Rock musicians, like most professional athletes, peak early in their careers. Extreme music is equally unforgiving to old-timers. Tours coupling brash youngsters with metal oldheads often result in cruel wake-up calls for the elderly.
The members of Narrows cut their teeth in such bands as Botch, Unbroken, Some Girls, and These Arms Are Snakes. Given their storied pedigree, some will question their raison d’être. After all, the musical landscape rumbles with reuniting dinosaurs. Considering that Narrows’ personnel inhabit separate continents and have no intention of touring, they hardly seem the hardcore facsimile of Chickenfoot.
I’d wager that Narrows exists due to a passion to make music. Such zeal sizzles within New Distances‘ (Deathwish, Inc., 2009) nine tracks. While it might have been easier (and more profitable) to recycle their former bands, Narrows devise something different. They blend the buzzsaw guitars and swinging rhythms of Fugazi or Drive Like Jehu with metallic crunch. Dave Verellen’s bark (critical to Botch’s identity) adds brute hardcore force. Guitarists Jodie Cox and Ryan Frederiksen deftly weave power chord chugs with squeals soaked in effects. It’s revelatory to hear the innovative arpeggios in “A Restoration Effort,” where the band marries Hoover with Neurosis. Narrows are unlikely to have the seismic impact of their former bands. Yet their debut trumps most albums made by the youth of today, who build careers upon what these guys created.