2012
08.20

Format: CD
Release Date: 20.08.2012
Country: Ukraine
Genre: Atmospheric Funeral Doom

Buy CD

Debut album by a young Ukrainian band Narrow House who was featured at a number of gigs and festivals. «A Key To Panngrieb» album is a 45-minutes-long journey to your subconsciousness accompanied by funeral guitars, atmospheric keyboards and live cello. Another approach to funeral doom metal, another key to eternal secrets of life and death.

Tracklist:
1. Последнее Пристанище
2. Псевдорятунок
3. Стеклянный Бог
4. Под Маской Этой

41 comments so far

Add Your Comment
  1. Review
    Miasma
    6/10
    15.12.2012

    Narrow House tervehtii meitä Ukrainasta tunnelmallisella latauksella doom metalia. Yhtye on ilmeisesti rakennettu aiemman Funestum yhtyeen päälle ja alkuaikoina Narrow Housen musiikkityylinä on ollut ambient funeral doom. Aiempi ambient-historia onkin kuultavissa musiikista hyvin, sillä taustalla tuntuu kokoajan olevan jos jonkinlaista ääntä ja koskettimilla tuotettua melodiantynkää.

    Kappaleet ovat melko hidasta laahausta ja tavallaan ihan pätevää sellaista. Yllämainitut koskettimet tuovat hyvän ulottuvuuden lisää musiikkiin, mutta samalla koko ajan taustalla kummittelee vaikutelma, että kappaleet ovat vain alkusoittoa ja kohta lähdetään vauhtiin. Vaikka yhtye ammentaa musiikkinsa tuolta funeral doomin saralta, olisin silti kaivannut välillä pientä tempon nostamista ihan jo vaihtelun vuoksi. Tällaista kyllä viimeisessä kappaleessa jo muutamaan otteeseen hieman yritetään, mutta ne jäävät niin lyhyiksi kokeiluiksi, vaikka niiden varaan olisi voinut rakentaa paljon enemmänkin. Siis mussutukseni summa summarum: tämän levyn kohdalla alkoi laahaus vaan lopulta jo hieman liikaa kyllästyttää.

    En nyt menisi sanomaan, että levy on huono, mutta kappaleissa ei ole lopulta kovin paljon vaihtelua, mitä jäin kovasti kaipaamaan. Pieni vaihtelu rakenteissa olisi voinut piristää kappaleita niin paljon. Yhtyeen musiikin ehdottomasti mieleenpainuvin piirre on taustalla tunnelmoivat koskettimet ja niitä onkin käytetty oikein hyvin. Nyt vain valitettavasti tuntuu siltä, että muiden soittimien suoritukset jäävät monotonisuudessaan hyvin pahasti koskettimien jalkoihin.

    Author: Aleksi Vaittinen

  2. Review
    Metallized
    6.5\10

    Il fiuto della Solitude Prod. è sempre più fine e raffinato, ed estende il suo raggio d’azione fino alla vicina Ucraina, paese in cui scova questo quintetto ancora in erba e lo scrittura immediatamente.
    I Narrow House ci propongono un funeral doom molto atmosferico – sulla scia di band come Colosseum e Longing for Dawn – ma con maggiori influenze di scuola EA, per un risultato abbastanza buono e appetibile. Inutile dire che, oggigiorno, vale l’equazione per cui il funeral doom sta alla Russia come il black metal alla Norvegia, e si palesa in me una convinzione che una decina di anni fa sarebbe stata semplicemente un paradosso: il funeral doom è di moda!
    Questa lapidaria affermazione potrà suonare come una provocazione alle orecchie di qualcuno, ma per chi segue con costanza la scena funeral – e in particolare le uscite della Solitude Prod. – è impossibile non notare come ci sia una certa tendenza a produrre band che cavalcano i cliché più appetibili del genere in modo sistematico; è dunque facile riscontrare un affollamento di band che – partendo da una base atmosferica – si spingono su tempi funeral, quasi sempre contraddistinte da inserti in clean vocals e da qualche parte di chitarra arpeggiata.

    Queste considerazioni potrebbero indurre a pensare che la Solitude Prod. sia diventata una sorta di fotocopiatrice impazzita che sforna album tutti uguali, mentre invece non è assolutamente questo il punto. Piuttosto, è evidente come, se da un lato le si deve riconoscere il merito di aver sdoganato uno stile che era quanto di più elitario possibile, le sia imputabile di aver contribuito a inflazionare il genere, con la conseguente massificazione del funeral doom e un appiattimento stilistico a tratti preoccupante.
    La prima conseguenza diretta delle considerazioni appena fatte è facilmente riscontrabile a caldo, dovendo giudicare il debutto di questi Narrow House : se quest’album fosse uscito in altri tempi forse sarei sobbalzato sulla sedia, perché è ottima la produzione, i tempi ultra slow e i tappeti tastieristici molto atmosferici; in poche parole, un must per gli amanti del genere. Purtroppo i tempi sono cambiati, e non basta più suonare lentamente per risultare interessanti, non basta aggiungere un synth per definirsi atmosferici e – in generale – ormai bisogna fare i conti con la concorrenza che è sempre più agguerrita.

    Fortunatamente i nostri hanno le carte in regola per fare un debutto in società con una certa soddisfazione: i brani di questo A key to Panngrieb sono tutti abbastanza piacevoli e, pur non aggiungendo nulla di personale al genere, si lasciano ascoltare con una certa fluidità. Non mancano i momenti interessanti, specialmente quando la band rallenta su tempi funeral, dove le atmosfere si fanno più avvolgenti e ammalianti, lasciando affiorare anche una certa propensione per il gothic doom più oscuro – anzi, mi azzarderei quasi a dire che si tratta più di un gothic ultra lento più che di vero e proprio funeral doom -.
    Piccola nota di demerito è attribuibile alle vocals, le quali fanno spesso ricorso alla lingua madre che, notoriamente, non è certo tra le più morbide e adatte al canto, ancor meno per quel che riguarda le clean vocals. Lo stesso discorso è estendibile anche ai titoli delle varie track – tutte rigorosamente scritte in cirillico – che potranno far breccia nei paesi dell’est, ma difficilmente troveranno spazio al di fuori di questi confini.
    Ultima nota negativa, per questo seppur valido lavoro, è da attribuire a una presentazione grafica decisamente discutibile. Si tratta di un artwork, presumibilmente realizzato a mano, che raffigura degli occhi che scrutano dentro delle serrature, forse proprio intenti a osservare questo fantomatico Panngrieb, del quale non ci è dato sapere di più, dato che anche l’intero booklet è scritto in cirillico. Lo stile grafico, i caratteri utilizzati e in generale l’intero artwork trovo che siano molto distanti dal contenuto sonoro dell’opera, lasciando trasparire una certa inespressività e incomunicabilità tra immagini e musica.

    Le conclusioni non sono del tutto negative: la band ha confezionato – come dicevo sopra – un buon lavoro, che gode della capacità di non annoiare, nonostante la lunghezza media di brani che si assestano intorno ai 10 minuti. Si tratta solamente di tirar fuori un po’ di personalità e i frutti verranno sicuramente fuori; per il momento rimane un piacevole ascolto senza troppe pretese.

    Author: Gabriele Fagnani “Furio”

  3. Review
    Contaminated Tones
    10.12.2012

    When it comes to slow, doomy music very few bands outright sound like Skepticism but Narrow House is one band that is obviously influenced and enamored by that full-on wall of synthesized weight expelled at the speed of flowing mud which still manage to take a somewhat left-field inspiration and tweak it to be still unique. Though slightly more guitar driven than the past several Skepticism releases, A Key To Panngrieb is still a load of mass crawling through the murk towards an unsuspecting child. Ukraine’s Narrow House prove that no one is able to escape the influence which Funeral Doom, Drone and other Doom offshoots have had on the metal sound scape in the past decade. More and more bands are opting for this style and, consequently, more and more bands make it harder to stand out and impress.

    Opening track “Poslednee Pristanishe” is a looming figure over a helpless animal. Like the other four tracks on Narrow House’s debut, it is slow and persistent. There is no way you could jog to any of these tracks – unless you have incredibly long strides – even if the length of them would be perfect for a long period away from civilization. It’s in “Poldsednee…” which we are introduced to the patience of the band. The album opens with a long three minute introductory segment and then climbs through an undulating series of melodies. The rhythms remain very singular and simple across the whole album but that doesn’t prevent other tracks from not standing out or being tedious. “Psevdoratunok” contains some dynamic volume shifts coupled with prominent drumming and vocals over a slick flowing guitar that still is texturally frictional while in “Steklianniu Bog,” the third track, cello is prominent in summoning howling vistas and atmospherics and is accompanied with an excellent final four minutes of sound scape imagery and piano layers.

