Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Norilsk - 'The Idea of North' (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 10/3/2015
Label: Hypnotic Dirge, Dwyer Records,
Alerta Antifascista

‘The Idea of North’ CS/CD//DD//LP track lisitng:

1). Japetus
2). Planète heurt
3). Throa
4). La liberté aux ailes brisées
5). Nature morte
6). Potsdam Glo
7). La Grande Noirceur
8). The Idea of North
9). Coeur de Loup (*exclusive to the CD)

Norilsk is:

Nicolas Miquelon | All instruments, vocals
Nick Richer | Drums, Vocals (backing)


Taking their name from a remote Siberian city, home to a renowned heavy metal smelting complex, Canada's Norilsk have a name to live up to and with their latest offering, 'The Idea Of North', they offer up a chilling slice of doom that does the job with gusto.

Things get off to an ominous start with 'Japetus', a crunching riff interlaced with a piercing melodic line and vocals that reach a depth and grimness I've rarely heard. It's all set at a punishingly slow pace that intensifies the malice and creates that very special sinking feeling that doom fans have become addicted to. Moving on with 'Planète Heurt' the band ensure we sink ever further, as the pace is reduced to an agonising crawl and the vocals shift to a more melodic feel that's more disconcerting than pleasant and with a rousing guitar solo midway through, you get the feeling that there's beauty among the bleakness.

It's not all in slow motion however, as with 'La Liberté aux ailes brisées' the catchy mid pace riff snarls under a surprisingly catchy lead guitar line with those grim vocals sitting comfortably atop it all, showcasing that the band aren't just a one trick pony. The albums penultimate track, 'La grande noirceur' is a short, haunting instrumental and one that sets up the albums closer, the title track, quite spectacularly. A heroic lead guitar line accompanied by a hypnotic black metal style riff that's led by a simple, sparse drum track. It's a suitably devastating way to end, as by the time it's over, you'll have sank to the very bottom.

'The Idea of North' is absolutely everything you need or want from a doom album. Norilsk are a rare band in that they manage to punish you with pace but add enough melody and style to keep you captivated. This album is the soundtrack to a grim fate, layered with atmosphere and a truly ferocious vocal performance, it may be slow but it makes for an exhilarating listen.

Words by: Rhys Miles

‘The Idea of North’ is available on CD here, DD here, CS here and LP soon via Alerta Antifascista

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