As their biography states, “norc is an experience.” Are you ready? To make dreamy music of “questionable genre,” norc’s hope is to tell stories that rattle your most suppressed emotions and to bring people together through music – to prove we are all truly connected. Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, all members originally hail from the rural Annapolis Valley. Formed in June 2017, norc has had the pleasure to play well known venues such as The Marquee and The Seahorse in Halifax and won Bronze in The Coast's "Best of Halifax 2018 - Best Experimental Band" category. Their debut EP with ginseng and honey represents a culmination of where the band is in their journey, and a solid look into their artistic vision. The EP was recorded over nine months at Codapop Studios and Northern Swarm Audio, where it was also mixed/mastered.
The group loosely classifies itself as an experimental rock band with influences in psychedelic rock, math rock and progressive rock/metal. norc identifies with the title "genre bending" as every song has a distinct tone to it. They are likened to Tame Impala, which happens to be one of their biggest influences. Math rock elements from bands like Chon and Elephant Gym, and psychedelic influences like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and Pink Floyd, are also a big part of norc’s sound. As closet metal heads, you might hear how heavy they can get, as bands like Coheed and Cambria, Metallica, System of a Down and Sleep have all inspired them as well. With Zachery Hazelwood on guitar, Ryan Holland on drums/percussion and Christiana Armstrong on keyboards/synthesizers and vocals, norc explains that at the end of the day, they are “just a group of hopeless romantics showing you the depth of our souls through sound waves.”
“Tulip” begins with a lofty, billowy style and sound, and overall there is a lot of emotional feeling packed inside this opener. “Riviera Paradise” features a jumpy styled rhythm and a “music box” sound of the synth by Armstrong. If you like a snare drum that has that tight, snap sound, you’ll like this one. What stood out for me most, besides this number being an all-instrumental one, is the band’s overall arrangement of styles, progression and Armstrong’s experimental use of the synths – quite unique. “Arizona” flows easily along with a dream-pop style to begin with but then the band ramps things ups with an edgier sound in the chorus. The band leaves some room for a more spacious sound during the interlude and overall, I thought this one had an inspirational feel to it.
“Equinox” jazzes things up a bit with a peppier beat, in between the more echoing and spacious verse parts. Guitars get a little edgier here too. What I liked best is the band’s jamming rhythm towards the end. Lastly, there is “Obsidian” which features an even edgier guitar style, part metal rock/part experimental (especially further into the song) and more of Armstrong’s excellent synth work. This instrumental gives the listener another great sampling from this Canadian band. Personally, I think the instrumentals were one of the band’s hugest strengths and I tended to like this one a bit better than “Riviera Paradise.” If you like bands that are not afraid to mix sounds and bend genres, then you should like norc. For now, the group looks forward to expanding their vision in every way and is currently planning a Canadian tour next year.
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