Norilsk
The Idea of North

Hailing from Quebec, this duo take their name from Siberia’s most desolate, northernmost city, and of course it’s home to a ….metal foundry. And while you’d expect doom considering the moniker and label, this isn’t the huge, lumbering, funeral doom, Evoken/Ahab sort of crawl the name and label imbue, as it’s much more varied.

These guys have more in common with blackened, sludge or stoner doom and more grooving death doom like Finland’s Lurk. That’s not to say there isn’t any heaving, hefty dirges here — there is plenty over the course of the album’s 55 minute, 9 song run time. It’s just that’s its not a test of endurance or stamina with 25 minute songs, 10 of which are an introductory drone. The shortest 4 are four minutes (not including 2 minute interlude “La Grande Noirceur”) and the longest is just over nine, with most being in the 5-7 minute range. The vocals are neither a deep doom growl or a high pitched blackened doom shriek but somewhere in between with a few clean chants here and there. And none of the songs really drag on or repeat, as for a ‘doom’ band, Norilsk are pretty dynamic.

Opener “Japetus” is a pretty good example of the band’s style having a surprisingly uptempo, groovy riff rendered with a decently heavy, not overly fuzzed out tone. More varied grooves and acoustics that litter the likes of “Throa” or the rollicking, sludgy stomp of “La Liberté aux Ailes Brisées”. But if you want that lingering, slow crawl, simply switch to the first few moments of the more rending second track, “Planet Huerte”, which picks up to a nice little melodic solo/canter or the more introspective and haunting “Potsdam Glo” or the expansive title track which has a more traditional, morose plod and Finnish atmosphere of loss and despondency.

The album closes with “Coeur de Loup”, a Philippe Lafontaine cover that I really can’t speak to, but it seems to have been reworked here (I assume) to fit in pretty well with the album’s surly, groovy tone and the band’s style as I would have no idea it was a cover if I had not looked it up. And it actually ends up being a pretty enjoyable little number. Overall another solid release from Hypnotic Dirge and a band that’s perfectly suited for the label.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
April 30th, 2015

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