    One of the definitive aspects of the band that really intrigues me is the arrangement of the tracks. In many ways it is very traditional in it’s structure in terms of Funeral Doom and in other ways the band have tried some different things. The guitar playing of Oleg Merethir is mixed below Petro Arhe’s drums and Atya’s Keyboards. They itch often and you never forget they are there under what is really the music’s more prominent instruments. Vocals are most prominent, as is expected but the bass is also very audible and where you really encounter the twist is with cellist Alexander. With the addition of another low-register string instrument the arrangement of the other instruments becomes important. A bowed cello would be masked by loudly mixed guitars and is emphasized here because there is room between the instruments to place another component. When you hear the cello play many of the melodic parts of the music such as in “Steklianniy Bog,” there is a ghostly hum emanating from beneath the common instruments. It’s a different look and they score here because of it. In many places I am listening solely to hear what the cello is doing or will do.

    Narrow House do a great job at building up to great moments in the compositions and the thirteen minute long Steklianniy Bog is, once again, a highlight in this regard where nine minutes after the initial dirge chimes, bellowing and windy scenes are coaxed from layers of keyboards and cello to, at least for me, send shivers down the spine. This strong standard of songwriting is also evidenced in second track, “Psevdoriatunok,” with it’s sense of vacancy in comparison to the rest of the album. It clears a hurdle that most albums never do in this style – remaining interesting past the first track. While the cello certainly helps, the six minute track breaks up an album which has already been running for over fourteen minutes and allows the listener to ‘reboot’ for the following two tracks.

    The final track is a cover of Esoteric’s “Beneath This Face,” which is well done but at the same time emphasizes the deficiencies of what Narrow House have done on other parts of the album such as the lack of faster parts and more typical riff based moments to create intensity. Even so, they do a great job with this track and without knowing that this was a cover, the song ends the album on a massive high note. It being a cover though is a bit of a let-down though as I would much rather have heard another of their own original songs round out the final parts of the album. To end the album with a cover like this seems like it’s a cop out. They picked an awesome track to end the release but it wasn’t their own track.

    Author: ORION M.

  4. Review
    The Pit of the Damned
    7/10
    05.12.2012

    “Una chiave per Panngrieb”. Un occhio, una serratura e delle mine sono inserite, in uno stile surreale in una gamma di colorazione opaca e infelice. Si scaglia subito contro gli organi visivi, il curioso artwork in stile krautrock, utilizzato per presentare questo debut album dei Narrow House, band ucraina proveniente da Kiev. Quattro tracce di puro funeral doom, ci cullano dolcemente per tre quarti d’ora facendoci riprendere speranza nella immensa ma stagnante situazione del doom estremo dell’est Europa. La prima cosa che mi fa alterare immediatamente è però la completa impostazione del booklet in cirillico, come faccio a leggermi i testi e tutte le altre cose inutili, se non riesco neppure a decodificare la scrittura? Io voglio bene alla Solitude Production ma non può giocarmi questi scherzi. Il fatto è che non ho ancora capito cosa sia codesta Panngrieb, non so voi ma io la notte non dormo. Oltre a ciò, un’altra cosa che non mi sta proprio a genio è la cover degli Esoteric nel finale; apprezzo l’aria di gioventù del gruppo che vuole rinnovare l’ambiente con una cover, ma nel funeral doom non ho un buon occhio per questa cosa, soprattutto se occupa quasi un terzo dell’opera. Biricchini questi “Casa Stretta”, perché non disdegno tanto la cover ma identifico ciò, come voglia di non creare una traccia propria e quindi di disimpegno. Ad ogni modo, ascolto dopo ascolto sono sempre più soddisfatto di questo full length perché denota un notevole sviluppo dal genere classico, un po’ come stanno facendo gli Ea, e difatti alcuni studiosi del generi stanno identificando (ed etichettando) questi nuovi lavori come atmospheric funeral doom. Il suono è calibrato in modo da risultare ampio per far respirare completamente ogni momento dell’opera, con i volumi non eccessivi per permettere di godere della dinamica nei vari cambiamenti d’atmosfera. I Narrow House potrebbero essere dei validi capofila di un nuovo movimento doom.

    Author: Kent

  5. Review
    Aristocrazia Webzine
    02.12.2012

    Nuove band doom nascono ogni giorno e la Solitude Productions sembra essere sempre pronta a dar loro spazio, il roster dei russi è in piena e continua espansione, fra le ultime scoperte possiamo citare anche gli ucraini Narrow House.
    Lo stile in cui si cimentano i quattro ragazzi di Kiev è il funeral, la rappresentazione è però meno oppressiva e claustrofobica di quella originaria di formazioni come i Thergothon, si avvicina per lo più alla corrente atmosferico/malinconica degli Shape Of Despair, attinge in parte da act quali Evoken e pur avendo a che fare con un quartetto di tracce, tre delle quali dalla durata particolarmente estesa coerentemente adeguate allo sviluppo delle cadenze grevi e ampie delle quali si nutrono, contrariamente a quanto ci si attende in “A Key To Panngrieb” si riscontra una flebile presenza di luce, una speranza che seppur fioca e quasi al collasso, continua a resistere emanando un calore che contrasta con la natura impervia e oscura che classicamente regna in tali lavori.
    Le composizioni sono strutturate in maniera elementare, la semplicità alle volte è disarmante, i cicli si ripetono e ripetono facendo spazio a melodie che le attraversano, sia le chitarre che le incursioni a tappeto dei synth alimentano la lenta e costante avanzata, di tanto in tanto s’intrufola un violoncello a infoltire l’ambiente di grigiore, la voce frequentemente ringhiante e tendente a un growl strisciante nei momenti più intensi si risolleva diventando quasi gracchiante, tristezza e disperazione vengono diffuse dalle note che imperterrite proseguono un tragitto che costante si ripete.
    I quarantacinque minuti di “A Key To Panngrieb” sono un monoblocco che avanza, impercettibilmente come fosse trattenuto da un’ancora che lo costringe a sforzi disumani, non c’è l’abisso ad attenderlo, sembra più la ricerca d’afferrare un qualcosa che non si arriva neanche a sfiorare a rendere cupa e mesta l’atmosfera e sia la produzione, da un buon sfogo alla strumentazione in toto, che la parte grafica, con una cover alquanto surreale, si pongono a favore della costruzione di tale tipologia di scenario, quale sarà il significato di quell’occhio con una serratura annessa?
    Le stagioni più consone per affrontare l’ascolto di album simili sono ormai giunte anche se son sicuro che gli amanti del genere non avranno rinunciato a percorrere queste lande neanche durante la calda estate che ha segnato ancora una volta la nostra Penisola, a loro in primis consiglio l’ascolto dei Narrow House, gli ucraini ne hanno ancora di strada da fare ma come primo lavoro non c’è male.

    Author: Mourning

  6. Review
    Heavy Music
    6/10
    28.11.2012

    Музыка этой отечественной команды представляет собой фьюнерал дум, оранжировки которого включают в себя, помимо набора стандартных инструментов, ещё и скрипку, что довольно необычно для данного жанра. Вместе с её трагичным звучание клавиши помогают создать нужную атмосферу, сопровождая треки не менее мрачными,угрюмыми пассажами.

    Однако, не смотря на всё выше описанное, музыка группы оставляет ощущение некой пустоты, недосказанности, не завершённости. Ей не хватает мощи и плотности, как это иной раз бывает у подобных групп. Вокал также звучит суховато и пресно, он задвинут на задний план, что с одной стороны не мешает воспринимать музыку цельно (при прослушивании которой он вполне хорошо её дополняет), но в целом звучит как отдельный, несколько не вписывающийся в рамки инструмент.

    Подводя итог: вполне неплохо для дебюта команды из СНГ. Стоит послушать хотя бы для ознкомления

    Author: Grimmsberg

  7. Review
    Zwaremetalen
    8.1/10
    16.11.2012

    Vreselijk artwork, maar ja, daar mag je je niet door laten beïnvloeden. Toch doe je dat, maar al snel raakt de wereld om je heen zo kleurloos dat je mooi en lelijk al niet meer van elkaar kunt onderscheiden. Het gebeurt allemaal wanneer je A Key to Panngrieb in de gulzige gleuf van je cd-speler slingert. Funeral doom.

