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Turbid North Plays Last Show on Road in Austin Before Returning Home

Turbid North possesses many facets that make them an attractive concert prospect. The group plays a style of extreme metal that is mellow and malevolent at the same time. They have released two albums, and now they’re backed by Unearth’s Trevor Phipps’ Ironclad Records. Turbid North’s story is of interest, too. Their members migrated from Alaska and England to north Texas. Still, the group expressed their concern about packing clubs in unknown markets.

I reassured bassist, Chris O’Toole that their performance at Head Hunters would be a success because the opening, local bands would help pack the house. This is exactly what happened. Patrons came out to see Turbid North, but the large bill of bands playing on two stages resulted in nearly filling the couple-hundred capacity inside Head Hunters. Bands such as Whore of Bethlehem and Vex feature members with a long history in the Austin metal scene, so they brought their share of fans.

Whore of Bethlehem pounded and pressed their way through a pernicious set of black/death metal. Vex showed no sign of jet lag as they performed melodic black metal odes to nature, philosophy and literature. Their eclectic mix of heavy and hard with soft and harmonious music meshed well with Turbid North, who pulled no punches, and ran the gamut of moods. Songs such as “Wolves,” “The Hunter” and even the instrumental “Kodiak” showed them honor nature’s beauty and grace but also its unmerciful, savage ways.

Fans trudged through a blinding blizzard of drum beats, churning riffs and grizzly growls to find a clearing in those harsh clouds. Turbid North’s abrasive stance often appeared fixed and unbending, like a granite statue affixed in concrete, but then a moment such as the instrumental, “Kodiak” eased patron’s heartbeats and created memorable parts distinguishing them from the rest of the death metal pack. Of course, lyrical and musical odes to nature and a blending of down-south, Texas groove with American death metal and a hint of deathcore (think Job For a Cowboy) casts them in a yellow highlight.

As mentioned above, Head Hunters is a narrow club that can’t fit a triple-digit crowd without uncomfortable, shoulder-to-shoulder proximity. The club isn’t even wide enough to accommodate all band members on stage. Each band placed at least one member to play in the crowd. Turbid North’s O’Toole played his bass, for most of the set, on the floor amongst the crowd. Whether intended or not, this closeness created energy that lasted throughout the night. Turbid North’s fears of low attendance were assuaged among the club’s tribal islander setting.

Check back with Metal Underground.com to read our interview with Turbid North.

Rex_84's avatar

An avid metal head for over twenty years, Darren Cowan has written for several metal publications and attended concerts throughout various regions of the U.S.

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