Review: Turnstile – “Time & Space”

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Hardcore’s history is lengthy and confusing, ripe with winding paths that define different subgenres and communities. In this day and age, it becomes easy to recycle the same riffs and rhythms, but there are bands like Baltimore’s Turnstile that are injecting creative song structures and melodies into their music, turning hardcore on its head. On the band’s latest effort, Time & Space, Turnstile meld pummeling, hardcore-punk with experimental sounds and styles.

Turnstile make music for moving. Their career has been a series of energized stage-divers throwing themselves head-over-heels into a shifting sea of sweat and limbs. Turnstile weave together seering guitars, fierce drumming, and vocalist Brendan Yates’ vicious wail. This combination of the band’s zigzagged rhythms and colorful tones incites chaos and brings an infectious energy to the room.

Since their formative years, Turnstile have always pulsed with a unique flair. The group unleashed their debut full length, Nonstop Feeling, in 2015 via Reaper Records. Nonstop Feeling introduced more experimental elements to their sound, invigorating the band’s career. Since, the band have continued to explore the sonic possibilities. After years of writing and rigorous touring, Turnstile present Time & Space, a culmination of the band’s sweat, blood, and breakdowns.

Time & Space brings the Turnstile energy to new heights. The 13 songs on Time & Space burn by quickly and furiously, leaving little time to catch your breath. From start to finish, Turnstile are locked into their aggressive groove, balancing relentless rage with a cavernous, reverberating melodies. The band utilize more dynamics throughout the record, allowing Yates to use his throat for more singing. Songs like “I Don’t Wanna Be Blind” and “Moon” showcase the variation in Yates vocal style, and highlight the sing-along quality Time & Space possesses.

While there is a more pop-oriented feel to the record, Turnstile have not backed off their aggressive hardcore-punk roots. Tracks like “Real Thing” and “Right to Be” take on trademark Turnstile characteristics. In fact, one of the more alluring qualities of Time & Space is the placement and timing of its breakdowns.

The hardcore breakdown can often feel predictable and overdone. But Turnstile’s use of abrupt tempo changes make the breakdowns hit like a ton of bricks. This stop-and-go structure brings new life to each breakdown, both on the record and in the mosh pit.

Turnstile’s experimental songwriting has given them the opportunity to not only pay homage to the hardcore greats of the past, but also to leave their own colorful mark on the genere’s history. Turnstile’s willingness to explore outside of the box pushes the boundaries of hardcore. Time & Space brings a creative edge that is refreshing and exciting. Between the dialed back melodies and pure fury, Turnstile have set themselves up for a career full of surprises and endless possibilities.



Yong Los // @yongxlos

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