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Album Reviews : Northlane – Alien

By on August 1, 2019

I feel like Northlane, and Marcus Bridge especially has endured unfair criticism ever since the vocalist replaced Adrian Fitipaldes five years ago. Node is a damn good album, and Mesmer set the bar even higher.

On stage, you’ve clearly been able to see the relationship between the band members grow, and as Bridge grew more confident with the style of music as well as his role within the band, his vocals steadily improved, and he is now the best thing that could possibly have happened to Northlane.

Ever since the release of the single Bloodline, it’s been evident that Alien would be one of, if not the best album of 2019. The way Bridge is sharing his deeply personal and raw story through this album is very brave, as well as necessary. It is the story of a survivor. The result of the lyrics, the extremely diverse vocals and the refreshing sound is the best album of Northlane’s career.

In this day and age, people use the term ‘heavy’ to measure quality. The heavier, the better it is, right? You’ve got your breakdowns and your tuned down guitars and that makes the music heavy. I find that plenty of modern metal bands are sticking to a preset formula with just slight modifications every now and then. Northlane has removed themselves completely from this way of making music with Alien. Sure, you have bursts of traditional Northlane shining through, but the way the band is effortlessly transitioning between genres on this album is absolutely incredible.

It is evident as soon as the alarming intro of Details Matter kicks in, that this will be a special ride. For a long time, people have had (loud) opinions about how Northlane should sound. It is clear that Northlane couldn’t care less about what those people think, as they launch into a real heavy-hitter with industrial undertones. “You can’t make me disappear, you tried to break me, but I’m still here” is like a mantra for the entire album.

Bloodline is an excellent example of how Northlane is effortlessly blending styles and genres throughout the entire album. It starts out almost like a radio rock-friendly track but quickly turns dark. You can also easily notice how versatile Bridge’s vocals really are, going from smooth cleans to rawer growls. 4D goes down a similar, albeit more extreme, path. Soaring and beautiful vocals turn into raw and anguished whispers, that are in turn replaced by one of the most brutal sections of a Northlane song ever.

You will notice that Marcus Bridge has poured his heart and soul into this album. It is an extremely emotional theme, and it seems like the band as a whole has rallied behind their frontman, allowing him to tell his story, not just through lyrics, but also by letting him experiment with his vocals.

Fans will already be familiar with the second single Talking Heads, as well as Vultures.

Northlane can do no wrong it seems. Rift and Sleepless have absolutely heart-wrenching lyrics, and despite being slower than what you’d come to expect, they are some of the best songs on Alien. On the flip side, you have songs like Jinn and Freefall, that can easily stand next to the likes of Quantum FluxRot and Dispossession.

Alien might turn out to be Northlane’s greatest achievement as a band. It is proof that they deserve to be standing next to giants like Parkway Drive and Architects.

Band: Northlane
Album:  Alien
Year: 2019
Genre: Metalcore
Label: UNFD
Origin: Australia 


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.