The Great White North

Written by: PP on 19/04/2011 20:51:34

Should you be into conjoined riffs that twist and burst into different directions before and after, it might be worth looking into Norris. They're marketed as a thunderous mathcore outfit from, err, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and have been compared to outfits like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge and The Red Chord. They certainly draw influence from said bands, but by no means sound exactly alike. Instead, Norris' third album "The Great White North" rather takes moments of undeterred chaos from Converge and TDEP, some technical detail from The Red Chord, and mixes these together with progressive metalcore / death metal soundscapes from the repertoire of Between The Buried And Me. Interested yet?

Thunder Bay is known for its brutal and extreme winter conditions, where the average winter period, as measured by minimum 1 inch snowfall, lasts on average six months. The daylight hours can be as short as 8 hours and 39 minutes, which goes a long way explaining why Norris' album sounds so cold and ruthless all around. Even its title "The Great White North" suggests a never-ending struggle at dealing with weather conditions not designed for human survival, but at the same time a sense of marvel and awe over the beauty that a snowed in landscape can offer. This is again something that spills over very clearly to Norris' music, because for every chaotic mathcore passage full of relentless growling and spastic riffs, there's an element of BTBAM-esque sonic beauty, where the intricate guitars make sense out of disarray. The effect is a highly dynamic and swiftly changing atmosphere, that takes you from extreme and technical metal into (relatively) smoother-flowing passages within seconds.

Though it's easy to be impressed by the busy soundscape offered by "The Great White North", there are still a couple of important issues that Norris needs to deal with before they can raise their game to stand their ground when compared to their more successful peers. One of them is that a technical and nonsensical instrumental expression does not always a good song make. In the midst of focusing on the miniscule details, the band are forgetting to take a few steps back and look at the overall picture. Where BTBAM master this almost infinitely well, Norris' songs at times feel like little more than short, intermittent unleashes of winter fury from up north through a mathcore/metalcore formula, which, while arguable decent and formidable in many ways, lacks the final punch that would make the songs stick.


Download: Jesus Heist, De-Evolution Of Music, Food For Thought
For the fans of: Between The Buried And Me, Converge, The Red Chord
Listen: Myspace

Release date 22.03.2011
Year Of The Sun Records

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