NARROW HOUSE | A KEY TO PANNGRIEB

NARROW HOUSE | A KEY TO PANNGRIEB

ATMOSPHERIC/ FUNERAL DOOM METAL | KYIV/ UKRAINE

RELEASED VIA SOLITUDE PRODUCTIONS ON 20.08.2012

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Funeral Doom is a weird one.  On paper it’s one of the most conservatively defined Metal sub-genres, essentially a very specific form of Death-Doom, but in reality many of the bands who play it have managed to define their own recognisable sound within those very narrow boundaries.  Esoteric’s psychedelic horror is clearly distinguishable from Tyranny’s slow-motion epic bombast or genre-godfathers Skepticism’s suicidal nightmares, even though all three bands use pretty much the same musical elements.

Russian newcomers Narrow House are still defining their own style, but on the basis of this debut they’re well on their way to doing so.  The first thing you notice about A Key To Panngrieb is how lush and professional it sounds – big strings, clear, unmuddied production and perfectly crisp drums give the music a depth and space that you don’t often hear in underground Metal.  It sounds MASSIVE, and that sound really supports the feel that Narrow House are going for, which is one of utter melancholy and despair.

The final track on the album is a Russian-language reinterpretation of Estoric’s Beneath This Face, which is interesting and well-played, but also quite different to the three original songs which constitute the rest of the album’s running time.  In contrast to Esoteric’s busier, more twisting song-structure, Narrow House’s own material is spacious, languid and oddly withdrawn.  There’s an ethereal, almost passive quality here that reminds me of Blut Aus Nord’s controversial MoRT (though the music is not at all similar) – it seems devoid of the aggression and overstatement that’s typical of Metal, even the slower genres.  This is music that isn’t going to make it easy for you or meet you half-way – you need to come to it, and if you’re not prepared to do so A Key To Panngrieb could be an extremely frustrating experience.  For those with the patience, though, these three songs open up slowly, revealing a genuine depth of emotion.

A Key To Panngrieb, then is an extremely promising start from a band who haven’t quite developed their own recognisable sound within a restrictive sub-genre yet, but are a lot closer to it than you might reasonably expect.  Certainly a name to keep an eye on for anyone with an appreciation for Funeral Doom . [7/10 – RICHARD THE INFERNAL OVERLORD]