North – The Great Silence

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Review by Jason Guest

Cavity Records

North is a very interesting band. Musically, their range is remarkable. They explore the breadth between the harsh and the smooth with such confident poise that their textures are given a depth that makes them very difficult to be unmoved by. As the bass drone and shimmering guitar chords of ‘Nihil Novi Sub Sole’ swirls into view, album number three, The Great Silence promises much. For just over an hour, North’s post-rock, atmospheric sludge, genre-hopping metal takes the listener on an emotive tour through eight intelligently crafted tracks that are ruined by one thing: the vocals.

One quick listen to their previous releases and the band’s evolution since 2008’s What You Were is exponential, all but vocalist Hardy. His insistence on flooding the album with his anguished growling grumble and monotonous drone rarely complements what the music is doing and sabotages the album. By the time track four, ‘Origins’, comes around, you’re already wondering how he’s going to spoil it; if it weren’t for the impressive female backing vocal of this track, it would be a goner too. Musically, the diversity across the record is staggering. North take simple lines and let them evolve naturally and what emerges is music that is nothing less than gratifying. But with a vocalist with a broader palette or even as an all-instrumental album, this would have been remarkable.

North - The Great Silence6 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Nihil Novi Sub Sole
  2. Sentience
  3. Inanimate Feathers
  4. Origins
  5. Pulse
  6. Patience
  7. Paradox
  8. Oo Est Tout Le Monde

1 COMMENT

  1. Agreed. The vocals just get in the way of everything else that’s going on, which is glorious.

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