North The Great Silence

NorthThe Great Silence
While it may be "great," the second album from Arizona doom/sludge quintet North is a very unquiet "silence." From the beginning, The Great Silence shudders into being as though already breaking under its weight, the sound cracking and heaving as if through an already broken speaker. The distortion is deliberately heavy-handed, akin to using a hand-axe to shred burlap rather than the scalpel-precise touch favoured by a lot of contemporary production. This isn't to say that broad strokes are incapable of producing moments of beauty, just that when those moments coalesce they are always as subtle as a woolly mammoth wading into the La Brea tar pits. The vocals can be a bit challenging, at times ― aiming for guttural, but more often hitting gargling ― and the looping, repetitive structures occasionally stray over the line from compelling to dull. Still, there's a great deal of promise in the ponderous, unlikely grace and dignity of The Great Silence that makes North a band worth following. (Cavity)