Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Northlane - Singularity

Australia has a plethora of bands producing top quality metal these days, and Sydney is no stranger to the metal scene. One of Sydney’s best up and comers Northlane have given us a new album this year, entitled Singularity, and it is chock full of djenty atmospheric metalcore goodness. Northlane help populate the ever popular djent ‘genre’ with a style similar to Volumes, Erra, Elitist, and many many more. Yes, djent is the ‘in’ trend. No, Northlane doesn’t tread any new water in djent, they do not do much of anything here to really try and separate themselves from the crowded genre they have chosen. But in the end all that matters is if they have crafted a listenable album, and in short, yes. Yes they did.

Now I will start with something I have been drifting away from liking for a while. I have been really picky with clean vocals in recent years. It does not help that many metalcore bands tend towards the whiny end of things, and while Northlane’s clean vocals are dancing a fine line towards whiny, they do not seem to bother me too much. The clean vocals tend to work really well with the synth filled atmosphere provided by every song on the album.

If there is one thing I can truly thank the djent trend for is that bands seem to understand more and more the importance of atmosphere and how establishing great atmosphere can make an album feel like a unit and give it a bigger sense of connection. Northlane have done a great job with the atmosphere on this album. Take the opening of ‘Quantum Flux’ for example, we get this eerie cleaner sounding guitar which we have heard a few times by this point on the album, but this chilling tone adds to the spacey atmospheric sound the album gives off. It helps boost the emotion during the quieter parts. Just before the two minute mark all the instruments drop out except for the synth and the vocals until a thunderous riff slam back in. It is moments like this that make this album truly worth the listen.

Now Northlane are not without their faults. Like I said before the album is not really branching out much; they are not trying to really experiment with this album at all. The lyrics on the album are not anything particularly special, they are spaced-out metaphorical lyrics that feel like they are trying to be deeper than they actually are, but thankfully there is not anything about them that feels overtly bad. Although they can feel a bit childish when we go from these pseudo metaphorical lyrics into something like ‘You're just a two-faced piece of shit’ which brings us back down to more generic metalcore lyrics, but luckily there are not too many occurrences like this on the album.

If you have any preconceived notions or hatred towards metalcore or djent, this album is not going to do a whole lot to change your mind about either or those, but if you are open minded, or (more likely) into metalcore and djent this album is one to check out. Northlane’s brand of djenty metalcore is not going to blow you away with newness, but if you are into hard hitting, slightly progressive metalcore this album is right up your alley.

If you have Spotify you can stream the album now:

Northlane - Singularity

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