Norilsk - Le Passage Des Glaciers - (6/10)
Published on December 9, 2017
Genre:Doom / Death
Label:Hypnotic Dirge Records
Canada’s Norilsk were formed in 2012, naming themselves after Siberia’s northernmost city, which a quick Google search reveals to be one of the most polluted cities in the world. The band’s promotional material tells us that Norilsk is home to a famous heavy metal smelting complex, which may go some way to explain the choice of moniker. The band consists of two members, Nic Miquelon and Nick Richer and they play Doom/Death, citing their inspiration as the likes of Paradise Lost, early Anathema, Celtic Frost, Morgion and others. The most noticeable of those would have to be Morgion, due to the ponderous nature of much of the music on Norilsk’s second album Le Passage Des Glaciers.
Miquelon and Richer clearly understand how to produce big, imposing Doom/Death music as demonstrated by the dense sound they create. There are also good moments scattered throughout Le Passage Des Glaciers. The problems start when assessing entire songs. Despite several plays through, there are no tracks here that entice further listening and most are more of a chore than a pleasure.
One part of Norilsk’s music that may separate Doom/Death fans is the use of whispering. This may seem like a trivial matter, but given that it is deployed on a number of tracks and that I personally found it extremely grating, it could have the potential to switch off other listeners as well. For example, the slow rhythm section and whispering in opening track “Midnight Sun” is simply boring. A simple yet effective guitar riff later in the track is an enormous improvement, but it ends all too quickly and is a case of too little, too late. The whispers come out again in “Namolennye” accompanied by minimal music, but elsewhere it is one of the better tracks on offer, with some great, powerful lead guitar and excellent rhythm work. The song doesn’t quite hit the mark though, as it’s quite disjointed and is dragged down by the duller passages. “L’Érosion (Passage Pt. II)” suffers the same fate and the brilliant, uplifting guitars at the end of the track just aren’t enough to recue it. Album closer “Ellesmere” is whispering with barely any music at all and demands to be skipped.
It’s certainly not all band and along with the outstanding sections of songs already mentioned, there are a couple of worthy tracks as well. “Le Puits De L’Oubli” is powerful Doom/Death, with varied pace and riffs and is pretty good. “Noirceur Intérieure” is probably the standout song, with really catchy, memorable riffs, some excellent guitar leads and Miquelon’s harsh bellows round things off nicely.
Le Passage Des Glaciers is competent Doom/Death with some great moments, but others that are bordering on the tedious. By no means awful, but not one of the stronger releases from the genre in 2017.