Before I dive into the music, the press release about this album referred to Northlane as an “Australian progressive metal outfit,” which for me conjured an image of Robert Downey Jr. in the Ironman suit with an Australian accent. So… I’d say that’s accurate.
If you’re someone who has followed the rise of Northlane, you’ll know they held open auditions to replace Adrian Fitipaldes last year. If you were not following Northlane, now you know. If you were following but didn’t know that Adrian left then a) you should leave the rock underneath which you live more often, b) you call yourself a fan? Dick… and c) fear not ’cause new singer Marcus Bridge is Uh-mazing.
I had very high expectations for Node because let’s review the facts: Singularity was one of the best metal albums of 2013. But, the aggressive, throaty scream/yell of Adrian’s vocals accentuated the mood of Northlane’s albums. With that element missing, would it drastically change the sound of the band?
The answer is “sorta, yeah.” I’ll try to explain the new vibe the best that I can with words, albeit words are like arms without bones when trying to describe sounds that evoke images of dreamlike landscapes where Earth physics don’t necessarily apply and neither does Axel Rose’s depiction of “Paradise City,” which in retrospect seems like an awfully vague representation of a city in Paradise. Yes, the grass is green, but isn’t that the case in lots of places? But, I digress.
The drums appear in the forefront of many of the songs, ghost notes abound, fundamental in making this album much more dynamic than the previously, more overdrive guitar-driven albums where listening to the album felt like sitting right in front of the guitar cabs. That’s not to say that the guitars don’t have their aggressive moments, but there seems to be more of a discrepancy between the peaks and valleys within songs. This, paired with new singer guy Marcus, creates for a wide array of emotions.
Marcus works his voice throughout the album much like a guitar player would his/her foot switch with clean tone, crunch and overdrive, and it’s magnificent. Don’t know if he’s responsible for writing the vocals in “Ra” (Due to the line-up and role changes. He very well may have. I simply have no idea), but they are so delicious. My internal monologue debates whether “Ra” or “Animate” is my fave track. They both feature incredible hooks, for which I am a slut, and the guitars remind me of post-grunge, which coupled with Northlane’s progressive take on metalcore makes for some pretty good listenin’. I mean it’s a pretty delectable sauce.
Ambience or “ambiaaaaance,” if you’re an asshole. That’s the word, atmospheric ambience, a buffet line of atmospheric ambience that starts in the hollow Earth underneath Giza and ends in Ra’s bathroom. Nailed it!
Run Time: 44:59
Release Date: July 24, 2015
Check out the album ‘Node’ here.