North is a Tuscon trio that is pretty tight with Godhunter—about the only other Arizona sludge band I know—which is reason enough for me to give this a listen. Yet these guys are grizzled veterans, as the length of their beards would attest, with three albums already under their belts. While Metanoia is more of a stopgap EP, I suppose, it’s still my introduction to their outfit.
Suffice to say the Neurosis is quite strong with this one. These guys follow the path of the Oakland post-sludge leaders and their pursuant pack. “Atrabilious” starts off slow and sparse before delivering some doomy downstrokes abreast a wave of crashing percussion. “Nefelibata” is more mellow, airy and atmospheric—albeit with the same raw-leather vocals as heard throughout. “Hiraeth” actually comes close to clean singing in its shimmering, drum-driven intro, but it’s not long before they turn up the volume on another down-tempo number driven by stop-start riffage. “Master” is actually relatively up-tempo from the get-go, settling into a steady pace that’s somewhat speedy by post-sludge standards, and keeps a consistent chugging rhythm throughout.
All in all, this isn’t a bad way to spend 25 minutes.