Crippled Black Phoenix – Banefyre13th September 2022
Hexenaltar – Tormented Possession21st September 2022
Label: Les Acteurs Des l'Ombre / Release Date: 1st July 2022
½ Southern North is a Greek one-man act that has been around for the last nine years. Callling it anything other than experimental would be to do the project a massive disservice – Especially considering that their debut album, Narrations Of A Fallen Soul has been described by drawing upon elements from Black and Doom Metal, then sieved through a traditional musical production. The end result is, unsurprisingly, not quite like anything else I have come across for a long while.
Case in point: The second track on the record carries the title ”Hearts Of Hades” and plays more like a Neo-Folk piece musically than any of the two inspirational genres mentioned above – That being said, the sheer oppressive atmosphere the album manages to build and maintain carries strong Doom Metal parallels. Everything is conveyed slowly, intensely with an almost menacing attention to detail, one I haven’t come across to such an extent since I had the pleasure of reviewing the first two albums from Dawn Of A Dark Age (another Black Metal but classically styled band). And said approach matches the intent of creating a modern Greek tragedy perfectly. Not at all what I was expecting when I gave the record the first spin (which, incidentally is also the reason why this review took a while to surface), but most certainly an approach to musical storytelling that rewards the listener, if you manage to get into the correct state of mind for it.
As far as the overall mixing and production of the record goes, it is likewise apparent that the musical mastermind behind the release knows how to tell a story. While not precisely starting off silent, it does manage to slowly escalate and add to the ambience throughout the sixty-five minute long runtime of the album, conveying its story of misery and despair quite aptly, due in no small part to the powerful voice present throughout all seven tracks. Not to mention that I am not too proud to admit that a Bathory cover (in this case ”Song To Hall Up High” almost always will please me to see and hear – This one no exception.
Below, courtesy of the band, can be found a link to the album in its entirety, so once again there is no need to take my word for it. I will however, always advise people to support the artists if you like what you hear, whether that would be buying the record or going to see the band live. Who knows, I might just see you there.
Recommended for fans of Dawn Of A Dark Age (see above) as well as Cruel Wonders.