    Deze Oekraïners trekken direct serieus van leer op hun debuutplaat via Solitude Productions. Met een gemiddelde speelduur van zo’n twaalf minuten per track krijg je tergend trage funeral doom in je maag gesplitst die logischerwijs klinkt alsof de tijd stilstaat. Het leven is magistraal ruk en Narrow House bevestigt dat op muzikale en sfeervolle wijze. Vocalen die in de muziek zijn gezet zoals dat ook is gebeurd tijdens de gloriedagen van Paradise Lost (ook de riffs doen hier soms aan denken) zijn voorzien van een rillende galm. Daar waar de band “versnelt” doet men dat meestal om vervolgens terug te vallen in een tragere compositie als enkele ogenblikken daarvoor. Geen nieuws voor de liefhebber van het genre en daardoor wellicht ook niet essentieel. Desondanks wél geschikt luistervoer en voor diezelfde liefhebber ook zeker geen straf om dit in te nemen. Kritiek? Mwoah, met keys die wat meer lading hadden gehad, was A Key to Panngrieb waarschijnlijk nog een tikkeltje indrukwekkender geweest. Verder een heerlijke plaat om de nevelige najaarsdagen mee door te komen, zeker voor een debuut.

    Author: Martijn van den Beukel

  8. Review
    Destructive Music
    7/10

    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.

    Author: RICHARD THE INFERNAL OVERLORD

  9. Review
    Funeral Wedding
    5/5

    Debut álbum dessa banda ucraniana de funeral doom metal, ou como eles se intitulam Apocalyptic Doom Metal.

    Com guitarras funestas, teclados atmosféricos, bateria ultra-lenta, esse álbum inicia sua viagem com Poslednee Pristaniwe. Ao decorrer de seus 14 minutos podemos vivenciar inúmeras sensações e quando entra a linha de cello é que a coisa fica “pior”. Todo sentimento de angústia e rejeição nos vem a mente e aquela sensação de vazio impera em nosso corpo cansado.

    Seguindo por essa mesma linha Psevdorjatunok continua dando o clima funesto ao álbum.

    Assim como todas as faixas do álbum, são cantados em ucranianos e por muitas vezes os grunhidos de Yegor Bewitched se fazem ininteligíveis (para nós), mas aliada as melodias tristes e o andamento lento, conseguimos compreender a mensagem que tenta nos transmitir através dela.

    Stekljannyj Bog é a faixa mais curta mas também muito bela e apesar de seus 6 minutos, a lentidão é tanta que parece que ela é tão extensa quanto as outras do álbum. Detalhe para a faixa fica por volta dos 2:40, com uma atmosfera criada pelo cello e bateria aliados aos vocais falados de Yegor dão um clima sinistro para ela.

    Para encerrar Pod Maskoj Jetoj, seguindo na atmosfera das outras faixas, mas com uma pequena mudança de andamento, onde podemos presenciar um esboço de “blast beat”. Passado o momento de fúria voltamos à calmaria para seguir assim até o final onde morremos em paz.

    Recomendado para fãs de funeral doom, principalmente para fãs das bandas como: Comatose Vigil, Ea, Abstract Spirit.

  10. Review
    Metal.tm
    5/10

    Solitude Productions – Die Produkte aus der Einsamkeit oder die Produkte der Einsamkeit. Wie könnte ein Label, was vornehmlich zähe, introvertierte und düstere Musik vertreibt, besser heißen. Seit nun mehr sieben Jahren veröffentlicht der russische Vertrieb in schöner Regelmäßigkeit vor allem doomige Platten, mal mit Black Metal-Einflüssen, mal mit ausladenden Ambient-Collagen. Vor allem sind diese Alben häufig eins: Niederschmetternd und mit ihrem gesetzten Tempo sicherlich nicht jedermanns Sache.

    Perfekt in diese Nische passen NARROW HOUSE, ein relativ unbekannte, 2009 gegründete, ukrainische Band, die dieser Tage mit “A key to Pangrieb” ihr Debut-Album vorlegt. Darauf enthalten sind vier Songs mit einer Gesamtspielzeit von 45 Minuten in bester Funeral-Doom-Manier. Stets im untersten Bereich – was tempotechnisch möglich wäre – walzen sich die drei Jungs und die Dame mit einer apokalyptischen Ruhe durch ihr Debut. Musikalische Ausbrüche findet man keine, stattdessen soll ein ausladender Keyboard-Teppich, gelegentliche Saxophon-Parts und minimalste Varianten im Riffing für Abwechslung im Songwriting sorgen. Dazu gibt es fast über die gesamte Spielzeit ausdauernde, vor sich hin grollende Vocals, die fast wie ein eigenständiges Instrument eingesetzt werden.

    Ob das funktioniert? Nun, gewissermaßen schon, gewissermaßen nicht. Stimmungstechnisch liefern NARROW HOUSE ganz großes, tiefschwarzes Kino. Die intelligent gespielten Keyboard-Parts sorgen für eine immense atmosphärische Dichte und lassen den Hörer ganz tief in einem Sog aus dunklen Gefühlen versinken. Die Saxophon-Parts und gelegentlich fein eingestreute Melodiebögen tun ihr Übriges. Sogar die extrem monotonen Vocals fallen in diesem Kontext nicht negativ auf, sondern fügen sich harmonisch in ein Klangbild ein, wie es spartanischer und einseitiger nicht sein könnte.
    Und da liegt das große Problem. Obwohl ich mich beim Hören dieser CD gut unterhalten fühle – vor allem, wenn ich nebenbei etwas anderes mache – geben NARROW HOUSE mir keinerlei Motivation, die Repeat-Taste zu betätigen. Von den vier Songs (von denen der letzte übrigens ein ESOTERIC-Cover ist, was mir gar nicht aufgefallen wäre) bleibt nichts und zwar wirklich nichts hängen. Kein genialer Moment, kein Lichtschimmer in der Dunkelheit – Nichts. Und das ist mir persönlich viel zu wenig.

    Author: Torben K.

  11. Review
    Infernal Masquerade Webzine
    8.3/10
    08.11.2012

    Being huge fans of Doom Metal, we sometimes dabble in the realms of Funeral Doom Metal, its ugly and boring cousin. While we are not huge fans of the genre due to its mind-numbing repetition and ridiculously slow execution, some bands like Shape of Despair and Thergothon are still ok in our book. Hence today we have Narrow House and their less boring approach to the genre with “A Key to Panngrieb”. By introducing lush atmospheric elements that range from keyboards to cellos, this band really grabs ahold of the listener and keeps it engaged for the duration of the huge songs in this album.

    Opening with the crushing “Poslednee Pristanishe”, things start very well with the perfect mixture of slow and painful riffs, commanding growls, and brilliant atmosphere. The simplicity of the music is really well shrouded behind a well-crafted atmosphere thanks to the keyboards. The band does a great job in navigating through such a long song with well-placed tempo changes. The same can be said about the considerably shorter track “Psevdoriatunok”, but with a nice combination of growls and ethereal clean vocals, very reminiscent of Draconian and such bands.

    The hypnotic “Steklianniy Bog” has to be our favorite track thanks to its very martial feeling and unique atmosphere. The pace of things is majestic allowing the song to free flow slowly and carrying all the emotions through it. Closing with the 11 minute scorcher “Pod Maskoy Etoy”, the band really brings this release full-circle with a powerful yet elegant track. However, there are a few speedups that we didn’t quite like since the sound very abrupt and chaotic, but other than this little detail the song is pretty solid.

    “A Key to Panngrieb” is definitely for fans of Funeral Doom Metal that need a bit more than just punishing riffs repeated over and over. With the atmospheric elements, Narrow House manages to be above the average bands in the genre and should actually be considered as one of promises of the genre. If the band puts a bit more effort in creating a bit more diverse songs, we foresee ourselves liking them quite a lot more in the future, and we are sure they will also attract more fans this way.

    Author: Dark Emperor

  12. Review
    Iye Zine
    7/10
    08.11.2012

    I Narrow House appartengono alla nutrita schiera di band dedite a sonorità funeral doom che, in questi ultimi anni, stanno emergendo dai territori dell’ex-Unione Sovietica.

