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Turbid North - The Decline review

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Band: Turbid North
Album: The Decline
Release date: January 2023

01. Eternal Dying
02. The Oppressor
03. Slaves
04. Life Over Death
05. Patients
06. Drown In Agony
07. The Old Ones
08. The Road
09. A Dying Earth
10. Time

Sludge and death metal have always been unusual companions in blends, but ones that Turbid North could juggle. Though their material is sparse, The Decline finds them leaning the closest to stoner/sludge than they've ever been before.

Turbid North are a pretty interesting band from a bunch of perspectives, most of them shifting. First of all, as the name implies, the band originates in the north, more precisely a town in the middle of Alaska literally called "North Pole" (not to be mistaken for the actual North Pole, Turbid North are not Santa's elves). The time since that has seen partial or complete relocation to Forth Worth, Texas, which is like the complete opposite to Alaska, but also more fittingly stoner/sludgy. The band's first release was more of a groove thrash thing, but 2010's Orogeny saw them come out with a mix of death metal that bordered on the technical, with some metalcore-ish remnants from their early work, and most importantly some sludge in its slower longer songs. 2015's Eyes Alive pushed much further into that specific sludge sound, removing all traces of the early sound, but keeping a strong death metal element. So now comes The Decline.

With how much time has passed since the previous record, it's no surprise that Turbid North are putting a lot of evolution into The Decline. And perhaps the biggest change is that even the death-focused moments feel rooted in sludge metal in some way, somehow feeling more like a band that is exploring all these sounds from a sludge perspective. And the palette switched up the lighter side of the spectrum towards something closer to stoner metal as well, making the Mastodon and Baroness comparisons feel even more fitting. Although all of that more in a "how Mastodon and Baroness could have sounded like if they hadn't gone soft" kind of way.

A lot of The Decline's strength lies in its versatility within the sludge soundsphere, from alt rock crooning, long jams, crushing OSDM, groovy chugs, and atmospheric sections all working within the same framework, but I can't deny that it's the more pedal-to-the-metal sections that still get me the most excited. Even though little of it feels purely death metal anymore, the way these two sounds are blended in those specific sections still feels uniquely Turbid North-ish. Tracks like "Slaves", with the short and powerful fury come in contrast with the longer and more developed "A Dying Earth" types to showcase some impressive versatility. Some of the transitions might feel a bit forced, and some sections underutilized, but the scope that The Decline covers in a mere 40 minutes is immense by comparison.

Maybe more death metal sections would've made this even more head-bopping, but Turbid North's exploratory ways reveal versatile ways to not make that feel missed.

Written on 05.02.2023 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 32 users
06.02.2023 - 14:41
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Someone mentioned Alaska. Hmmm interesting place. Will spin this later on.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
06.02.2023 - 22:01

The band name make me think of rabies.... maybe just me.

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