Norris is a metalcore act from Canada, and they have recently released “The Great White North” witch Year of the Sun Records. “The Great White North” is their first full length album after the release of two EP’s released in 2005 and 2008. Thick grooves and very dry playing lead this album to and fro across the metal spectrum, and never seem to stay in the same place. Now I don’t want to discourage anyone with this next comment, but to be honest it sounds really bad.
Now in saying this many people will think that I didn’t enjoy this album at all, but I did at some parts. I very much enjoyed Justin Sillman’s guitar playing, it’s just that mixed with everything else it sounds kind of crappy. The reason it doesn’t seem to fit with everything else is because Norris plays a very spastic brand of metalcore that relies on random beats and hard hitting drums that pound in your ears. This style of playing makes this album very hard to listen to at times, and causes much of my dislike for the album. The songs in general are full of sharp rhythms and random stops and starts that tend to throw me off every time I listen to the album. Now this may sound confusing, but Norris does right some very good riffs, and lines but the problem is that they will play them for a couple seconds than immediately switch to something different. Something I look for in metal is the ability to stay on one certain chord, riff, or line, and do something with it to progress your music and make it sound harder and more technical than it is. But, sadly Norris puts all their skill, which they obviously have, to waste with their spastic playing.
The one part of the album that I thoroughly enjoyed was the song “Peasant” which had very melodic overtones, and is a great piano piece. The problem, like with almost everything on this album, is that it didn’t go anywhere. It crescendos and then drops back down, and never really grips your, which seems to be a problem for Norris.
To be honest, Norris is a very skilled group, but they lack the maturity to stay constant on one idea. I feel that they are trying to get all their ideas out in one song, or album, and will have nothing left afterward. If they could do that, spread out their ideas, make them longer, and make them better they will have a very promising future. But, until then they get 2.5 stars for this one.