156/Silence – Narrative LP (SharpTone Records)

156/Silence - Narrative LP - SharpTone Records

After critically acclaimed full-lengths such as Undercover Scumbag and Irrational Pull, extended plays like Karma and “Don’t Hold Your Breath, and many singles in between, Pittsburgh heavy hitters 156/Silence return with another tremendous album that will knock your socks off. Narrative LP drops on Friday, September 2nd, on SharpTone Records, and the label was kind enough to provide us with an advance copy of an album for review. After listening to this material for nearly a week, I can only conclude that 156/Silence naturally progressed over the years. Perhaps Undercover Scumbag and Irrational Pull are considered classics among the die-hard fans of metalcore and hardcore music, but Narrative outstood both recordings with such ease. It serves as a perfect continuation to all their previous recordings, but there’s no doubt that 156/Silence are setting the bar up high with this material.

The band and the label heavily promoted this full-length with A Past Embrace, For All To Blame, To Take Your Place, and Say The Phrase, a set of excellent introductory singles that provide more than a solid sneak peek into this material. However, it seems that the remainder of the album resonates with even more power than the introductory singles. The Rodents Race, Another Loss, Stay Away, and Tell The Reason are excellent examples of how 156/Silence has progressed over the years and become metalcore juggernauts. Tracks like I Am A Fault and Live To See A Darker Day serve more as ambient passages or outro but are equally good numbers as the remainder of this full-length. As usual, 156/Silence cleverly assembled a tracklist, so in the end, you get a perfectly balanced album with tremendous dynamics.

These guys were always good at depicting grimey, dark, horrific ambiance where all the emotive, melancholic, depressive, darkened thoughts, circumstances, moments, and themes are coming up to the surface. Their music may seem a bit depressive to newbies, but you’ll gradually get used to that thick layer of dark ambiance that continuously lurks throughout the entire Narrative LP. 156/Silence were always pros in assembling enormously heavy metalcore tracks, and that’s no exception on the Narrative either. The band invested many progressive, technically demanding guitar shreds and riffs into this material and both channels of guitar shine bright in their brilliance. However, there are vividly hearable layers of melodies, harmonies, and themes occasionally popping up in the mix. They serve as such a nice contrast to the beforementioned heaviness of this material.

Equally good basslines further emphasize all those guitar maneuvers, so everything sounds even heavier, especially when the entire band dives into those sludgy, chuggy, lower, beatdown segments. Nothing would sound so profoundly dynamic, groovy, and heavy without the exceptional drumming performance, fully stacked with complex rhythmic sequences, accentuations, fills, and other acrobatics. The vocal performance ranges from classic hardcore shoutouts to hellish screams and growls. Each singing technic provides even more aggression to this material. Narrative has many other qualities, but it would be a shame not to discover it yourself. Head to SharpTone Records and grab this metalcore gem on vinyl, CD, or pre-save it on your favorite digital platform.

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