Every day, there appears to be just one more way the world and the people in it are conspiring to bring you down. Seemingly, every day just one more weight is placed between your shoulders, pulling you down and wearing you out. After a while–whether the weights are big or small, heavy or light–those bits of mass add up, creating a monolith of human indecency from fragments of common discourtesy. Just as it seems like this yolk of negativity is too much to bear, the winds change–bringing bands like Milwaukee-based Narrow Hearts and their positive message with them. On their breakout full-length Make This Yours, Narrow Hearts create hard-hitting, pulse-pounding positive hardcore which packs an explosively positive heaviness inside of a surprisingly melodic bombshell which is sure to make even the darkest days bright.
Punchy instrumental prowess is one of the biggest driving forces behind the juggernaut of positivity that is Make This Yours. Lacerating, incessant drumming lays a solid groundwork for deep, rumbling pop-punky bass and dissonant, harmonizing guitars. “Conformity,” opens with a pulsating steamroller of a drum line with an infectiously catchy bass line thrown overtop. This quickly morphs into a series of progressively heavier and more breakneck grooves and beatdown-styled breakdowns which practically force the listener to bang their head. Throughout every section, the instruments are tight and synchronized–drums placing blazing-fast fills and precise timing while the guitars duel back-and-forth in a series of grinding grooves so visceral it’s surprising to hear them fueling the positive message for which they function as a canvas.
Vocally, Narrow Hearts set themselves far apart from their peers. Combining aspects of Sworn In-styled growls and shouts with an Onward to Olympas-esque metalcore scream, topped off with the quintessential “blegh”, Make This Yours is a vocal and lyrical tank which aught not be taken lightly. Tracks like “Conformity” and “Unconscious Minds” are perfect not only in honest, raw vocal delivery but honest and raw lyrics as well. “Conformity”’s “All I know is that I know nothing” conclusion is near-goosebump inducing as it provides a perfect ending to an otherwise perfect track. Meanwhile, “Unconscious Minds” has vocal timing and uncompromising emotion, the likes of which are not often heard from peers of the band. Truly, Narrow Hearts have a dynamic which takes the sum of two equally great parts and converges them into one unstoppable machine.
While the album’s opening track starts in a deceptively subtle manner, the remainder of the song–and the album itself–is far from that. Once “Break Free” hits its stride, it doesn’t stop. This same attitude carries on throughout the album, as Make This Yours wastes no time in spreading all of Narrow Hearts’ positivity, resulting in a no-holds-barred smackdown on the listener’s ears. However, while the music played by Narrow Hearts almost sounds angry, and those screams and shouts sound pissed and furious, the true nature of the album, upon further listens, is clear. By taking the influences of discontent and misanthropy from every day life, Narrow Hearts use negativity as a fuel to burn for their freight train of uncompromising positivity. By turning bad experiences into good ones, Narrow Hearts create an album which not just relates to the listener, but resonates within them.
If you’re fed up with counting down the days, hours and minutes to the end of another work week, or sick of waiting for something to turn around and for your life to get back on track, let Make This Yours be your anthem for change. Narrow Hearts create a fluid, hard-hitting and resounding bible of positive and free thinking which can make even the most down-trodden and desperate soul find the will and the wherewithal to change their circumstances.
For Fans Of: Sworn In, The Ghost Inside, Onward to Olympas