Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review:Vices/Narratives-Split



Narratives is a band from Charlotte, NC, that plays crusty, dark hardcore in the vein of Young And In The Way, Cursed, and (at moments) Converge. Vices plays kick ass blues-influenced hardcore punk, similar to the musical aspects of Sabertooth Zombie (but less skate punk) and Kids Like Us (but less unnecessary heaviness). Both of these bands are killer, so I’m just going to let the music speak for itself.

Track-by-track. One time 4 ya mind:

“Chained” – The first thing that struck me about this track is how much I dig the guitar, which is very similar to Modern Life Is War’s “Marshalltown” in the sense of its folky nature, and the juxtaposition of the harsh vocals against the clean guitar. The vocals on this track almost remind me of the band Ambitions (that was on Bridge 9 records for 8 months, I think), with the gargle in the melody, a tactic that takes the track from a blues song, back to its roots in hardcore punk. However, during the bridge, there is the most absolutely kick ass solo I've heard in a hardcore song in years. It reminds me of a NC band called Mean Streets that was around for a little over a year, back in the day. Blues, hardcore—in short, this track is 3:07 of pure, passive aggression in the most beautiful, sadistic way. 

“Incensed” – Wow. This track comes for a completely different end of the spectrum than “Chained,” and reminds me of the Jacksonville sound that exists so well in another great band—Kids Like Us—in the best sense, with the blues solo and the raw, southern passion for the art of the song. The vocals are completely schizophrenic, at times softer and crooning in an off-key yell, and at others, harsh, brash, and cutting. This could be a single on the mixtape for the south's rising again. 

“Alone In The World” – This is the first track from Narratives on the split, and one of my favorites. What Narratives, hailing from my hometown of Charlotte, NC, have done to hardcore and metal music is similar to what their contemporaries in YAITW have been doing, which is obviously working. This song starts with a slow, callused riff and menacing drums before bringing in the vocals--a gravelly, hoarse scream. This song is only 1:11. Yes, one minute and eleven seconds. This song kicks so much ass that they only had to make it a minute long.

“Alone At The Gates” – First of all, the concept of “Alone in the world, alone at the gates” is a haunting image, and an image that will not be soon forgotten, especially in, as Flannery O’Connor called it, “the Christ-haunted South.” Secondly, this song rips. This is all the terror and speed of crust punk, and all the agony and self-loathing of dark metal, combined with a visceral new outlook on both the hardcore scene as an entity. These two tracks provided on the split loop into one another, presenting a hectic, apocalyptic view of life, death, hope and hell in less than four minutes.

If you’re reading this, buy this split. Head bang till your neck bleeds.