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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: Comply or Die bow out with stormer album in the shape of Northless

AND, lo it was foretold that all good things must come to an end...and Comply or Die have drawn a neat line from their birth to their demise with this, their third album, 'Northless'.

But, if you are going to allow your band to die, do it with style; a style resonating with hardcore, punk and prog metal in a furious assault on the senses of the unwitting listener.

From opener 'Meridian' it is clear that while the raw energy of the band is still evident there is a more mature approach. By the time that you reach 'Argonaut' it is clear that recent developments towards progressive noise have not past them by.

While the snappy 'Cultus' is on familiar territory, with two and a half minutes of riff-laden fury.

However, the seven and a half minute 'Iron Mountain' displays sensitive arrangements amidst the range of sludge, technical, death metal and atonal sections of this track; a track that unfurls its depths after a number of listens.

And, in many ways while most tracks on 'Northless' are likeable on first listen, once you hit them up two of three times they reveal elements of pure hard rock joy, joy and fury.

While the band called it quits after recording this, there is almost a prophecy within the lyrical theme, casting a sceptical on a dystopian world, and despairing over the foibles and frailties of fallible humanity.

From the full speed 'Architecture of War' there is a sense that all is not well out there - and halfway through the track there is a riff many a band would envy.

While 'Agon' has a hardcore feel it has metallic weight behind it, muscle bound noise, providing a contrast to the groove-laden 'Bishop', which has a real sense of experimentation. Closer 'Dagon' is a sub-two minute romp, with great guitar work and tight bass and drums.

So, that all said, is this a fitting coda for Comply or Die? On one level, yes. On another 'Northless', after a couple of spins just makes one think that we want to hear more.

What Matt, Michael, Ian have achieved is an album that is challenging, at times radical, and wrapped up Comply or Die's all too brief career of raiding the noise cupboard to provide us with delights.

Goodbye Comply or Die...

Review by Jonny
Northless, as well as Comply or Die back catalogue releases can be bought at www.complyordie.bandcamp.com

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