    I nostri, nello specifico, arrivano dalla capitale dell’Ucraina, Kiev, e con “A Key To Panngrieb” pubblicano il loro esordio assoluto; in casi come questi non è infrequente imbattersi in lavori a dir poco minimali oppure suonati in maniera approssimativa e prodotti ancora peggio.
    Per fortuna tutto ciò non accade ai Narrow House, che propongono un buonissimo disco ricco di atmosfere tetre quanto eleganti, andandosi a collocare non troppo lontano dalle quanto già fatto dagli ex-connazionali Comatose Vigil e, quindi, mostrando tutta loro devozione verso gli Skepticism, autentici numi tutelari di questa variante atmosferica del funeral.
    Nell’esaminare l’album, si nota che i primi tre brani (i titoli in inglese sono frutto di una libera traduzione dal cirillico, quindi non è detto che siano corretti al 100%), nell’arco di mezz’ora abbondante di musica si mantengono abbondantemente all’interno dei binari tracciati da molte altre band, ma non per questo il lavoro del quartetto ucraino deve essere trascurato, tutt’altro: il suono mantiene costantemente un preciso disegno melodico grazie ad atmosfere struggenti sulle quali troneggia il growl maligno di Yegor.
    Un discorso a parte va fatto per il quarto e ultimo brano che, in effetti, mostrerebbe interessanti elementi di discontinuità rispetto al resto delle tracce, se non si trattasse della cover (ben camuffata inizialmente dal solito titolo in cirillico) di “Beneath This Face” degli Esoteric.
    Complessivamente “A Key To Panngrieb” si rivela un bel disco e, pur senza strafare, i Narrow House portano a casa un’ampia e meritata sufficienza; inoltre, considerando che il contenuto di questo lavoro è frutto di una gestazione durata circa due anni e che, nel frattempo, la band ucraina può e deve essere ulteriormente maturata, mi sento di scommettere qualche euro su un prossimo full-length in grado davvero di lasciare il segno.

    Author: Stefano Cavanna

  13. Review
    Pest Webzine
    8/10

    It seems Doom Metal is a real trend in Russia and Ukraine nowadays, otherwise I wouldn’t explain myself how come there are so many bands comming out from those lands. Narrow House seems to be a pretty young act, composed by young musicians, so I hope they are not in only for the sake of being part of the trend, I hope they will continue with this band, on the same path as now. “A Key to Panngrieb” is the band’s debut album composed of only 4 tracks, but the total playing time is more than 45 minutes. For a genre like Funeral Doom Metal that doesn’t give much space for variety and complexity in composition, Narrow House did a good job here by adding the very depressive, disturbing voilin parts. The keyboards play also a major part in their music, the vocals are as versatile as they can be but still keeping a growling tone most of the time, the drums and bass lines really capitalize their importance and the excellent production allows all this to happen. So all in all Narrow House released a very good debut album, one that will certainly attract the interest of Funeral Doom followers out there.

    Author: Adrian

  14. Review
    Pavillon 666
    8/10
    17.10.2012

    Venu tout droit d’Ukraine, se revendiquant de l’héritage d’Esoteric, Narrow House débarque avec son premier album « A Key to Panngrieb » et nous présente, par la même occasion son funeral doom.

    Une chose est sûre, Narrow House n’est pas là pour plaisanter. Dès l’introduction du premier titre, on est plongés dans une ambiance sombre et pesante ; des nappes de claviers par-ci, des samples de voix par-là et d’un coup la sentence tombe : un accord lourd accompagné d’un cri d’introduction respirant le désespoir et le mal-être ; l’album est lancé.
    Riffs lourds et hypnotiques, chant guttural, tempo très lent, tous les classiques du genre y passent. Le groupe n’a pas la prétention de révolutionner le funeral doom, certes, mais il a toutefois le mérite d’avoir de la créativité, de savoir poser une ambiance lugubre et surtout, de ne pas avoir à se cacher derrière un son baveux. En effet, l’atmosphère noire est due en partie aux claviers mais également au violoncelliste du groupe qui apporte une touche tranchante aux nappes de synthé. Ajouter à cela des rythmiques lentes et hypnotiques de la batterie sur lesquelles vont aller se caler des accords lourds de guitare : simple, classique mais efficace.
    Côté production, comme je le disais plus haut, on est très loin de la bouillie sonore que certains groupes, majeurs ou non, nous proposent. Le son est net, aucun instrument n’empiète sur l’autre et il y a juste ce qu’il faut en effets, ce qui nous permet d’apprécier encore plus les lignes instrumentales du groupe.
    A noter également la reprise, plus que réussie, du titre « Beneath This Face » du groupe Esoteric, dont on pourrait croire qu’il s’agit d’une composition de Narrow House tellement le groupe a réussi à se l’approprier et y poser sa touche perso.

    Loin d’être un groupe révolutionnaire du funeral doom, Narrow House est un groupe créatif et prometteur qui montre que la relève du genre est là, présente et prête à servir.
    Un album très réussi qui ravira les fans du genre et peut être une bonne approche pour ceux qui ne connaissent pas encore ce genre si particulier.

    Author: Lemniscate

  15. Review
    Metalive
    8+/10
    09.10.2012

    Недавно вот натыкался на сингл и рад скорому полноформату. Творчество соотечественников пришлось по душе и как раз вовремя, к наступившей осени. После сингла и прослушанного альбома мнение мое совершенно не изменилось. Ребята играют красивый и атмосферный похоронный дум, да к тому же еще и с лирикой на русском языке. В общем то особо добавить нечего, единственное только нарекание у меня вызвал кавер. Не очень удачный выбор, как по мне. Да и не совсем то получилось, как-то никак я бы сказал. Ну а в остальном все класс. Альбом входит в топ года полюбому и оценки 8+/10 вполне заслуживает.

    Author: SatanicPanzer

  16. Review
    Hell Music
    02.10.2012

    Šiais metais pradėjau sekti vienos įrašų studijos naujienas, kurios daugiausiai akcentuoja Rytų Europos doom metalo sceną. Na ir tarp daugelio naujienų vieną kartą krito į akį visai žavus NARROW HOUSE – ”A Key To Panngrieb” albumas. Tiesą pasakius viršelis, nes kol kas muzikos dar nemoku atskirti su regimuoju jutikliu.

    Taigi va ir dabar pagaliau ramiai, sėdėdamas namuose (už lango mielaširdingas lietutis bando apgaut kitus gyventojus kad iš tikro ‘lyja’) suku albumą. Depresuojančiai net ir linksiu į violančelės taktą, kuri mano sugadintoj vaizduotėj, bent jau šiuo metu, pateikia lėtą ir skausmingą kraujo, ar kito panašaus skysčio iš žmogaus, varvėjimą, kai aplink kažkas vyksta, sulėtintu veiksmu pramerki akis ir tas pats minėtas lietus vos ne vos pila kaip iš kibiro. Gal padauginau – muzikos neapibūdinsiu tinkama situacija, o ir pačias situacijas mes linkę kaskart įvardinti kitaip, tad palieku geriau klausytojui vertinti savo jausmus duotuoju momentu.

    Sugrįžkim prie detalių. Albumas sąlyginai trumpas – vos per 45 minutes. Ir tik keturios dainos jame. Kas pirmiausiai krenta į akis bevartant puslapius (metal-archives, namų puslapis, knygutės paveiksliukai), tai kontrastas tarp trumpų tekstų ir ilgų dainų. Toks jausmas kad sudainuos greit ir paskui temps gumą atsakančiai. Bet kiek va jau klausau, atrodo vis dainuoja ir dainuoja. Tie trumpi posmai ištempti po žodį ar du ir taip užpildo visas 10 (tarkim) minučių. Aš truputį pamelavau, sakydamas kad pirmiausia kas krito akin, bet apie albumo knygutės, viršelio stilistiką nejučia užsiminiau pirmoje pastraipoje.

    Dar vienas nesuderinamumas, kuris šiaip nieko blogo nesako, nebent kokiem užkietėjusiem tikslumų perfekcionistam, tai grupės stilius. Įvairiose vietose skirtingus priežodžius pasirenka prie doom metalo – Funeral/Atmospheric, tiesiog Atmospheric, biografijoj minima ”funeral doom metalas su ambient elementais”, na o namų puslapyje, netgi Apocalyptic doom metalas. Che, apokaliptinio dar nesu matęs. Gal pridėta todėl, kad tekstų tematika apibrėžta kaip vienatvė, savęs naikinimas, mirtis, apokalipsė.

