North: Metanoia

The Metanoia EP is the follow-up release to local trio North's The Great Silence (2012), which received glowing reviews from the likes of Alternative Press and Decibel magazine. The group is startling and innovative, boldly jumping into unexplored terrain.

While North's style is ostensibly stoner metal with avant-garde leanings, the band is far more than that. The breadth of integration of these sensibilities is seamless enough to invert the description and leaves Metanoia among the most groundbreaking rock music records made in years.

The four tracks on this release don't vary much in tempo or melodicism, but that's hardly a criticism. Individually, each song is epic in scope, mood and texture in Lawrence of Arabia proportions, and the EP plays as a suite where pummeling rhythms unfold naturally into gorgeous sections of near-ambient music and vice versa.

With nearly no discernible musical precedents to provide a guardrail of identification, Metanoia is challenging and unsettling, but ultimately thrilling. The effort spent exploring North's blurry world pays off in dividends, especially in the mind-blowing catharsis of "Nefelibata." It's not that Evan Leek's murky wailing belies much angst on the surface; the release is primarily in the excitement of hearing music as foreign as it is passionate. North is that rare act that just created a new genre.