Album Review: Narrow Head – 12th House Rock

Texas post-metallers Narrow Head look to the stars on 12th House Rock

Album Review: Narrow Head – 12th House Rock
Mischa Pearlman

12th House Rock is as much as a title for Narrow Head’s second record as it is kind of its own genre. The 12th House, you see, is the name given to an unseen realm in astrology, a mysterious and mystical twilight zone where all your dreams, emotions and everything else without a physical form exist. The members of Texas quintet Narrow Head don’t necessarily believe in any of that, but that hasn’t stopped them crafting the perfect world for it.

From start to finish, these 13 songs swirl in their own dark universe, hovering in a space-time continuum of their own making crafted from the perfect measure of alternative metal, post-hardcore and shoegaze, with some extra ’90s stylings thrown in for good measure. The result, however, is neither derivative nor affected – rather it’s one of emotional purity and honesty, music from and for the soul that nourishes as it destroys, and soothes as it tears you apart.

While it’s possible to pick out individual songs – the hypnotic trappings of opener Yer Song, the meandering rhythm of Stuttering Stanley, the gloomy but dreamy shoegaze of Nodding Off – really this is an album designed to be listened to as a whole. If you do that, and immerse yourself in its blissful, fuzzed-out guitars, its lilting loudness, and the way singer Jacob Duarte’s voice floats wildly but majestically over the top of it all, then you may just start to feel the portal to the 12th House open up in front of you.

Okay, maybe not. But you’ll certainly be able to appreciate the ambition and scope of this record and its otherworldly atmosphere and sonic textures. Understated yet raucous, beautiful yet heavy, impassioned but nihilistic, 12th House Rock is a record that washes not just over you but through you, emptying you out in the process but making you feel every emotion within you as it does.

Verdict: 4/5

For Fans Of: Smashing Pumpkins, Deftones, Nothing

12th House Rock is out now via Holy Roar Records

READ THIS: How Narrow Head's album "made of demons" offers a light in the dark

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