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Narrows - New Distances (Cover Artwork)

Narrows

Narrows: New DistancesNew Distances (2009)
Deathwish Inc.

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


Contributed by: OverDefinedOverDefined
(others by this writer | submit your own)

There's something inherently difficult about reviewing releases by bands made up of ex-members, let alone one like Narrows, that is basically a hardcore supergroup. Featuring the singer of Botch as well as past and current members of Unbroken, Some Girls, These Arms Are Snakes and a bunch more, it i.
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There's something inherently difficult about reviewing releases by bands made up of ex-members, let alone one like Narrows, that is basically a hardcore supergroup. Featuring the singer of Botch as well as past and current members of Unbroken, Some Girls, These Arms Are Snakes and a bunch more, it is nearly impossible to separate these members' past glories from their current effort. Ultimately, the debut full-length from Narrows is an interesting and unique slab of post-hardcore, but for me, as it comes close, it fails to live up to the promise of the names associated with it.

Because of vocalist Dave Verellen, the easiest place to start with describing Narrow's sound is with Botch. Strip that band of its genre-spanning technical metalcore and add more melodic sensibility with a tendency toward slower driving grooves and you get the basic formula for Narrows. With that said, however, the band doesn't just stick to one style. In "Newly Restored" they groove out for nearly five minutes on a riff that is reminiscent of Soundgarden (in all the ways that this is a good thing) before shifting uptempo for the next track, "The Fourragere," with a straightforward rock and roll riff that gives way to some atmospheric chords and ultimately to an odd-time metalcore-ish breakdown. Verellen is pleasingly strong over it, sounding nearly exactly the same as he did in Botch.

The standout aspects of this record are when they leave behind convention and follow their creative muse. There is a good deal of innovative use of chords, such as in the later-era Cave In sound of the instrumental, "A Restoration Effort." I also enjoy the hypnotic ending groove of "Changing Clothes" with its refrain, "are you walking home alone?" It is in these moments where they leave behind the influence of their past bands and stake out a unique sound for Narrows.

While I enjoy much of this album, I have one major complaint: the overuse of that screechy dissonant chord that bands like Norma Jean drove into the ground a few years ago. You know, the one that terrible breakdown-bands throw in between chugs: "chugchug chug eee eee chugchug." For some reason, Narrows uses this chord liberally in near every song, and even starts out the first song "Chambered" with it. What boggles my mind even more is that the rest of the track is solid with catchy and tight riffing under Verellen's powerful voice, but then they always return to that chord. For a band with so much obvious creativity, I don't understand the reliance on something with such a gimmicky feel.

This release will likely please fans of the members' previous bands and is welcome addition to their legacy. Regardless of any reviewer opinion, it is clear that this is an outlet for these guys to make music they enjoy and it certainly sounds that way.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
SilentStorms (June 23, 2009)

Perhaps, but I think people should at least check this band out. Therefore not posting doesn't help. Regardless, I like this band, and if you like Botch you should at least check it out.

mikexdude (June 22, 2009)

I think with Botch, the dissonance was fresh sounding. It's completely overdone.

overdefined (June 22, 2009)

"I'm going to transcend all this bickering."

I'm pretty sure to do that you would have to just not post on the internet.

SilentStorms (June 22, 2009)

I'm going to transcend all this bickering. Dave rules on vocals. Score is for that man's delivery and lyrics.

overdefined (June 22, 2009)

First, I disagree that that chord is a key part of Botch.

Second, this is NOT Botch. Narrows only has the singer, not any of the instrumentalists or songwriters of Botch. It has Botch-like elements, but to say that whatever they do is ok because they used to be Botch is just wrong.

givemeamuseumandillfillit (June 22, 2009)

I do agree with the score though, but my main critisism is that it's overall pretty boring and could've used some more unpredictable dynamics, but hey, about 1/5000 bands display that on their early output.. I'm sure they'll grow into it.

givemeamuseumandillfillit (June 22, 2009)

Yeah, sure, but it's one of the key things about Botch, so if that's your critisism and you're at the same time drawn in by the ex-Botch tag then it's kinda...you know.. paradoxal..

thus_spoke_sean (June 20, 2009)

Four stars due to amount of times I have listened to this record. Nothing mind blowing but a great listen.

tenwestchaser (June 20, 2009)

It finally surfaces!

inagreendase (June 20, 2009)

I think I agree with this review.

mikexdude (June 20, 2009)

annoying now***

mikexdude (June 20, 2009)

Definitely with overdefined on this... I love Botch but the :chugchug chug chugchug errrrrrrrrrrrrrr" is so fucking annoying.

Also:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wr0-9MHYTuQ

HAHAHAHA

sugarfull (June 19, 2009)

it's one thing to be dissonant, it's another thing to do what the reviewer is describing, which I agree is getting kind of old.

givemeamuseumandillfillit (June 19, 2009)

Finally, the Blood Brothers interview.

Why the tirade about the dissonance? It's just common sense that they picked that up from where Botch left off.. It's not their fault that bands drove it to the ground.

Btw, has anyone seen the Botch DVD? Gotta dig the "Man, I love this Norma Jean song" comment.

wallofyouth (June 19, 2009)

i generally prefer my unintelligible screaming to be closer to 1000 words per minute...

Archangel (June 19, 2009)

THREE STARS?

Get the fuck out.

bryne (June 19, 2009)

Hey, you guys! I found the Narrows review!

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