Released: 2011, Year Of The Sun
Normally, I don’t automatically gravitate towards the more modern, sludgey sounds of Metal but Norris is a Canadian band and respected Diminished Fifth/Red Tentacle group is on board so I figured I’d check ‘em out. It’s not that I don’t like that sound but I’m not as well versed in the subtle nuances of the style and the history of the scene.
This is the quintets full-length debut after a couple of indie EP’s and it’s quite a stormer. Drawing on the Biohazard/Pro-Pain/Machine Head modern Metal template they have added an additional raw layer of heaviness.
THE GREAT WHITE NORTH is a short nine-cut album that barely breaks half an hour but each track is a short sharp boot to the head, the only respite being the 2 minute acoustic piano, instrumental interlude halfway through called ‘Peasant’. It kinda breaks up the proceedings and allows you to catch your breath before the next onslaught.
As to be expected of this style the vocals are barked, roared and shouted rather than sung but a clean vocal will occasionally rear it’s head on such tracks as ‘Jesus Heist’ and ‘Food for Thought’. There aren’t much in way of solos unfortunately but these types of bands are seldom the forum for displays of virtuosity. In terms of guitar and crushing riffs these guys excel and employ more of grinding tone than clean picking and fretboard work.
All in all it’s a blunt noisy affair without much sophistication, which is probably the point! THE GREAT WHITE NORTH comes in, hits you on the head sonically and then leaves again, leaving you stunned and wondering what the hell just happened.