Loss breeds grief, an emotion all too familiar to Northless main man Erik Stenglein. Grief is a powerful emotion—often it is paralyzing—but eventually a person learns to grow around that empty, mournful feeling that would otherwise consume them. Those emotions mixed with a sense of purpose drive Northless’ new album, A Path Beyond Grief, to new heights for the band.
“A Path Beyond Grief is an album dedicated to all those whom I have lost over the last several years,” Stenglein said in a press release when the album was announced. “Too many loved ones have exited this wretched existence, and this record is to honor and preserve their memory. It is a testament to the sheer will and perseverance of the human spirit.”
Northless recorded the album at multiple locations over the course of four years, yet A Path Beyond Grief is cohesive and whole. Tracks like “Of Shadow And Sanguine” (which features additional vocals from Primitive Man’s Ethan McCarthy), the title track and album closer “Nothing That Lives Will Last” are strong examples of combining sludgy heaviness, post-black melody and mournful atmosphere in one place.
Stenglein reflects on the album as a whole:
“A Path Beyond Grief, our full length album number four (or maybe number five if you count No Quarter For The Damaged, which I do), was an effort that took the better part of the last four years of my life. I started piecing together songs and riffs slowly, without a specific concept in mind.
“And then, there were personal struggles and losses, and along with that came the pandemic. All of that had a direct influence on this body of work, and the title and the themes within capture that. I took every bit of sorrow and anger and put it into these songs.
“On a technical and musical front, I spent a lot more time working, reworking and cutting the proverbial fat until I had something that was concisely miserable. I wanted to push the sound of the band forward without leaving behind the central identity of the band. Overall, I think this album is the most successful merger of mournful doom and chaotic metal/sludge/hardcore to date. It eclipses all of our previous works in every possible way. If you were ever going to give your time and attention to a Northless album, make it this one!”
A Path Beyond Grief is out on July 22 via Translation Loss.