Usually when the term progressive is thrown around in musical terms, it’s hard not to think of bands such as Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree and Rush. But there are bands that take the fundamentals of the progressive genre and put their own unique twist on it.
In the case of Sydney’s Northlane, they fit that description by melding their hardcore/metalcore sound with progressive elements to create something that is musically technical, ferociously heavy and dynamic all at the same time and all is on display in their debut album release, Discoveries.
As soon as album opener “Dispossession” hits your ears with its bludgeoning groove, intertwining guitars, chopping rhythms and Adrian Fitapaldes’ mighty vocal attack, you know that Northlane are not some run of the mill “core” band. They mean business and lay waste to all that is within their path with plenty of musical technicality.
Tracks such as “Metamorphosis”, the unrelenting “Abrasumente” (featuring some crushing and intricate guitar work from guitarists Josh Smith and Jon Deiley), “Transcending Dimensions” and “Corruption” provide the heaviness that is derived from their aforementioned hardcore roots mixed with metal and progressive elements. But for all of that, the band throw in some different elements like clean guitar passages and gang vocals to further enhance the dynamics of their sound. On the other side of things, “Comatose” and “Exposure” sound brighter and a bit more upbeat with clean vocals added. They are somewhat reminiscent of today’s mainstream crowds without compromising their core sound.
The pair of “Solace” and “I Shook Hands With Death” close off proceedings nicely, the former mashing the brutality with Fitapaldes’ ambient clean vocalsand the latter being an all out assault that feels like going ten rounds with the champ showing no signs of submission. All of this is polished off by a mix from Will Putney (Shadows Fall, Suicide Silence, The Human Abstract) that is as dynamic and hard hitting as the music without hindering the music or performance at any time.
Discoveries is a fresh breath of air in comparison to what the myriad of bands setting the world on fire nowadays are delivering. The Northlane guys know how to write heavy music and they sure know how to play it from a technical standpoint very well. If you like hardcore (or heavy music for that matter) that makes you think while being attacked with brutality from all sides, there is no reason not to check out Northlane and their debut release. If you think hardcore started in the last five years, you might want to slowly work your way up to Discoveries. And if you aren’t the biggest hardcore fan, it is still worth a listen to appreciate the musicianship and production none the less.
Northlane are rapidly becoming one of the shining lights within their genre of progressive hardcore. They are surely taking aim at the bigger bands, both at home and internationally eventually to take their place in the music world.
4. Transcending Dimensions
10. I Shook Hands With Death