Album #230: Narrow Head – 12th House Rock

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Houston, Texas, USA
  • Label: Holy Road
  • Best Track: Night Tryst

Bank holiday always send my plans to pot, but Friday saw the release of the second album from alternative metal group Narrow Heads. I’m getting round to giving it a proper listen today.

I’ve heard bits of this band before, and my instant reaction on hearing 12th House Rock is that they sound a lot like Deftones – particularly their 2003 selt-titled album where tracks like ‘Minerva’ meshed their heavy, sludgy guitars with the sort of wall of sound more associated with shoegaze. In fact, if anything, Narrow Head seem to take the gazy elements a step further than Deftones ever have, incorporating some of the dreamy, melodic tones of bands like Ride.

It’s quite agreeable on first listen, but on repeating hearings, I’m starting to find it doesn’t really grow on me, and is even veers towards the uninteresting. The good tracks are very good, like the brooding ‘Delano Door’ and the aggressive, fast-paced ‘Night Tryst’.

Those two tracks offer welcome breaks from what is otherwise a pretty samey 51 minutes. I was surprised to see the running length of this album, and sadly I feel my fears that they may be overdoing it are confirmed.

Vocally, it’s definitely a bit sleepy, which makes me realise how much Chino Moreno brings to Deftones with his energy and distinctive, sometimes off-key drone. The eight-and-a-half-minute closing track ‘Evangeline Dream’ is kind of a microcosm of the album for me – laboured, stretched and some way longer than it needed to be.

I’m probably being harsh. People more into this scene seem to be loving this record, but I’m a bit more peripheral to it. Their are some fine moments and I commend their ambition, but I don’t think there’s quite enough inspiration or originality to justify the length and grandeur of this album.

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