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Album Reviews : Northlane – Node

By on August 4, 2015

32bd2094946218f196ceb43c9be318e00I have reviewed a fair few metalcore releases in the last 12 or so months. I used to be a huge fan of the genre when I was a bit younger, not quite as much anymore. That being said, it has been so interesting to follow the development of the genre in the past five years. Maybe it is just me, but I think it is really noticeable that many of the bands are growing out of the (mostly) hated cliché that they have become. I guess it comes with age for many of them. Bring Me The Horizon, Asking Alexandria, We Came As Romans are just some of the bands that have developed a more mature sound.

I haven’t listened too much to Northlane in the past so I will refrain from comparing Node with their older material a great deal but it feels like the band has grown, matured, and their sound really benefits from this. I also think that the departure of vocalist Adrian Fitipaldes was a blessing in disguise in a way. Marcus Bridge is very talented and it feels like the band has chosen to adapt their sound with his vocals in mind. The trademark progressive influenced metalcore has morphed into a more melodic driven post-hardcore sound. One thing that makes Northlane stand out from a lot of the competition within the metalcore genre is the great musicianship. They really display that musicianship in a brilliant way throughout the entirety of Node.

The album kicks off with “Soma”. It serves as a way of establishing the fact that Northlane are back.  They could’ve chosen to give up when Adrian left the band, but here they are, producing the best Northlane material I have heard up to date. The first 90 seconds of “Soma” are absolutely mind-blowing, only to be followed by a trip into a melodic realm that I haven’t quite heard in some time. Here is where Bridge truly shines, his clean vocals are just as eerily beautiful as his growls are brutal.

Next up is the single “Obelisk”. This is a very groovy mid-tempo song that I think fans of the genre will find appealing. It feels like a logical single choice. There’s a brilliant blend of heavy and melody here that is really quite addictive.

I feel that the first two tracks of Node represent the album as a whole incredibly well. The running order is 46 minutes in total, spread over 11 tracks. There is hardly any loss of quality towards the end which is impressing. On the contrary, the last track “Animate” is one of my favourites. While most of the album strays from the typically brutal metalcore path, there are still songs that will send the fans into a frenzy though. “Rot” and “Ra” are two prime examples of this, both serving as a nice change of pace.

The production of the album is pretty much the only (minor) issue I can come up with. I know that a fair few fans of the band complained about the vocals in “Obelisk” in particular. I don’t really think that it is that bad, but in places the growls especially lack a bit of punch.

I just want to commend Northlane for really embracing this vocalist change. I imagine that it would have been tempting to take the easy way out and release a “safe” record, but instead they chose to evolve, and the end result is really impressive.

About

Martin is an aspiring music photographer/videographer. He is originally from the southern parts of Sweden and now he's living in Sydney, Australia. Thanks to his older sister, he got into Rammstein at the age of 9, and since then he's been into all types of metal/rock. He loves to combine photography and music, but also filming concerts and produce live material. Follow him on Twitter and check out his website.