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Narrows Painted Review

Album. Released 2012.  

BBC Review

A stunning hardcore collection which will rank as one of 2012’s best.

Raziq Rauf 2012

From the discordant, siren guitar-laced thunder of opening track, Under the Guillotine, Painted sets out its stall. If you didn’t already know, Narrows are a furious proposition. Former Botch frontman Dave Verellen is a vocal titan from first to last while guitarists Ryan Frederiksen and Jodie Cox have achieved a jarring guitar tone between them that bleeds pure anguish. This is not easy listening.

Absolute Betrayer is a tumultuous beast that bounces along, comprising the least threatening number here – but that is not to belittle the menacing tones that underlie every note; it’s just that there is almost a surplus of traditional, unfettered melody on it, compared to the rest of the album. "It’s the Water" simply stomps on mercilessly, which makes the change in melodic clout come Face Paint and the cathartic howls of Final Mass all the more emphatic.

The stark, choppy rumbling that opens Greenland gives way to a gently strummed guitar – it’s something resembling respite, but it doesn’t last. Those dissonant, chimed guitars appear again; they’re the sound of pure, slowed-down fury. After a seemingly never-ending moment of restraint, every imaginable shard of anger is flying through the air in musical slow motion. The number of movements that pass throughout the eight minutes of this song (almost a third of the album) is as astonishing as it is exhausting.

It’s not easy making an album when band members live in different countries but while Cox recorded his guitar parts in London there is an all-encompassing feeling of cohesion about this truly rewarding album. There is no doubt in this mind that Narrows have created one of the hardcore albums of 2012. There is a strange kind of beauty in unbridled monstrosity, and Painted is a stunning behemoth of an album.

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