Listening to Japetus, the debut EP from Canadian metallers Norilsk, you feel the band may have missed their calling, for if anyone could make stark desolate wastelands and inhospitable landscapes a potent tourist attraction then this band could. It is exactly what they do on their introduction to the metal world, make stark doom drenched soundscapes some of the most alluring proposals heard this year. Forging a sound bred from intensive sludge and post metal, the band creates bait and presence which seduces as it savages to leave the listener grinning insanely as its predatory instincts sonically disembowel the senses. There have been a wealth of impressive first assaults from bands this year but Japetus stands head and shoulders above most with ease.
Gatineau, QC hailing Norilsk is the creation of Nicolas Miquelon (Damnus, The Great Russian Empire, ex-Kintra) and Nick Richer (Damnus, Doll, Outrage AD). Taking their name from Siberia’s most northern city, the pair’s sound has been infused with inspirations from the likes of Thergothon, Saturnus, and early My Dying Bride, spices bringing a further doom laden death metal quality to their invention. It is not a sound which is exactly revealing new pastures and adventures for the genres it employs yet it has a startling, riveting breath and voice which puts the band apart from the rest and into a fresh and compelling corner of its own. Ahead of their first album, the Japetus EP sets down an immense and enthralling, not forgetting exhilarating, base and teaser for upcoming horizons, whilst inspiring a hunger racked with greed.
The title track sets things off and instantly has ears and attention awake with its nagging riffs and acidic sonic wash which scythes gently but forcibly across the senses. Within seconds you feel there is a relentlessness to the song even in its relatively reserved stance at this point. Soon the guitar and bass predation of Miquelon is discovering a pungent snarl to which the beats of Richer add their intimidating punch. A Killing Joke like groove adds to the appealing lure before the guttural slowly crawling vocals of Miquelon prey on imagination and emotions. It is an irresistible enticing which erupts with intense crescendos before slipping back into its determined slow gait, riffs and grooves insatiably beckoning the passions. At over eight minutes by mid-way you wonder of the track will out stay its welcome but with inventive twists and that pure hypnotic pull of its repetitive ingenuity, there is never a chance, especially with the toxic melodic side step which permeates body and soul towards its conclusion.
It is a staggering opening which is soon surpassed by Potsdam Glo. The track is a swiftly established different kind of a beast, its slow predacious entwining of ears and synapses carrying a gentler though no less menacing gait and texture. The bass is pure demonic flirtation, its lure a throaty velvet to which the vocals of Miquelon offer a cleaner delivery than on its predecessor. Thoughts of Anathema and Isis make their hints but also earlier spices like Bauhaus and The Cure in just as many hinting ways. As it floats imposingly across the senses there is a meditative effect which embraces tenaciously though that lingering coaxing is subsequently buffeted by the increasingly volatile and threatening swipes of Richer. The songs climax is an immersion back into its melodically enthused seducing, a warm and invasive beauty swallowing ears and imagination.
Japetus is an extraordinary proposition, as mentioned not ground-breaking in sound but striking unique in presence and imagination. The CD version of the EP also offers a cover of the Voivod track Negatron, Norilsk twisting and transforming it into their own distinct version with insidiously dark throated vocals, ravenous intent, and an atmospheric malevolence which engulfs the senses. It is an outstanding track which makes the CD the more essential choice though no one will be left disappointed by the two-track download.
With that full-length imminent, Norilsk has made the most powerful and exciting entrance of any one this year. Japetus is aural brilliance ensuring that anticipation has nostrils flaring for the album.
The self-released Japetus EP is available now digitally and on CD @ http://norilskdoom.bandcamp.com
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