    Na ir pabaigai, kartu su paskutine daina albume, smagiai belinksėdamas instrumentų sąskambyje, paminėsiu kiek apie grupę iš jų pateikto teksto: įsikūrė 2009-ais metais, Kijeve. Kaip patys teigia, NARROW HOUSE yra vienintelė tokio tipo grupė Ukrainoje. Koncertų metu, pasirodymai akomponuojami su specialiais paveiksliukais bei teminiais video montažais. Visi šie elementai ir atliekama muzika suteikia pasirodymui ypatingą amosferą, kuri tarsi bendrauja ar netgi daro įtaką esamai psichologinei auditorijos būsenai. “A Key To Panngrieb” grupės sudėtis:

    Author: parašė donatas

  17. Review
    Temple of Doom Metal
    12.2/20
    13.10.2012

    Das cinzas dos obscuros Funestum chegam à luz do dia estes Narrow House e o seu opus de estreia ‘A Key To Panngrieb’, com o carimbo da Solitude Productions. Quem tomou contacto com a primeira encarnação desta banda ucraniana, poderá ficar já com uma ideia do território onde estes novos temas se movimentam, embora aqui imbuídos de ambientes mais atmosféricos, bem na linha dos Comatose Vigil ou dos Abstract Spirit, por exemplo. E a páginas tantas, parece que estamos a ouvir essas bandas, dada a fórmula empregue – bem sabemos que é bastante complicado ser inovador e original neste estilo musical -, mas as comparações acabam por serem quase inevitáveis.
    Ao longo destes 45 minutos de degredo funéreo, a «escola russa», chamemos-lhe assim, apresenta-se em boa forma; quatro temas tocados de forma muito competente, bem estruturados, com um bom equilíbrio entre as teclas e as guitarras e uma voz bem gutural que, esparsamente, alterna com um tom límpido e a pender um pouco para o tortuoso.
    A tudo isto, é necessário acrescentar que, apesar deste registo ver somente agora a sua edição, todo ele foi gravado em 2010, com elementos que actualmente já não fazem parte da banda, o que nos fará antever alguma mudança sonora em próximos trabalhos.
    Sem ser um álbum transcendental, ‘A Key To Panngrieb’ acaba por ser de agradável audição, sem grande originalidade, mas bastante sólido; pontos que abonam em seu favor, embora esteja sempre presente a ideia que já ouvimos algo muito parecido anteriormente.

    Author: SÁBADO

  18. Review
    Forbidden Magazine
    12.10.2012

    Narrow House are one of those rare breeds that release an album that defies review. I’ve been actively listening to A Key to Pangrieb for weeks on end and STILL cannot reach a point of satisfaction with describing it adequately for the following reasons:

    It’s virtually flawless in structure, flow, composition, delivery, and production.
    Narrow House create such a gravitational force with their combination of suffocating heaviness, dreary phantom atmosphere, and solemn melodies that it’s damn near impossible to escape it’s pull into the abyss.
    They avoid the glacial meandering drone where the “suffocating” nature goes from simply heavy and intense to a burden of boredom that is generally associated with the extreme doom genres, thus carving out their own path that is “apocalyptic doom metal”.
    The content in terms of both sound and mood is extremely dense and heavy but yet there’s so much movement and space throughout each song that it actually breathes and feels more Lovecraft-ian than an cumbersome drone of sadness.
    The album opens with the 14 and-a-half minute horror infused symphonic saga of “The Last Refuge”, whose title is fitting given the sensations one feels while listening to it. During the first few minutes of the intro there’s a supernatural spoken word portion that’s hard to make out, sort of like an EVP during a haunting investigation, where the spirit communicates its will. After the spirit voice dissipates the ominous siren like guitar intro starts in leading us into the labyrinth of insanity that will inevitably take us to the point of no return mentally, spiritually and physically. In fact the album as a whole reminds me of the Lovecraft tale At the Mountains of Madness where “The Last Refuge” represents the venture into the mountain as the cryptic secrets contained within begin to unravel and consume you.

    Although intense and seemingly impenetrable in sound the symphonic elements of keyboard and cello the songs also cycle through moments of clarity resulting in implanting an eternal scene of post apocalypse desolation and gloom in ones mind but with a sense of mystery and supernatural forces at work. The vocals at times are almost the main driving force at the forefront of the songs with a very lost and miserable soul growl of emotional turmoil in them that resonates in the gut like chugging a pint of mercury would.

    Definitely DO NOT expect the usual funeral/death doom dirge and drawn out neural battering with Narrow House. I’d say that if you like Evoken, Officum Triste, Helllight, Swallow the Sun,etc. then you’ll surely be surprised and rewarded with Narrow House. I cannot recommend this album and Inborn Suffering enough alongside labelmates Amber Tears, Helllight, and the Sullen Route enough. All of these bands write from the soul and as a result they have a hypnotic and otherworldly vibe to them that is scarce and much needed in this genre and in many others.

    Author: Janet Willis

  19. Review
    Femforgacs
    7.5/10
    07.10.2012

    Újabb ukrán zenekar, ismét cirill betűkkel és megint a Solitude kiadásában… A műfaj pedig sötét atmoszférikus funeral doom, a banda saját megnevezése szerint apokaliptikus doom. Szerintem ez a jelző kevésbé illik a zenéjükre, ez alatt a jelzés alatt inkább gondolnék valami csapongó, változatos zenére, de tény, hogy ha eljön a világvége ez a lemez tökéletes zenei aláfestést nyújtana számára. A Narrow House 2009 óta aktív, de ez az első kiadványuk, kezdésnek elég ígéretes, de semmivel sem lóg ki a hasonló próbálkozások közül. Először a zenekar nevét sem tudtam igazán hova tenni, de kis utánajárással kiderítettem, hogy a „keskeny ház” konkrétan egy szleng kifejezés a koporsóban eltöltött vidám percekre. Így már elfogadható név egy ilyen közegben forgó (nyugvó) bandának.

    Zenéjük hosszú, vontatott tételekből áll, de mint minden jó doom lemezen, a homályból itt is rengeteg apró szépség képes felbukkanni a vicsorgó depresszív énekkel karöltve. Az egész nagyon jól szól, de ugyebár a Solitude ritkán okoz e téren csalódást. Ami itt folyik, vagy inkább vánszorog, az a napsütés és a boldogság tökéletes ellenpólusa, inkább a kín és lassú elmúlás megzenésített formája. A többi vonagló funeral doom zenekartól a cselló és szintetizátor ötletes használatával szeretnék magukat megkülönböztetni, de egyenlőre ez a kísérlet nem bizonyul túl sikeresnek a keverés miatt. Az említett két hangszer ritkán kap megfelelő hangsúlyt, így a jó ötletek gyakran vesznek a háttérbe. Erősen kellett tehát fülelnem a hallgatás közben, hogy elkapjam a sokszor tényleg hangulatos dallamokat. Remekül szólnak a dobok, minden kis finomságot megkapunk, a basszus mély és morajló, ahogy annak lennie kell, a gitárhangzás viszont elég monotonra sikerült. Egy funeral doom lemezt amúgy sem lehet másképp hallgatni, csak kizárva minden mást a világból, különben jön a szokásos vád: a lemezt áthatja a végtelen unalom. A szürreális borító is azonnal felkeltette az érdeklődésemet, rögtön a nevükhöz illő kép ugrott be róla: egy élve eltemetett ember kukucskál ki egy koporsóból. Hát nem felemelő?
    A lemez rögtön a kedvenc tételemmel kezdődik, ami a megnyerő „Последнее Пристанище” /The Last Refuge/ címet viseli és a maga 14 percével igazi funeral szörnyeteg. Halk felvezető morajlással, természeti hangokkal indul, de a távoli horizonton megjelennek a viharfelhők és elindul a vízözön, ami remek dallamokkal kezdi el maga alá temetni a nagyérdeműt. A dalt a hörgés, magasabb hangú károgás mellett kiegészíti visszafogott zongora, cselló és halk mormolás is, a fő riff pedig lassú, bánatos bólogatásra készteti a nagyérdeműt. A dalhoz készítettek egy hangulatában tökéletesen passzoló videót is.

    A lemez legrövidebb dala követi a remek nyitást, a „Псевдорятунок” /Psevdoryatunok/, a dalra nem lehet panaszunk, de kevésbé egyedi elődjénél. Egy jól megírt funeral tétel, gyorsabb, lassabb részekkel, a pozitív hangok teljes kerülésével. A csellónak sikerül egy kis varázst csempésznie a dalba, de attól még nem lesz izgalmasabb ez a közel 7 perc. A folytatás a 13 perces „Стеклянный Бог” /Glass God/ képében érkezik, az album leglassabb, legsötétebb tétele, igazi funeral csemege. Hol gyorsabb, hol lassabb a tempó, de végig monoton lüktetés táplálja. Nehéz pontot adni rá, mert sok hallgatást követelt /az egész lemezzel egyetemben/. Néha teljesen kikapcsolt, hatást gyakorolt rám, máskor minden hangját untam. Egyszerűen hangulatzene, ami a 10-es és 5 pontos skála között mozog attól függően, milyen pillanatban kap el. A záró tétel egy feldolgozás dal, az Esoteric Beneath A Face c. dalából készült, persze tökéletesen lefordítva és a csellóval megtűzdelve. Ha kicsit bátrabban használnák ezt a hangszert, akkor látnám értelmét ennek a feldolgozásnak, egyébként pedig leginkább másolás szaga van a dolognak. A dalban kapott pár másodperces zúzások, a kegyetlen hangzás persze elfeledteti velünk ezt a tényt, aki nem ismeri az eredetit, annak kellemesen kellemetlen perceket fog szerezni a tétel. Hatására elő is vettem az Esoteric lemezt…
    Aki szereti a Shape Of Despair, Esoteric, Pantheist munkásságát, sok örömet lelhet ebben a lemezben. Furcsa mód gyakran belehallom Clint Mansell zeneszerző munkásságát is, főleg a cselló miatt. Egyenlőre nálam még messze vannak a csúcstól, de az ígéret megvan bennük, hogy a műfaj legjobbjai közé tartozhassanak.

