19 May 2016

Narrow House: "A Key to Panngrieb"

Gloomy moods with a graveyard backdrop
Funeral pyres burn in the wake of Narrow House's A Key to Panngrieb album. The band hails from Ukraine, from where they launch their crusade of bleak doom metal, prensenting the world to their eldritch sounds first in 2012. Like the strange creaking and moaning of that long-abandoned house succumbing to decrepitude up on the hill outside town, the four tracks on A Key to Panngrieb seems almost like a natural force.

Suffering, desolation, abandonment and lonesomeness. These are the keywords in describing Narrow House's eschatonic metal sound. The album slowly lurches to life and lethargically rocks back and forth, going through several phases of eerie strongpoints before finally coming to rest again. Alexander's cello serves to add a paranoid softness to contrast with the heavier guitar distortions from Merethir, and also adds an ounce of filmic vibes. The group's ponderous progressions leads to thoughts of some forgotten black and white silent film of the early days of cinema, like a horrid soundtrack.

"There is great depth among their many layers,"

Though Ukrainian isn't my strong suite, their funeralesque music speaks its own easily understandable language. Its mouth is guitars, drums and bass, its words are death and darkness. Though largely uneventful, Narrow House succesfully build tension and anxiety, conveyed with convincing effort. There is great depth among their many layers, each element adding its own portion to the overall sound of the band. The production job in particular is every bit as clear as you could wish for, but still has a few niches in which the musicians can hide their suggestive themes. 

Unlike many other bands, the funerary processions of distorted guitars in Narrow House aren't the main focus of their sound. Instead they drone along with the bass to create a black backdrop of sound to which the vibrant cello-work can build its storytelling. If you are looking for hooks and riffs, A Key to Panngrieb isn't for you. But if lofty and tight atmospheres tickle your fancy, it definitely is.


Released in 2012 by Solitude Productions


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