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Rating:
8.3
Narrow House - A Key To Panngrieb
20 August 2012


01. The Last Refuge
02. Pseudosalvation
03. Glass God
04. Behind The Mask This


Don't spend too much time pondering the band's name, "WTF does a Narrow House have to do with metal?" Don't lump them as some 80's alternative rock band like the similarly named A House or Crowded House, nor think of that catchy "Our House" ditty by Madness.

Perish the thought.

And just perish in general.

"Narrow House" is a slang term for a coffin and that should give you a much better idea of what their music is about. Nothing cheery. Nothing happy. Nothing particularly hummable. A Key To Panngrieb is like a gathering storm, a slowly coalescing bleakness that continues to build in intensity until it culminates in a horrific sonic onslaught that batters the listener to their very core.

It is a crushing doom platter paired with a side of black and a nice ambient sauce drizzled over the top.

It starts off quietly enough with ambient soundscapes like troubling clouds on the distant horizon, but don't reach for that volume knob. Don't be fooled. When it hits, it crashes like a slow motion deluge. It gets much louder surprisingly fast.

The sonic assault also eases the listener in, however. Initially "The Last Refuge" reminded me of the softened harsh beauty of Shape Of Despair, slow moving doom cloaked in synths (and cello). As the album progresses, the fury continues to build. At certain times I was reminded of the psychedelia of Esoteric. Midway through the closing track, "Behind The Mask This", the band drew a comparison to Faal's latest album closer when it suddenly kicked into a full throttle stormburstů

A Key To Panngrieb is really well crafted, from song arrangements to sound. Narrow House almost effortlessly succeed in conveying the wide ranges of doom, from fragile beauty to crushing loss to abject horror.

So while the band name might sound odd if not familiar with the slang meaning, and the cover is not prototypical doom, I've namedropped two titans of doom metal as well as my current favorite release of the year (The Clouds Are Burning) as points of sonic reference. I did not do this lightly. This album was the wildcard in my latest "From Russia With Love Doom" pack from Solitude Productions, and piqued my interest to hop to the front of the review queue.

If you enjoy the more extreme side of doom, it is definitely worth checking out the first and worst from this Ukrainian Insurgent (Doom) Army.

Conveniently the band crafted a video for the opening track, "The Last Refuge", which you can find here.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9


Band profile: Narrow House
Album: A Key To Panngrieb


 



Written on 19.09.2012 by
BitterCOld
BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.
More reviews by BitterCOld ››



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Alex Fenger - 19.09.2012 at 01:56  
You've intrigued me, i shall look into this
Marcel Hubregtse - 19.09.2012 at 01:59  
Written by Alex Fenger on 19.09.2012 at 01:56

You've intrigued me, i shall look into this



I also have this album for reviewing purposes for a couple of weeks now and I wholeheartedly agree with the bitter old man's review.
Nefarious - 19.09.2012 at 07:43  
The three bands you draw comparison from are Shape of Despair, Esoteric & Faal?! Sold! Will check this out ASAP.
Merchant of Doom - 19.09.2012 at 11:28  
There are also tinges of Abstract Spirit, IMO... BTW, just to be pedantic and according to one of the band's members, 'Narrow House' is not slang for 'coffin'. In fact, apparently in Russian it means 'last retreat' (or refuge), hence 'a coffin'. As the band member said, it's a 'bookish' translation. I think he meant it's not literal (a metaphor)... last retreat = coffin = narrow house... lol

Very good album indeed and very mature for a début... and a good review too!
Draugen - 19.09.2012 at 15:09  
The namedropping couldn't have intrigued me much more than it did. I will without question give the album a go at some point.
Dane Train - 19.09.2012 at 21:14  
Killer review. I am now going to try an find this album!
Abattoir - 19.09.2012 at 21:55  
Well, I'm all in for this.
BitterCOld - 19.09.2012 at 23:04  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 19.09.2012 at 11:28

There are also tinges of Abstract Spirit, IMO... BTW, just to be pedantic and according to one of the band's members, 'Narrow House' is not slang for 'coffin'. In fact, apparently in Russian it means 'last retreat' (or refuge), hence 'a coffin'. As the band member said, it's a 'bookish' translation. I think he meant it's not literal (a metaphor)... last retreat = coffin = narrow house... lol

Very good album indeed and very mature for a début... and a good review too!


not to be pedantic, but in regards to the name, from the email i exchanged with the band inquiring about their moniker before writing the review:

"Narrow House" means "a coffin". People don't make them wide, you know. Thanks for the interest!

so who knows, they're having a laugh at us...

regardless of meaning, the music is awesome.
Daniell - 19.09.2012 at 23:15  
Merchant of Doom, you've been owned. Again.
Marcel Hubregtse - 19.09.2012 at 23:58  
Written by Daniell on 19.09.2012 at 23:15

Merchant of Doom, you've been owned. Again.


Yeah it is getting boring the amount of times he gets owned/corrected
Merchant of Doom - 20.09.2012 at 00:55  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 19.09.2012 at 23:58

Written by Daniell on 19.09.2012 at 23:15

Merchant of Doom, you've been owned. Again.


Yeah it is getting boring the amount of times he gets owned/corrected



Nah, 'Bewitched''s been economical with the truth with him... B'cold should know, since he's been posting in the same thread... maybe he couldn't be bothered to read the 6 pages...
Boxcar Willy - 20.09.2012 at 05:09  
Kinda sounds like an Esoteric B-side, from the YT track.

Nice review!
Bewitched - 20.09.2012 at 11:49  
Thanks for all nice words, and sorry for all the mess with the band's name, my bad . And thanks for the vivid review!
Daniell - 20.09.2012 at 23:14  
The footage in this video is taken from a brilliant Ingmar Bergman film, Det Sjunde Inseglet. The opening scene shows a knight sitting down to a game of chess with death. One of my favourite movies.
Marcel Hubregtse - 23.09.2012 at 15:40  
Bugger bugger bugger, we've all been asleep hahahahaha


SOng number 4 is a cover of Esoteric's Beneath This Face
Apothecary - 23.09.2012 at 18:25  
"It is a crushing doom platter paired with a side of black and a nice ambient sauce drizzled over the top."

Consider me sold
Blackhand - 24.09.2012 at 05:20  
Definitely will get this one.
YegorOstapenko - 06.11.2012 at 14:21  
There's an interview with the band that can be found here: http://www.mortemzine.net/show.php?id=3386&il=4

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