    Author: boymester

  20. Review
    Doommantia
    8.5/10
    05.10.2012

    Another band from the Ukraine, another album on the Solitude Productions label and another band with a strange name. Actually Narrow House is a slang term for a coffin so it is actually a very fitting moniker for a doom band. Narrow House are obscure so there is not much I can say about where they came from. I do know that all the original members came from other band called Funestum but that is where my info ends. You also don’t want to confused this band with another Narrow House from the USA, if you do you will get a very weak thrash-metal band. The band has given themselves many tags including, “apocalyptic doom,” “funeral doom,” and “ambient doom” so you may be a little confused over where they fit into the doom scene and after listening to this I too am a bit confused on where to place this band. This is death doom, funeral, traditional, ambient but funeral doom is the best tag for this band. The recurring element though is a bleak atmosphere and crushing ambiance and while there is nothing unique about the band really, they thankfully don’t sound too much like anyone else which gives ‘A Key To Panngrieb’ some staying power.

    The main gear the band get stuck in is funeralized doom metal and a very dark and gloomy one at that. Make no mistake about it, there are no light hearted moments on this album, this is a heavily atmospheric album that WILL bring you down emotionally if you let it. As I already mentioned the band is on the Solitude Productions label and that should be your first clue. This fits in with most of what else the label has on its books so it comes as no surprise when you hear this is generic slab of funeral doom but as predictable as it is, it is still a excellent dose of funeral doom that is actually memorable which for the funeral doom sub-genre is quite the achievement. Sounding a bit like label-mates Abstract Spirit, the band take the listener through four (mostly) very long funeral doom dirges, the longest being almost 15 minutes and it is certainly not the most straight to the point doom album going around. Song titles are in their native language so I won’t try to remember them here and have no idea what these pieces are all about but the growl is very much in the mold of bands like Shape of Despair – so much so that I did think I was listening to that band at one stage during my first spin of this album.

    It is not exactly ground-breaking stuff nor does it need to be, if it is good enough and thankfully Narrow House have more going for them than the average funeral doom band. Oddly enough, the band are not real big on riffs. Songs are built around simple chords and a rumbling, guttural resonance coming from the vocals. Songs for the most part are lifeless, depressive excursions and I say that in a good way. The album starts off surprisingly peaceful but soon explodes into loud, crushing waves of apocalyptic doom so you have been warned, be careful with the volume as this beast gets incredibly loud once it gets going. The album starts with ‘The Last Refuge’ if you want the English-translated version and it is a kind of apocalyptic slice of moody doom that never seems to get to where it wants to go. It is a slow building dirge that blends the horrific and ugly with the beautiful and the melancholic but just as you think the band is going to lighten up the depressive load, it drags you under once again with suffocating bleakness. Depressing doom albums are a dime-a-dozen these days but this surely stands out as one of the most depressive albums released in some-time.

    As the album progresses, there are no big surprises, this is funeral doom, generic but interesting and never so slow and uneventful you get the urge to turn it off after one song (the problem with a lot of other funeral doom acts). The album is big, open and spacious like the musicians are not even playing in the same country, let alone the same studio. There are huge gaps in every guitar strike, cymbal and drum hit which makes this seem much slower than what is actually is. They bleed out their music so listening to this is like being strangled to death very very slowly which is a killer hook and perfect for a funeral doom exercise. The first three tracks on the album all follow a similar path and don’t offer a hell of a lot of variance so you can be forgiven in thinking this is just one long funeral doom epic. Narrow House blend in keys and cello but they are used very sparingly and you may not even notice this instrumentation at first.

    The album closer is a cover of Esoteric’s “Beneath This Face” which is translated into Russian for the album (the other tracks are all in Ukrainian) but it still works in the bands favor. This version is very good but if you are like me, you might wonder why they bothered as the bands originals are just as good. When it is all said and done ‘A Key To Panngrieb’ is a very solid but unoriginal funeral doom album, nothing remarkable but very listenable. The playing, production, and songwriting is great despite the feeling you have heard it all before and after all, how can any band be totally original in such a limited genre anyway. If you are seeking out something totally original in this bleakest of sub-genres, you are probably looking in the wrong place with this album. As it is Narrow House have produced a “surprise release” that is far more captivating than anyone could have possibly expected. This is for fans of Shape of Despair, Ea, Abstract Spirit and Colosseum. You guys and girls have another foreboding chunk of funeral doom to soak up………perfect with the winter months approaching, check it out…..

  21. Review
    Doom-metal.com
    01.10.2012

    Whenever I listen to an album for the final time before reviewing it, I jot down some handwritten notes. Usually they take up about one third of a page, but not all of them make it into the final version of the text. In the case of A Key to Panngrieb, the debut album of Narrow House, my notes are considerably shorter, amounting to a couple of lines only. Why is that? Is it an almost flawless album with very few weaknesses to point out? No: there simply doesn’t seem to be all that much to be said about this album. The band is from Ukraine, plays Atmospheric Funeral Doom (their own description is Ambient Funeral Doom, but I cannot detect any Ambient to be honest) and has signed a deal with Solitude Productions. These few pieces of information pretty much sum up the whole deal and will tell every fan of Solitude’s profile to give this band a try, whereas those who are on the lookout for something groundbreaking will look elsewhere.

    Of course, this preliminary summary is a simplification. It is true that Narrow House do not bring anything new to the scene, their Funeral Doom is very much by the book. Steady rhythms, simple power chord progressions without any technically or structurally challenging elements, little change throughout the songs, you get the picture. Like many of their Solitude colleagues, they have a less melancholic and emotional sound than their Finnish forbears (most notably Shape of Despair and Colosseum) while still maintaining a gloomy atmosphere. Their style is somewhat reminiscent of their labelmates Comatose Vigil or Abstract Spirit (especially the first album), only less… abstract. As usual with the Russian label, the production is modern, powerful and crystal clear, and the quality of the printed artwork leaves nothing to be desired either.

    By now it has become unavoidable to ask: do the Ukrainians have any identity of their own that transcends these predictable parameters? Well, let us have a look at their consistent use of a cello … There are few lead guitars, leaving it to the cello and the keyboards to provide the melodies for the most part. In theory, using the cello as a replacement for lead guitars could be an interesting idea and a recognisable trademark. Unfortunately, this potential is not exploited – instead, the cello remains very much in the background (sometimes it is even overshadowed by synthesized strings), playing simple supportive lines most of the time. It does add to the atmosphere, but remains more of a gimmick. The final track “Под Маской Этой“ serves best to illustrate these shortcomings: it is in fact a cover of “Beneath This Face” by Esoteric (translated into Russian, which is the language of all the lyrics with the exception of “Псевдорятунок“ which is in Ukrainian), and while the band certainly deserves respect for managing to recreate Greg Chandler’s complex arrangement, their version is very pale compared to the original and totally lacks the density and depth the British masters are renowned for. Again, it could have been an interesting experiment to transform the song into a more orchestral piece with the cello as a prominent instrument, but it just isn’t daring enough.

    Despite the above remarks, ‘A Key to Panngrieb’ is a solid album which shows a lot of promise. The band’s talent in creating a dark, foreboding atmosphere is most apparent in the opening track with its cleverly arranged intro section slowly building up into a bleak Funeral Doom anthem. For a debut, the level of professionalism is quite exceptional, and the musicians do a good job. Apart from the strong growls, I would like to highlight the drumming in particular, which is excellent for genre standards and surprisingly well-produced, too. On the whole this should be a nice adition to the collection of Melodic/Atmospheric Funeral Doom addicts. Let us hope that Narrow House will be able to exploit much more of their potential on future releases and come up with something more relevant und unique. I believe that they can do much better than this. Their work made me think of the way Ea started out: their first album didn’t catch my attention back then, sounding rather generic and immature, but they have since evolved into a force to be reckoned with and their albums are captivating from beginning to end. I can imagine a similar career for the Ukrainian newcomers.

