Canadian duo Northumbria’s combine ambient drone with a post-metal aesthetic in their latest release Bring Down the Sky, an album which brims with both heaviness and beautiful melancholy. With layered textural walls of guitar, and deep rumbling bass, Northumbria create a stark, bleak atmosphere in an interesting release.
Transcendence opens the album with cold low frequency bass rumbling away in a heavy drone, bringing to mind Thomas Köner, while layers of guitar drone slowly swirl around to create a thick melancholy sound and it’s a great way to open the album. The Ocean Calls Us Home follows on with more turbulent bass drones, and a layer of fuzzy guitar to give a heavy oppressive atmosphere. Slow, distorted lead guitar cuts it’s way through the turgid gloom with a mammoth guitar tone, Jim Field wringing a melancholy wail from the neck of the guitar and it sounds fantastic.
In Ostara we have a less heavy track, with shimmering guitar textures layered beautifully in the manner of Stars of the Lid, a softer ambient track which gives the album a change of tempo, with the bass drones retaining that low frequency gloom that gives it the consistency. That they can do a track as brilliantly heavy and gloomy as The Ocean Calls Us Home, then follow it up with a warm relaxing one like this shows the duo’s talent. The Silver Forest provides a cross between the two styles, deep oppressive guitar and bass textures drone on, while shimmering swells of guitar flow in and out, the combination of which sounding like sunlight attempting to break through gloomy clouds.
The title track closes the album in a simply awesome way. Distorted chords echo and drone through a wall of sound, and it’s just massive. The repetitive chord pattern serves as an effective , while the lead guitar once again wails it’s melancholy song across the track, and the complete result is an a noisy, layered wall of feeling.
On Bring Down the Sky Northumbria have released a great album, combining metal with drone in an original way, drenching you in walls of wailing guitar, thick turbulent bass, and emotional playing. For fans of Stars of the Lid, Thomas Köner, and Sunn O)))
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