CD: Ad Noiseam ADN57 [2006]

The Way Of The North
As Flies To Careless Boys We Are To Gods
Black Ocean Burial
Toppling Drunk Into The River While Trying To Embrace The Moon
Fimbul Winter

Four years after his "Implicit Structures" debut album, Canada's Nick Theriault returns with his follow-up "The Way of the North". While the raw noisy beats have gone, the deep bass, rich melodies and smooth rhythms are brought to the forefront to become the focus for this release.

"The Way of the North" is definitely a calmer, more mature album but still has an air of urgency, energy and dark atmosphere that will appeal to lovers of industrial and dark ambient music. The bemusingly titled 'As flies to careless boys we are to gods' for example is a rhythmic beat driven track that has an underlying air of tense urgency. "The Way of the North" has a very open, spacious feel to it that is perhaps reflected in the glacial and shore images depicted on the artwork. Precise clean rhythms are still very much in evidence throughout, giving the album an industrial edge while focusing more on the atmospheric and emotive qualities of the music. Behind every track there is a sweeping texture or cinematic soundscape at work building imagery and setting a mood, whether that mood is tense anxiety ('As flies to careless boys we are to gods') or dark futuristic desolation ('Verglas'). Theriault's tracks are interesting as they combine both elements, often starting out darkly atmospheric and building into a bassy noise infused rhythmic journey. 'L'Horizon' illustrates the point well, opening with a windswept polar landscape, the mood gradually shifts as massive bassy beats are introduced and the whole mood of the 10 minute plus track lifts as it unfolds. The intriguingly titled 'Toppling drunk into the river while trying to embrace the moon' on the other hand is an occasionally unsettling journey into industrial drum 'n' bass experimentation. Theriault's past is very much in evidence on 'Tundra' too with its low grinding bassy throb fusing with drifting synth textures and crunchy rhythmic beats increasing in urgency.

Theriault's shift in sound presents an interesting dilemma, his music not entirely ambient but not entirely industrial/noise focussed either. He manages to somehow inhabit the middle ground, combining moods and textures with dark menacing beats and rhythms while still showing a hint of humour and a funky side at the same time. The formula may need a little refinement but "The Way of the North" is an excellent progression.


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Antigen Shift: [Next To Departed]
Iszoloscope / Antigen Shift: [The Blood Dimmed Tide]

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