    Author: Dominik Sonders

  22. Review
    Lords of Metal
    8/10

    Solitude Productions once again crosses our path with a mighty fine funeral doom album, this time from Ukraine. When looking at the cover of Narrow House’s ‘A Key To Panngrieb’ I am sure funeral doom is not something that will spring to mind. Pure funeral doom is really isn’t. It’s more psychedelic funeral doom such as we know it from bands such as Esoteric and Faal and in the quieter almost ambient passages of Shape Of Despair.

    Four songs which clock in at 46 minutes of which the shortest one is seven minutes. Song titles and lyrics are, unfortunately, what I presume to be Ukrainian, but it could also be Russian since I don’t see and hear the difference between the two languages. So, having let loose an on-line translating machine on the titles in English they apparently translate to: ‘Last Refuge’, ‘Pseudosalvation’, ‘Glass God’ and ‘Behind Mask This’ and let this last song show exactly why automated translating programmes are so shite. When listening to it that last song seemed weirdly familiar and guess what, it is a cover of ‘Beneath This Face’ by Esoteric. Yes, there is more than one translation possible for a word. That cover, however, does define Narrow House’s sound and fits snugly in between the other songs. The good thing about the album duration is that it won’t start to bore and thus is a great first acquaintance with Narrow House. So, are you a fan of Esoteric or Faal and Shape Of Despair then ‘A Key To Panngrieb’ is something for you.

    Author: Marcel H.

  23. Review
    Ave Noctum
    7.5/10
    26.09.2012

    If you hunt out any promo pictures of Ukrainian band Narrow House you might be forgiven for thinking we are about to step into flouncy goth metal territory. Thankfully, though, we are deep into funeral doom here. Deep in. With a sound filled out with cello and keyboards, a touch of Shape Of Despair and very early Pantheist and the shadow, of course, of Skepticism you get an idea of the core sound. The slow, haunting melody lines and harsh, growled vocals also edge very close to some of the slow, depressive black metal projects like those of Dis Pater.

    We are gently led into the Narrow House by a keyboard wave sheltering soft, spoken words. Melancholic guitars and spare drumming rise through the keyboards with no rush to greet the louder riff and death style vocals. It is a lush sound; bleak, yes but full of stately melody with the excellent addition of the cello and delivered with a poise that speaks of confidence. A fine way to begin your album career. The next track ‘Psevdor Jatunok’ sounds like Amber Asylum slowed down and with a Skepticism style riff and howl rolling over it. Whilst good on its own terms, it does somehow fail to quite reach the haunting, majestic depths of those two masters and unfair as it might be, this is something that begins to nag at me until I make a conscious effort to quell it. On their own terms, Narrow House are the most accomplished new funeral doom band that I have heard in some time: They use the cello and keyboards beautifully to ease the flow from chord to chord in the riff, and the vocals have a fine tone to them. However their minor downfall (and in the scheme of things it is minor) is that because of their influences the shadow of the Finnish Overlords of the End of All Things, Skepticism, looms so large that it threatens to engulf them at times as you cannot avoid the thoughts of how they would have let the vocals inhale and exhale with the riff here, or pushed out the clouds of melody there. But in a way this perhaps is a kind of compliment as to invoke that comparison in that way shows how fine a band Narrow House actually are. They don’t wrench my emotions quite as much as they should, but it never once dissolves into cold and clinical doom so we are talking degrees and shades here. A little attention to detail, a tighter touch in the arrangements or the production to allow things to flower fully. Nit picking, yes, but only because Narrow House are so very close to something special and I so want them to get there.

    Four songs, around forty five minutes in total. Majestic, subtle and darkly beautiful and they even have a great name. If funeral doom is your thing then take a long, deep breath and step into Narrow House. They will be one of the best very, very soon.

    Author: Gizmo

  24. Review
    Brutalism
    3/5
    26.09.2012

    ‘A Key to Panngrieb’ is definitely a CD filled with such a dark ambiance that it could be the background music for an apocalypse. I looked Narrow House up and they are categorized as Apocalyptic Doom Metal so that fits. On their website they are listed as “atmopsheric funeral doom” which fits as well.

    ‘The Last Refuge’ starts off with haunting piano along with an inaudible voice that could absolutely be the soundtrack while standing in a field of apocalyptic aftermath. The song is fourteen minutes long and it builds with thin layers of additional music that is almost like a resurrection.

    ‘Psevdoryatunok’ is the shortest track out of four tracks total on the CD. And, while it starts out dark and brooding, there is a brief happy moment halfway through, then goes back into a moody stretch. The drums are prevalent, and there is a hint of string music at the end.

    The third track, ‘Glass God’ is really just more of the same in the beginning (dark and brooding). This track pervaded my ears as the tempo picked up, then went back down, then picked up again.

    The fourth and final track on this release, ‘Behind the Mask This’ is a great finale. By this point in the CD, I had broken down into tears twice because it was such an emotional roller coaster of sound.

    I recommend this CD to anyone that enjoys Apocalyptic Doom Metal and a cleansing, emotional breakdown.

    Author: Darlene Steelman

  25. Review
    Kaosguards

    Quiconque aura l’inconscience de tenter l’écoute de « A Key To Panngrieb », premier opus des Ukrainiens de NARROW HOUSE, doit se préparer à une expérience éreintante.

    Enfant de ESOTERIC (dont il reprend d’ailleurs un titre, « Beneath This Face », de manière convaincante), ce groupe pratique un Funeral Doom très distinct dans son énoncé, totalement désespéré, imposant de lenteur et dénué de tout compromis. NARROW HOUSE ne prétend pas bousculer les règles assez limitées de ce sous-genre : tempo ultra lent, riffs imposants, rythmiques pachydermiques et chant guttural.

    Cela dit, le groupe fait l’effort constant de créer des atmosphères lancinantes à base de claviers (bien sûr !) mais aussi de violoncelle. L’ambiance est garantie lugubre, vous pouvez me croire ! Sur les trois compositions du groupe, deux d’entre elles dépassent les dix minutes et invitent à une procession hypnotique conduisant inexorablement vers un abysse terrifiant. Classique mais très efficace.

    Author: Alain Lavanne

  26. Review
    Metalstorm
    8.3/10
    19.09.2012

    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 stormburst…

    A Key To Pangriebb 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.

    Author: BitterCOld

  27. Review
    Mortem Zine
    7.5/10
    19.09.2012

    Čaro extrémnej hudby spočíva v mojom vnímaní hlavne v tom, že hudobníci dokážu skladby premyslieť takým spôsobom, aby boli zaujímavé aj po dvadsiatom vypočutí. Samozrejme, nie každý umelec dokáže tvoriť pútavú a zamilovania hodnú hudbu. To je zatiaľ aj prípadom mladého ukrajinského pohrebného ansámblu NARROW HOUSE, no našťastie svoje remeslo robia poctivo, vkusne a predovšetkým úprimne.

    Je známe, že východne od hraníc Čiech a Slovenska vyvíja aktivity množstvo tvorivých kapiel, takže tamojšia scéna nie je ochudobnená ani o kvalitný funeral doom. Recenzované kvarteto sa dokonca venuje tzv. apocalyptic doom metalu, čo je síce škatuľka výstižná, ale obsahovo zatiaľ nenaplnená. Skupina pred sebou na cintorín hrnie otlčenú pohrebnú káru príliš lineárne, neochotne vybočujúc zo stokrát vyšliapanej cestičky. To, čo sa na ich novinke deje, už opísali predchodcovia na pamätihodných platniach v uplynulých dvoch desaťročiach. Ak hovoríme o predchodcoch, tak v poslednej skladbe „Под Маской Этой“ zaznie bleskový výpad vyvedený akoby v najlepšej tradícii austrálskych klenotníkov Disembowelment. V ostatných troch kompozíciách sa nájdu aj odkazy na Shape of Despair, starý Pantheist či rodákov Until My Funerals Began. To všetko nespomínam preto, aby som kapele krivdil, ale preto, aby vynikli jej pozitíva.

