cries empower the songs in the vein of Zach de la Rocha’s “shouty” vocals in Rage Against the Machine. Yates’ vocals intensify the entire atmosphere not only with its aggressive nature, but also by incorporating occasional, subtle melodies. It gives a final touch to everything, adding extra oomph to the mix.

Even if this is still Turnstile’s sophomore album, their previous EPs have proven that they are the prodigy of what hardcore punk should be. It’s not a huge step from Turnstile’s earlier discography, but Turnstile has found the sweet spot in Time & Space, manifesting their solidified sound of what the band has grown to become.

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