Take Offense – Tensions On High (2018) REVIEW

The inspiration and sound of Chula Vista, California crossover die-hards Take Offense is immediately clear from the first bars of “Trust” as their ‘Join the Army’ meets ‘Primitive Origins’ sound reappears after 5 years with ‘Tensions On High’. They’ve long had the NYHC/crossover era muscle and the shred-happy ambition of late 80’s Suicidal Tendencies but it’s never come across as clear as on this 15 minute EP. Their sound started way closer to the New York hardcore influenced style of crossover, I mean it wasn’t exactly ‘One Voice’ but they were doing something closer to Merauder or Madball than Cro-Mags before ‘Peace in Death’ released in 2008. The Suicidal Tendencies influences in terms of vocals started to define their sound from that point and they’ve done a great job of making it their own since.

Take Offense‘s last release, unless I missed something, was ‘United States of Mind’ and you’d think I hate mosh riffs but it was kinda ‘tough guy’ blandness for my taste; The kind of stuff that even Victory Records would have passed on in like 1996. The stronger tracks on that album were the ones like ‘Ascended Master’ where that ‘Peace in Death’ style popped up in between Madball/Pro-Pain stompers. All is forgiven on ‘Tensions on High’ because my 80’s metal g-spot gets hammered across the board. They’re still tough boys no doubt but each of the five tracks here gives me a reason to come back and listen again and I’m not sure I’ve felt that way since ‘The Joke’s On You’.

I’ll go out on a limb and come across like a dickhead here for a minute and say I read a track preview/column showcasing standout track “Just Because You Believe” that basically said it “channeled Red Fang and Metallica” and I nerd rage spit on myself reading that. If we’re going to talk about a retro-influenced band lets go retro with the references. I know everyone has already forgotten about Prong outside of their post-“Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck” era but we’ve all got Google skills. Before ‘Cleansing’ Prong had been a crossover band that jumped onto metal in some awesome, funky ways. Most of this EP could be compared very closely with Prong‘s ‘Beg to Differ’ as they moved towards ‘Prove You Wrong’ pop-metal, and “Just Because You Believe” takes a heavier nod from major label debut era Suicidal Tendencies and Cro-Mags than it does anything Metallica. None of that is important I guess, but why get it twisted instead of celebrate important hardcore/metal hybrids that matter?

Take Offense capture an under-represented sect of crossover that is a lot tougher to make work than the typical D.R.I. imitating variations and they deserve some credit for making it their own. ‘Tensions on High’ might pull from history for it’s sound but everything they’re doing sounds fresh and relevant in both crossover hesher land and hardcore territory alike. If the riffs on “Trust” don’t get you head-bobbing, and the solos on “Unconditional” don’t send you checking the liner notes for Rocky George then it might not be for you, you’ll know before it’s over either way. I liked it.


Artist Take Offense
Type EP
Released March 30, 2018
Listen on Flatspot Records’ Bandcamp! Follow Take Offense on Facebook
Hardcore Punk

Days without rest. 4.0/5.0

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