Saturday, 22 November 2014

Northumbria - Bring Down The Sky (Album Review)

Bring Down the Sky cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 21st November 2014
Label: ConSouling Sounds
Bring Down The Sky – Track Listing

1.Transcendence 04:22
2.The Ocean Calls us Home 07:55
3.Ostara 10:25
4.The Silver Forest 09:00
5.Bring Down the Sky 11:14

Bio

Forming in 2011 from the ashes of Holoscene, Toronto/Northumberland based musicians Jim Field and Dorian Williamson came together to create Northumbria and in turn craft sweeping, improvised drones which combine their personal influences and individual soundscapes in order to manifest an aural journey into a dystopian wasteland.

Utilising only guitar and bass and recording their work completely live, Northumbria released their debut in 2012 on Montreal’s TQA Records, which began their sonic expanse into the consciousness of the music appreciating public.

Northumbria was recorded in the sanctuary of a 19th century church in Northumberland County and the resulting compositions are imbued with the ambience of the setting as well as a stately grace, something that permeates all their following work.

2013 saw Northumbria issue a remix project – All Days Begin as Night – on Altar of Waste Records, which featured new takes on original pieces and was contributed to by peers - Theologian and Aidan Baker among them.

A split with North Atlantic Drift followed as well as a wonderfully received video for the track Black Sea of Trees. Northumbria have also featured on a number of online mixtapes and have curated their own for CVLT Nation. Recently the band performed a live set for Darkfloor Radio and the future looks to be both busy and bright.

Northumbria will be releasing 3” CD-R on Cathedral Transmissions soon and the new full length – entitled Bring Down The Sky –will be issued this coming November via ConSouling Sounds.

Members

Jim Field: Guitar
Dorian Williamson: Bass guitar

Review:

Ambient/Post-Rock/Drone Metal Duo – Nothumbria – return with their eagerly awaited new album – Bring Down The Sky – being released on Consouling Records.

Opening track – Transcendence – starts the album at a slow leisurely pace with streams of Drone/Post Rock chimes slowly coming to life with each passing second. It's a tranquil feeling that gives you the impression that everything is calm within the world around you. Layers of Drone based noises and sonic riffs add a soothing post-rock melody that hides a tragic understanding of loss and human emotion. It maybe the shortest track here but it's the perfect opening for Northumbria to welcome into their dark world.

Second track – The Ocean Calls Us Home – sees a lengthy drone based guitar riff slowly playing a hollow note before elements of Drone based noises become louder with each passing second. Northumbria start adding different layers of musical instruments with the emphasis firmly on the Drone/Post-Rock aspect. It has a progressive rock/jazz feel which only heightens the emotional impact of the song. It feels you are actually drifting in the ocean itself where you're a million miles away from humanity. You can sense danger lurking as Northumbria draw you in with stunning atmospherics. The mood and atmosphere becomes ever more violent and distant to show you that Northumbria can turn into a more dangerous unit. Though it's all beautifully put together with every note, sound and riff, all having a purpose to show you what Northumbria are all about.

Third track – Ostara – carries on the sense of pain and loss told through Northumbria's majestic vision. The song has a serene and almost hypnotic feel with Northumbria exploring the Post Rock and Drone elements of their music to the maximum level. Noises and ambient sounds are played together for an almost out-of-body experience. I know Drone Music in general is not the most appreciative of genres but I always admire people and artists who create music such as this. As they put their entire souls into the creative process. You can feel with this with Northumbria's latest opus. Ostara is a highly captivating and even thought provoking song that will speak volumes to you.

Fourth Track – The Silver Forest – is probably the more experimental track on the album as it sees Jim and Dorian venturing into the world of electronica. It's a more harsher and colder song compared to the other tracks but it still has the familiar Drone/Post-Rock vibes that came before for it. I felt at times I was listening to the classic Blade Runner soundtrack. I mean that as a huge compliment to Northumbria. The 2nd half of the song sees Northumbria venturing further into their Drone identity as the environment around you becomes ever so louder and more disturbing at the same time.

That leads us onto the last track – Bring Down The Sky – which finally sees Northumbria unleashing some Drone based loud as hell Post-Metal atmospherics to make this the albums stand-out track. I do wish Northumbria added some heavier guitar parts in some of the songs as they do here. As it's where the album fully comes to life and you're more grateful for experiencing the whole album.

Bring Down The Sky is a haunting, disturbing and brooding musical odyssey which you won't easily forget. This is a massive sounding album. If you're a fan of Post-Rock/Ambient/Drone music then you cannot ignore this album. It's a work of art. An outstanding album.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Dorian, ConSouling Sounds Viral Propaganda PR for sending a promo to review. Bringing Down The Sky is available to buy on DD via BandCamp and CD via ConSouling Sounds.

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