Review Summary: A tantalizingly short EP of quality hardcore.
Narrows is a band comprised of members hailing from groups such as Botch
, These Arms Are Snakes
, and Unbroken
. The member that often elicits the most attention is Dave Verellen of Botch
fame. Anyone who has heard his anguished bark knows that he is a formidable vocalist, one that demands a a heavy backdrop on which to wax angrily on various issues. The other members of Narrows meet this challenge head on, assembling 3 startlingly heavy tracks sure to please any hardcore fan.
Narrows opens their self-titled EP with the cleverly named Life Vests Float, Kids Don't. Beginning with a dirty, distorted bass line, Verellen comes in over the top with his raw, bitter vocals, bringing with him buzzing guitars and tenacious drumming. The track ends on a massive breakdown, one that, curiously enough, is cut short for some reason. The next track, Crooked Tongues, opens with a lone guitar, only to be joined by the rest of the band for another exercise in hardcore brutality. While only used once in the song, Verellen employs a stutter effect more commonly heard in electronic music on his vocals. This slight change up really adds to the track, giving Crooked Tongues an identity of its own. This song, like opening number Life Vests.. also utilizes an immense breakdown to wrap things up. The third and final track, The Touch Test, is more subdued when compared to the two previous cuts of hardcore. While yes, it is indeed subdued, that doesn't mean that it isn't still heavy. The Touch Test is merely a slower, more atmospheric number, one that concludes this 10 minute EP quite nicely.
While the guitar, bass, and drum work on this concise EP are all of high caliber, the thing that really earns Narrows such a high rating is the vocal presence of Dave Verellen. His vocals are horrible in the most enjoyable of ways, sounding like the berserk yells of one who is in the throes of maniacal anger. This laudable performance really separates Narrows from other hardcore bands, making their debut EP more enjoyable and more memorable. Essentially, these guys just sound more pissed off than lots of other guys making the same kind of music. If you're looking for pure, unadulterated aggression, look no further. Narrows has it by the boatload.