‘Though I’m Alone’ is a release consistent in quality and structure; songs are laden with contrasting clean and screamed vocals,the guitars creating a sombre back drop; this release is big on creating a melancholy sound-scape. It may be dull in emotion but it is a strong release from a band I wish I had discovered sooner.
I believe consistency in a release can go one of two ways; it can cause it to be repetitive, equalling in it being boring and lacking creativity. On the other hand it shows the musicianship of a band and the way they construct their songs. Barrow’s certainly aren’t the former, although the album may not have many stand out tracks it is an album you must digest as a whole and their take on what I suppose could be classified as “melodic hardcore” is an interesting one, as you can tell they have taken that emotion to a new level.
‘Fox Ears and Silence’ is a thrashy opener, it is almost cacophonic, the screamed vocals adding to the raging discordant and almost math-esq guitars before it takes a melancholy turn, that change in atmosphere creeps in and the track becomes more structured and pacing. It is a great contrast and the bands ability to add layers to their sound make them that more interesting.
Although all the tracks demonstrate the diversity in the vocals, ‘Wither’ stands out because of it’s sung vocals which you hear develop into a passionate scream. It also demonstrates the ambiance the band try to create perfectly. It is a song of highs and lows, softly sung words with the contrasting screams. It is the go to track on the record and is very As Cities Burn in its sound.
The album takes on this ‘high and low’ approach until the end, picking on certain parts would leave me repeating myself. This release needs to be appreciated (as already stated) in its entirety. It will be an album you can listen to over and over and still be able to find things about it you didn’t on a previous listen. It also takes more than one listen to appreciate; it is intricate and clearly has a lot more to it than what can be heard. Whether you choose to delve into it or not, this is a brilliant release; tag it with the usual genres of “hardcore”, “screamo”, “post hardcore”, “post whatever” this is just music with an emotive backbone. Barrow have taken something and made it poetic, thought provoking and something that can be related to by anyone. Check them out now!
‘Though I’m Alone’ by Barrow on March 19th through Mayfly Records.
Words by Robert Maddison.