Norilsk – Japetus

Japetus EP - photo band

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 Japetus EP - artworkrelatively 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 @


RingMaster 31/07/2014

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shEver: Rituals


There has been some impressive doom and heavily weighted sludge driven releases this year and right up there with them is the storm of sonic destruction Rituals from Swizz metalers shEvers. The six track album is colossal, a tempest of death spawn tar thick doom aggression to consume and erode the senses.

Formed in 2003 by guitarist Jessie and original drummer Melanie, with bassist Nadine joining soon after and vocalist Alex the following year, the all girl band unleashed their first demo The Mirror in 2004 as well as playing numerous shows across Switzerland including a show with Place Of Skulls. Two years later their debut album Ocean Of Illusions was unleashed with the current line-up coming together with Sarah replacing Melanie on drums in 2007. Across the years the witches of venom have played with bands such as Jex Thoth, Esoteric, Amenra, Saturnus, Ahab, Esoteric, and Obelyskkh, successfully played many festivals, and released the well received EP, A Dialogue With The Dimensions in 2009.

The band recorded Rituals in 2011 with its CD release this year coming through Total Rust, the label having already approached the band about releasing their debut at the time though it never came to be, and Svart Records for the vinyl release. It is a consumptive assault of tempestuous sounds and oppressive shadows which envelope and smothers the senses mercilessly and constantly.  The sounds overwhelm and
constrict the air sucking its energy into the malevolent mire of intense and thick ravenous energy. It is not all death and decaying shadows though as the band infuse squealing and incendiary sonics throughout to ignite the passions fully.

The opening Ritual Of Chaos is a crawling hateful slab of metal, its haunting atmosphere spliced with intrusive insanity enforced by the excellent rabid bestial vocals of Alex. It is sinisterly tense and dramatic, the riffs towering and their crushing presence impossible to defend against, though why one would want to avoid such a compulsive and welcome violation that the band lay upon their victims is unimaginable.

The outstanding and best track on the album Delirio feasts next with its equally suffocating ambient mass and provocatively engaging melodic charms. The song is beauty in its every form, the decayed breath and deathly atmosphere as glorious as the synapse burning sonic imagination and hungry predatory basslines. As with the majority of the album everything comes at a lumbering dragging pace and intensity but the effect is a mesmeric trance inducing weave though the meditative result is of nightmares rather than splendour. The song evolves into a delicious sludge riot for its climax to again unveil the strong invention and imagination of the band.

The following tracks like the hypnotic bruising that is Je Suis Nee and the stunning Souls Colliding with its plunging disturbed soundscape simply leave one in total absorbed bliss, suffering at times but welcoming every intrusive manipulation and caustic rub. The second of this pair really is majestic, the merging of the blackest pit and strongest sun a perfectly merged clash of extremes.

Closing with the almost grunge fuelled sludgefest of (You Are) The Mirror and the punishing crawl that is  That He Na Te, the album is an immense and fully satisfying violation upon the senses. Rituals is one of the best genre releases to eat the senses this year whilst placing shEver as one of the prime doomers around.

RingMaster 14/09/2012

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