North -MetanoiaNorth are a trio from Arizona dealing in sludgy post-metal, and this four-track EP is the follow up to the critically acclaimed (so it says here) 2012 long player “The Great Silence”.

As their monicker perhaps suggests this is all rather bleak. Elements of Neurosis and early Mastodon, as well as Isis, can be heard here, and there’s traces of hardcore in the vocals. However, whatever the influences, this is all rather unappealing and uninvolving. Like a lot of things with the ‘post’ tag it wants to have it’s cake and eat it. It wants to be smarter than the pack whilst adopting some of the traits of the pack in order to fit in. The results, when it comes to post-metal, is that it is often metal but without the fun.

Let’s look at the titles – “Metanoia”, ‘Atrabilious’ (it means gloomy, fittingly), ‘Nefelibata’. There is an unwillingness to communicate in a direct manner, of trying to say so much without resorting to plain speaking. The music is restless and mildly experimental without ever really connecting. There are many tonal changes but most of them are suggestive of the same thing – angst. If you are smart enough to play with form then you should aim to create more moods and communicate more ideas than just the one which could be achieved through yelling angrily over three chords.

Take ‘Nefibilata’ – the structure is devised to summon sonic cathedrals and a sense of awe. The chords are there, the playing is tight and there is a pretty twinkling keyboard coda, but it never lifts you. You recognise what North are trying to do but it feels like an intellectual exercise and you react to it as such. ‘Hireath’ follows and is a heavier, Mastodon-esque gnarled and twisted piece if metal wreckage but again feels calculated, sitting as it does after the EP’s lightest moment.

A grisly and utterly joyless experience, North have put the annoy in “Metanoia”.

North – Official Website