Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Lords of the North-Lords of the North

May 1, 2008

Lords of the North – Lords of the North

Self-released

Heavy, low, old-school metal that’s impressive in its songwriting power.

I’m not much for modern metal. The mentality that states, “The faster and louder we play, the better we are,” just doesn’t click with me. I don’t feel that it’s true. Lords of the North agree with me.

Lords of the North play slow, bottom-heavy old-school metal. Blues is its father, distortion its mother. Southern rock is its distant cousin. It’s the type of music you bang your head slowly to and throw up the metal horns without irony or shame to. There are riffs that are only measurable in the megatons of weight they carry. This is heavily influenced by Black Sabbath, but it never feels trite. This feels unabashedly awesome.

There is nothing complex about the formula that the Lords of the North employ: they just employ it astoundingly well. The guitar has the same crushing tone throughout. The bassist plays moving lines that are actually audible. The drummer keeps the slow tempo rock solid. It’s not crawling; it’s epic. Everything that Lords of the North do has a certain majestic feel to it.

There’s nothing left to chance – everything is deliberate, and the tempos are just the most obvious outworking of their ethic. The guitars are incredibly tight – never dropping or obscuring the rhythm. In a metal world where sludge is king, this type of heavy precision is almost unheard of. I can tell everything that’s going on in these songs, and that makes them all the better.

The vocals are the icing on the cake. They’re classic heavy metal – not a snarl or a shriek, but more of a condemning howl. They mesh perfectly with the sound, especially on “Follow the Falcon.”

There’s only six songs on the EP, but they average over six minutes each. These are epics in every sense of the word. Their length belies it, the performances declare it, and their ethic employs it. These performances are incredible – from the fast-paced chug of “Beams of Light” to the dinosaur stomp of “Loyal Legion” to the truly evil sounding “The March.”

This band is heavy. It’s not especially distorted (in the modern sense), it’s not especially fast, but it is unbelievably low and merciless. These are fantastic old-school metal songs that don’t sound old or dated. I am completely astonished at the power that Lords of the North are able to create here.

Stephen Carradini

Stephen@Independentclauses.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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