Northern – Northern

By Cara Cross

I was introduced to Victoria B.C.’s Northern a couple weeks ago when they opened for Wolves in the Throne Room. The instrumental three-piece blew my socks off, and I immediately picked up a copy of their debut CD.

Their musical style invites one to draw comparisons to post-metal acts like Isis, Pelican and the Russian Circles. But Northern has taken the sound and made it their own — think layers of digital delay, crunchy riffs, and creative use of white noise.

The album is simplicity in itself — five tracks, identified only by roman numeral. There are moments of brilliance here, from the up tempo, Mastodon-y “I,” to the beautiful bass intro on “IV” and the funky “III” that recalls Pelican’s “The Creeper.”

There were moments where I felt the songs dragged a little, and some of the breaks and changes seemed to come out of nowhere, taking the music in a completely new direction before correcting course a minute or two later. But these are minor quibbles in what is otherwise a very strong first effort.

I hear that Northern is keen to get back in studio to record some new material. If their live show is any indication, the next album will be even better.