Barrow
Though I'm Alone


3.6
great

Review

by Aziz STAFF
February 8th, 2013 | 60 replies | 17,424 views


Release Date: 03/26/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dense, yet achingly breathtaking

For whatever reason, it took me a lot longer to digest Barrow’s sophomore effort than it did for me to understand and enjoy Being Without. There was a sense of immediacy which I found in the band’s debut and an endearing honesty that was intrinsic to the group’s dichotomy of biting screams and full, melodious cleans. The instrumental work saturated the album in bleak and dense atmospheres, highlighting the band’s incredible penchant for immersing the soundscape in full, vivid scenes, while the vocal harmonies floated along the tremolo-borne rivers, meandering through sonic landscapes both desolate and dazzling, occasionally tumbling through scathing rapids or cascading freely, swiftly over jagged walls, roaring into the depths of the next track’s abyss. Though I’m Alone seems to be an entirely different beast, a more mature effort with an emphasis on atmospheres that somehow even eclipses that on their debut. The band plays the same beautiful medley of hypnotic drumming with mammoth guitars that at times thrash about, and at times set the mood with airy, deliberate tremolos, all beneath one of the better one-two punches of furious screams and gorgeous cleans in contemporary music. But on their latest offering, it’s all condensed into a denser and more suffocating (yet still extremely rewarding when it finally starts to click) collection – I’m now nearly fifteen listens in and I’m still dissecting Though I’m Alone.

Barrow’s sound is a mix of that sweltering emo/part-hardcore blend that has quite prominently cropped its head up as of late and a drudging, buoyant post-rock framework which ambles softly as shadows do during the flurry of emotions and wretched screams and then, at long last, reveals itself in a frightening yet unequivocally beautiful realization that these shadows are just as potent a reality. And Barrow, on Though I’m Alone, has loosened the threads of the aggressive emo exhibitionism ever so slightly, and stitched more meandering post-rock sections into the music, ultimately paving the way for the tortured screams and insistent drums, crashing angrily like violent waves to a rocky beach, to bloom organically and hit harder. One of the more striking features of the album in fact is the impressive development of sounds, best exemplified by the bridge from “Clawhold” to “Dogwood”. “Clawhold” is a somber, silent stroll through the cold night streets, guitar softly plucked, heartstrings in certain tow, as anguished whispers warble across the airy, starlit atmospheres, rare bleats of optimism reaching out from the despair. But with the final dismal murmurs of “[I’m] hoping that one day I can be a better man,” the trembling tune evolves seamlessly into a maelstrom of raging howls, intrepid guitarwork, thunderous smashing of the drumkit – a startling yet enthralling cataclysm of emotive highs and agonizing beauty. And album closer “God’s in His Heaven – All is Well” is a tumultuous ride throughout all of the band’s strengths, boasting galloping melodies and jarring percussion, crescendoing finally into a majestic wall of noise fortified by boisterous drumming, asphyxiating colossal chords droning in an almost post-metal fashion, and wretched, distressed screams to the very end.

It’s hard to nitpick such a complete record, but the primary issue afflicting Though I’m Alone is the dearth of distinct, arresting moments on the album – relative to Barrow’s debut, anyway. As far as individual tracks are concerned, there is no particular standout – the most immediate track is perhaps “Fed (Choking, Retching),” in its non-stop aural onslaught, but even that cannot stand up to some of the more incisive moments of Being Without, let alone the juggernaut that was “An Absent Crown, My Diadem”. That isn’t to say that Though I’m Alone has less-enjoyable songs though; in fact it seems to be a more cohesive and cogent record than Being Without was, the brooding, intense atmospheres and soaring emotions coalescing into a thicker, denser medley of sound than was the case on its predecessor. For such a young band, Barrow has surprisingly fired consistently on all cylinders, with two uniformly strong albums already under their belts - debate the merits of one over the other all you want, but Though I’m Alone sees Barrow making incredible music with stark maturity and is an ultimately regal affair that should do nothing but grow on listeners throughout the year.



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user ratings (131)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
welljesuschrist (4.5)
A defining work....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2013



6096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

Streaming here: http://www.absolutepunk.net/artists/showlink.php?l=29282

Album is really great. It might take some time to get into it, but it's definitely worth it once it hits you.

elephantREVOLUTION
February 7th 2013



2741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i just pre ordered the vinyl today

eternium
February 7th 2013



16337 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Finally listened to it last night. It's better than what I expected it to be although not as good as Being Without.

I'll be seeing them for the third time when they play at my friend's house in March.

Scoot
February 8th 2013



17731 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

it's pretty solid but man is it depressing

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2013



6096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

Yeah for a long while I liked Being Without quite a bit better than this, but this has slowly been growing on me and closing the gap.

Thanks for the pos's everyone! If anyone has any other feedback or criticisms, I'd be more than happy to hear them, no matter how harsh (harsh is actually preferred if you back it up tbh)

KotoFtw
February 8th 2013



1073 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Definitely a great review. Maybe tone it down with all the adjectives but otherwise awesome. Pos'd

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2013



50114 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Good eats

Digging: Tiny Moving Parts - Pleasant Living

chambered99
February 8th 2013



794 Comments


this bettr be good a trebor 4 is a little promising

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2013



10070 Comments


Cool, man. I like the album, but it isn't anything groundbreaking. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, though.

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2013



6096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

Thanks guys, I'll try to tone down the overt descriptiveness in the future.

And Omaha I felt the same way when I first heard it, but it has grown on me a lot since then.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2013



10070 Comments


I'm sure it's a grower, yeah.

One thing that was inconsistent to me on the first listen was the vocals. one song had pretty meh harsh vocals, one of the later ones.

welljesuschrist
February 9th 2013



64 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Track 8 has some heavy guest vocals that do sound a bit out of place (but after a few listens they seem fine tbh). Otherwise I think vocally it's spectacular.

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
February 9th 2013



6096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6

Yeah the cleans on this are especially nice

DurzoBlint
February 11th 2013



1175 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes I needed this... their debut is awesome. Hoping this will be as good.

DurzoBlint
February 11th 2013



1175 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn this album is depressing, wish I could understand all the screams though. Some words are hard for
me to decipher

Hawks
February 11th 2013



35646 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I need this.

Digging: Engraved - Before The Tales

treeqt.
February 12th 2013



9704 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i feel like this is quite a bit better than 'Being Without' but sadly I don't really care for it at all.

Digging: Luigi Nono - A Pierre; Quando stanno morendo;

ILJ
February 24th 2013



6663 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I have no idea what is being said on this album but I can hear the desperation in the vocals and I can feel it in the music itself, so that definitely says something for the way this is made.

FearThyEvil
February 24th 2013



12495 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

God, Clawhold puts a lump in my chest when listening to it. Really sad song to me.

Hopelust
March 1st 2013



960 Comments


Despite these guys being quite talented in what they're doing, they didn't head off in the direction I had hoped for them to
musically...



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