Vancouver Post-metal trio Magnetic North don’t do ‘short’. Their self-titled debut measures out a solid 45 minutes, with the briefest of the 4 songs flashing past at a mere eight and a half minutes.
With songs coming in at around 12 minutes, a band needs to mix things up a bit to maintain this listener’s attention, and Magnetic North try to do just that. To be sure, there’s an abundance of Cult of Luna/Latitudes-style dense and crunchy riffage, with occasional vocals sounding like a mountain lion being raped by a bear*, but that’s not all they’ve got. ‘Voyager’, for example, features a lengthy, chilled opening passage with far-away clean vocals before breaking into a brief gallop. Then quiet again. Then loud again. And there’s that bit in the middle where the bass and drums do all the work, which is nice.
Probably my personal favourite is ‘Athenaeum’, the shortest song on the album. Another slow build, with e-bowed guitar and some tidy bass work, to a fairly straightforward post-metal battering. It’s nothing extraordinary, or unique, but it’s just done really well.
Throughout the album, you’ll feel a touch of Isis, a dab of Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster, a bit of this, a hint of that... It’s a difficult genre in which to do anything startlingly original, methinks, and Magnetic North are unlikely to win any innovation awards, but they do the gnarly post-metal thing very nicely indeed, and that’s good enough for me. If Magnetic North were food, they would be a Marks & Spencer Egg and Bacon sandwich – tasty, meaty, well-made and satisfying, but something you don’t have to think too hard about.
*...Please note: I do not actually know what a mountain lion being raped by a bear sounds like. I’m only guessing. A swan and a badger, on the other hand...
Posted: Fri 19 October 2012