Northlane’s ascendancy to the upper echelons of Australia’s music scene has been marked by a strong series of releases, each one expanding on the one before.
Their shift has been gradual but always forward-thinking, with an approach and market-savvy that pushed them ahead and above a crowded field. Refusing as always to rest on their laurels, Alien takes Northlane into further unexplored territory, a dark, heavy and extraordinarily personal place inhabited by demons and a reality of nightmares.
While vocalist Marcus Bridge exorcises his tormented past with his most powerful and diverse performance so far, the band have added influences from industrial and EDM while drop-tuning even further, new bassist Brendon Padjasek brings in a further dimension of heavy with a distinctly low tone, revealed right away in opening track ‘Details Matter”s enormous bass loops. That nu-metal sound infiltrates every song, especially where Bridge switches to a Davis-like groan, but it never over-runs them. Instead, Northlane keep their album interesting with an array of sounds, styles and textures.
Their heavy-handed progressive djenty-metalcore ever on display, Northlane have integrated deep synth grooves, dark industrial noise, electro beats and samples, all meshing with scratchy guitar, ultra-low bass rumbles and bone-jarring breakdowns like the absolute crusher in ‘Talking Heads’. Tied in with Bridge’s vocal dexterity as he screams, croons, groans and (occasionally) sings, the sheer depth of creativity on display across Alien only strengthens Northlane’s reputation as one of the country’s most forward-thinking bands. It’s still Northlane, but totally unlike anything they’ve done so far and nothing really like anyone else is doing either, breathing new life into not only one but two stale genres, a cyber-gothic-industrial djent landmark.
- Details Matter
- Talking Heads