    Spomínaná posledná skladba je totiž veľkou nádejou pre fanúšikov a zároveň výstavnou skriňou pre debutujúcich Ukrajincov. Riffy sa výborne obmieňajú spôsobom, ako im to tesný rubáš dovolí. Kostlivcova ruka pevne drží uzlíček melódií, ktoré sa nemajú šancu ledabolo rozsypať po špinavom stole zahnívajúceho hostinca. Ukážkový vokál, balansujúci na pomedzí hrdelného growlingu a mučivého murmuru, je balzamom na ubolené srdcové svalstvo. No čo ma v tejto skladbe teší najviac nie je ani tak odkaz na austrálsku klasiku, ale znepokojivý ruch, narúšajúci plynulosť skladby. Z pozadia vykukujú motívy, ktoré majú náboj strachu, nádych avantgardy, náznak progresivity. Ak budú mať Ukrajinci záujem pokračovať v kariére, mohli by sa na zhubnom rázcestí, kde sa križujú cesty monotónnosti, zármutku, letargie a originality, vybrať týmto smerom.

    Pamätám si, že som z ich štvorčlennej zostavy mal obrovskú radosť. Neviem sa dopočítať toho množstva jednočlenných projektov, kde je všetko výplodom jediného mozgu. Síce tunajší Mistress Of The Dead sa tomuto kombu určite bez problémov vyrovná, no predsa len viac hláv znamená viac hláv. Už len kvôli zvukom violončela musí byť zážitkom vidieť túto skupinu naživo. Na internete som do vyhľadávača zadal heslo Panngrieb v očakávaní, že nájdem jeho význam, no okrem tohto albumu som nenašiel nič. Kyjevskí doomsteri si túto ríšu zrejme vybájili sami a dnes nám ponúkajú prvú exkurziu do jej neznámych a hrozivo vyzerajúcich končín. Či od nich kľúč prijmeme alebo sa ho zriekneme v prospech ortodoxných priaznivcov žánru, nekriticky hltajúcich rad radom všetky, zhubnému osudu naklonené formácie, je otázkou, na ktorú neexistuje jednoznačná odpoveď.

    Nie som si istý, či sa do pochmúrneho Panngriebu budem vracať často alebo len vo výnimočných chvíľach. Po štyroch krutých zastávkach si asi radšej oddýchnem v zakliatom lese, kde horí pritlmený plameň a škodoradostní zúgovia striehnu na nič netušiace mačacie obete. Každopádne verím, že to, čo pripravia NARROW HOUSE na ďalších putovaniach podsvetím, bude určite stáť za nejeden drahými kameňmi zdobený šperk.

    Author: Stygian

  28. Review
    Metal.de
    7/10
    17.09.2012

    Langsam nähert sich der Herbst und wer Glück hat, kann die letzten Sonnenstrahlen des Spätsommers genießen. Jeder, der es jedoch nicht mehr bis zu den kälteren Jahreszeiten aushält, dem kann man nur NARROW HOUSE empfehlen. Diese Band schafft es gekonnt, die Trostlosigkeit und Farblosigkeit eines herbstlichen Nebels einzufangen und in ihrem neuesten Werk “A Key To Panngrieb“ zu vereinen.

    Im Gegensatz zu den meisten anderen Vertretern des Funeral Doom kommen NARROW HOUSE jedoch recht knackig um die Ecke. Die vier vorliegenden Stücke auf “A Key To Panngrieb“ bringen es gerade mal auf eine Gesamtspielzeit von gut 45 Minuten und trotz der vorherrschenden Trauer schafft es die Band mit Leichtigkeit, ungewöhnlich viel Dynamik in die Kompositionen zu legen. Zwar erreichen die Ukrainer zu keiner Zeit das Niveau von Kombos wie beispielsweise SHAPE OF DESPAIR, bieten aber mehr als solide Tonkunst der dunkelsten und langsamsten Sorte. Bereits das 14-minütige Eröffnungsstück “Последнее Пристанище“ zieht den Hörer unweigerlich hinab in die dunkelsten Ecken der Seele und dort bleibt man auch über das gesamte Werk gefangen. Langsam, dramatisch und monolithisch verschlingt “A Key To Panngrieb“ all die Hoffnung und fesselt einen immer wieder aufs Neue durch das boshafte Konstrukt aus flächigen Gitarren und aggressiven Vocals. Auch die eingesetzten Keyboards sind zwar immer präsent, aber weit entfernt vom Kitsch. Vielmehr dienen diese eher dazu, die eh schon beklemmende Stimmung nur weiter zu untermalen und zusammen zuhalten. Dies wird besonders durch das abschließende “Под Маской Этой“ nochmal verdeutlicht, in welchem geschickt eingesetzte Streicher für die nötige Portion Epik und Dramatik sorgen. In Kombination mit der schleppenden Gitarrenarbeit ergibt sich daraus ein unheimliches Duell, dass unweigerlich zum Wiederauflegen des Silberlings führt.

    Kurz gesagt: NARROW HOUSE gehören definitiv zu den hochkarätigen Vertretern des Funeral Doom aus östlichen Gefilden. Nicht bahnbrechend oder besonders innovativ, aber sehr wohl mehr als reizvoll, schaffen es die Musiker gekonnt, ein ambitioniertes Klangwerk zu erschaffen, das einen durchweg fesselt und tief unter die Haut geht. Die perfekte Untermalung für die kommende kalte Jahreszeit.

    Author: Florian Hefft

  29. Review
    From the Dust Returned
    7/10
    10.09.2012

    Though Ukrainians Narrow House hail from a tradition of soul leeching, somber funeral doom, the sound they’ve adopted for their debut A Key to Panngrieb is actually far brighter, more atmospheric, and their wise incorporation of instruments like a cello and synthesizers helps give this music a far larger breadth than if they had merely trudged along with the same lifeless, disaffected lurch as so many others in this niche. Granted, this debut is not incredibly menacing or sad. It’s also not riff-heavy: the simple structure of the chords functions as little more than foundation for the guttural resonance of the front man, while the orchestral swells and ambient passages provide that extra ‘push’ preventing the heavy limbs from a festering ennui.

    So spacious is A Key to Panngrieb, that you can discern each snare, cymbal and kick of the drummer, as if he was storing up all this pent up emotion and aggression into the most minimal of strikes. The bass strums along like the failing pulse of a dying heart, full but at the same time quite sparse over the raw banks of the guitar distortion, while the cello plucks along like a chamber musician witnessing one of Edgar Allen Poe’s liquor fit depressions. The vocals are a pure growl, something like Shape of Despair where he lets his intonation ride out over each syllable in time with the drudging undercurrent, but they often take on a higher, rasped pitch, or even sink into a guttural mumble. The keys definitely create an otherworldly choir of sadness through their own simple repetition; never complex or intricate in terms of their composition, more like a procession of mourning angels slowly swaggering to the precipice of some eternal pit and then thrusting themselves down to its depths with mechanical precision. Guitars do often pick up pace to a flood of chords or chugs, as with the closer “Под Маской Этой” (a cover of Esoteric’s “Beneath This Face”), where they even lovingly tease a blast beat…

    However, I wouldn’t have minded more variety to these patterns, perhaps more implementation of sad, swelling guitar harmonies that could even play better off the cello. Like most albums in this type, A Key to Panngrieb fights an uphill battle to remain interesting across the 11-14 minute long songs that represent 75% of the track list. I actually liked the extended intro to the album, with speech samples, brooding synthesizers and low piano hits; I also thought the production was excellent, nothing murky or difficult to process; and the surreal artwork is quite compelling. But with music that moves so slowly, I feel like the chord progressions need to be incredibly capable of conjuring despair, and these were just sort of average in doing that job. Narrow House succeed here by virtue of their enormous atmospherics, but they’ve got plenty of space in which to further experiment. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to fans of the more dry, psychedelic droning doom inherent to Skepticism or Thergothon, but more to those who like the simpler, mourning crush of Evoken, Shape of Despair, perhaps even My Dying Bride.

  30. Review
    Puregrainaudio
    6.5/10
    24.08.2012

    Narrow House is another one of those bands that I came across while scouring the internet. The group is from the Ukraine and play what they describe as “apocalyptic doom”, apparently replete with psychological imagery when the band plays live. Although they’ve been together since 2009, A Key to Panngrieb is the band’s debut album and will only be released on Solitude Productions later this month.

    How does it sound you ask? Well, apocalyptic doom is in fact a most apt description. This is some slow and heavy stuff that sounds like it would make the perfect soundtrack to the end of times. Low and rumbling with snarled vocals and depressive undertones, the music is not for the faint of heart. However like all good doom, despite the gloom there is still plenty of beauty to be found in the album.

    While this may not be something you would want to put on for a warm sunny day, it is the perfect sonic accompaniment for the coming Fall season. This is a promising debut by a band with a lot of potential. Check out A Key to Panngrieb and support the band!

    Author: Curtis Dewar

You must be logged in to post a comment.