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South of No North - Phagocity Award winner

South of No North
by Mark Machlay at 13 October 2020, 2:34 AM

Groove metal band SOUTH OF NO NORTH formed in Naples, Italy in 2016 and have been working up a storm in the last few years. They sound like a mixture of old school groove metal like PANTERA, WHITE ZOMBIE and MACHINE HEAD with more modern experimental influences. Touting ironic and provocative lyrics expressing a desecrating vision of society, the band released their debut EP “Stubborn” independently in 2017. At the beginning of 2018, the band affiliated itself with Cult of Parthenope, a management and promotion agency, affording them much wider reach and a chance to expand and improve on their previous EP. By September an official video for a song featured on both their EP and soon to be released album, “Command” was released. While their touring plans may have been put on hold in light of the global pandemic, the band seem eager to jump into the live scene, adding live session bassist Emanuele Lombardi to the lineup alongside vocalist Guilio Mirabella, guitarist Roberto Tarallo and drummer Ciro Troisi.

There is a pleasant mix of groove, thrash and recent alternative metal not unlike LAMB OF GOD and “Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verse) era SLIPKNOT. Phagocity represents a more consistent vision of the sound that was still in its raw stages on their previous EP. The album is book-ended by the spoken word and overall unsettling sound effects, beats and samples of “D15F16UR3D” and ending with “(DISC OHM 4TH)”. Between these two tracks is an unrelenting freight train of some of the heaviest groove metal ever recorded. The narratives of the lyrics are bleak but presented in a sarcastic and mocking tone, telling the tale of sadness that is our modern reality in a light-hearted way. Featuring a bass solo from Emanuele Lombardi of BRVMAK, opening track “Inimical” features the unique blending of metalcore, death and even TRIVIUM-like clean singing – heavily processed, of course – highly syncopated stop-start rhythms and the start of some great cymbal work by Troisi. But the favorite track of mine is the centerpiece “Cinder”, beginning with a clean guitar opening and a short chugging build before speeding up the tempo for an open space chugging riff. The cherry on the top is the high clean singing of guest Julia Elenoir of 5Rand.

There are a lot of elements featured on these songs that a lesser group of musicians would not be able to pull off. Rhythmically, these songs are very complex for a band’s solo debut. I already mentioned the impressive cymbal work but there are other songs where the drumming of Ciro Troisi’s really shines. He displays his command over his four limbs in the complex breakdowns and offbeat rhythms littered throughout the record. Of particular note is the double bass runs and the section near the end of “I.N.O.F.Y.CM.” in which it sounds like the guitar and drums are playing in two different time signatures. He even gets a solo break in “Decapitalisam” that is so clean and impressive I did a double take. From the duet with the voice of SONNELuis Maggio – in “Nonceferatu” to the improved arrangement of “Indie Ass”, with the help of a few friends and working hard to improve on their previous effort, SOUTH OF NO NORTH are poised to make a big splash once the live stages start opening and these energetic compositions can show even more potential played live.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. D15F16UR3D
2. Inimical
3. Hail Seitan
4. Nonceferatu
5. I.N.O.F.Y.C.M
6. Cinder
7. Indie Ass
8. Decapitalism
9. Command
10. Black in Back
11. Klaatu Barada Nikto
12. (DISC OHM 4TH)
Guilio Mirabella – Vocals & Lyrics
Roberto Tarallo – Guitars & Bass
Ciro Troisi – Drums
Record Label: Cult of Parthenope


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Edited 30 October 2020

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