It was just over two years ago when our paths first crossed but having been signposted to the unique vocal style of frontman Jack Murray; there was something about Pittsburgh metalcore crew 156/Silence which made it impossible not to check them out. Unsurprisingly, given that their Irrational Pull debut and its follow-up, Don’t Hold Your Breath EP, didn’t disappoint, expectations were high for Narrative.

Opening with the grinding “A Past Embrace,” the familiar frustration-filled tones of Murray’s vocals soon fill the air as Narrative bursts into life. A mix of dark, atmospheric breaks, jarring metalcore and lung-busting fury, the Pennsylvania crew clearly headed into the studio to crank things up a gear or two, and, by the time the album rumbles into “The Rodents Race,” you find yourself listening to a band who have plugged in, switched on, and literally exploded. Each song, be it the lurching “For All To Blame” or the relentless “Stay Away,” is brimming over with tension and thankfully, there was an outlet for this unpredictable barrel of frustration.

However, where Narrative really comes into its own is when the band weaves other elements around their savage fury. Those elements come in the form of swathes of electronics bathing the caustic “Tell The Reason” or an almost bleak air swirling around the pain-drenched “I Am At Fault,” and they just take the material to another level. If it weren’t so emotionally draining, Narrative would be a work of beauty. As it is, listening to the group slam into “Say The Phrase,” there are few bands who put quite as much blood and tears into their art as this Pittsburgh outfit.

Throughout, Narrative is a heart-wrenching, emotional experience. It’s clear from hearing frontman Murray spit out his words that there is plenty of soul-searching that goes into his work. As just a mere listener, it’s hard to believe we will ever fully appreciate the frustration and emotion that inspire this band, but if you’re looking for something to help you work out your own tensions, you won’t go far wrong with this stunning album.

Narrative Track Listing:

1. A Past Embrace
2. The Rodents Race
3. Another Loss
4. For All To Blame
5. I Am A Fault
6. To Take Your Place
7. If Pleasure’s Gone
8. Stay Away
9. Tell The Reason
10. Say The Phrase
11. Live To See A Darker Day

Run Time: 43:30
Release Date: September 2, 2022
Record Label: Sharptone Records

Author

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.