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New Distances

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Album Review

This first full-length from hardcore supergroup side-project Narrows is a dynamic, forceful 30 minutes of heavy crunchy guitars, well-placed distortion and dissonance, pulverizing drums, and thunderous growled vocals. Dave Verellen's (Botch) voice is the grounding instrument, a fierce thunderclap far removed from the dorky screamo acts who attempt violent primal scream displays like New Distances but fall flat. Hints of Godflesh and peak-era Ministry crop up in Verellen's surgical moans and in the guitar interplay of Jodie Cox (Tropics) and Ryan Frederiksen (These Arms Are Snakes), who alternate between fuzzy distortion and ringing passages like warning calls. Sam Stothers (Makeout Boys) supplies the rapid-fire drums, madly pounding away to keep the surging stomp moving. Rob Moran's (Unbroken) bass is just as vital, settling alongside the drums as a counterpoint to the screeching guitars above. Only one or two tracks smell a little of a rushed recording session between these intercontinental fellows, but for the most part, things are tight as can be with atmosphere and viciousness to spare. So many hard acts go for all-out noise, or they get lost copping to meek melodies or juvenile subject matter, but thanks to experience and sheer ability, Narrows focus on the heart of nihilism and angry expression to craft a debut both punishing and intelligent.

New Distances, Narrows
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