Northlane – Mesmer
Released: 24th March 2017
Marcus Bridge – Vocals
Jon Deiley – Lead Guitar
Alex Milovic – Bass
Nic Pettersen – Drums
Josh Smith – Rhythm Guitar
Surprise Mother Fuckers, we’re calling today Northlane day following the band Surprise Releasing new album Mesmer after weeks of cryptic teasing and revelations of new songs. The surprise album idea can work in two ways, Beyonce did it and blew up the world (not literally) and Avenged Sevenfold attempted the same… and there’s still fans who haven’t even heard the album yet. But with the amount of hype the Sydney-siders had leading up to today, will it all be worth it in the end? Lets find out…
The album opens with latest single ‘Citizen‘ with rough riffage and front-man Marcus Bridge‘s sweet, yet alluring vocals amongst minor screams in the lead up to it’s chorus which sounds quite melodic (almost pop rock in some cases) but still packs a punch with the band behind him. The screams return and add an extra element to the message and theme of paranoia, vigilance and being aware of the fact you’re under supervision all the time. This
will be has to be be the band’s new opening song when they hit the road next month as it’s enough to bring you in, get sweaty and pumped about what’s to come. Next up we’ve got ‘Colourwave‘ which at first sounds like a song from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater with an intro that builds up and is greeted by rough unclean vocals. Nic Pettersen on drums is quite smashing all the way though (in a good way) and it’s fantastic to hear his progression since the band’s early days. For those wanting heavier Northlane, here’s your first taste of what Mesmer has to offer. Synth towards the end alongside an easy sounding guitar riff as the song fades out quite quickly and opens up ‘Savage‘ where the synth takes over and faint guitaring increases in sound only to blow up with the rest of the band joining in at the 25 second mark. Another heavy one for thirsty fans wanting to lap up the aggression and smash your head into every wall in a 2 meter radius. Things slow down towards the middle of the 3 minute mark, just enough for you to catch your breath.
The drums come back to kick off ‘Solar‘ with a slow incline to begin with and the pace is held throughout the song. Showcasing Marcus‘ singing abilities in this one, the boy can hit those notes with ease and the rest of the band are on point in this rocky ambient track. Fans on Youtube have discussed similarities between this song and Limp Bizkit and in some cases you can hear the nu-metal rockers shining through, but with Northlane‘s touch which is a great addition. David Bendeth who produced the album is such a knowledgeable legend with what he puts his hands on and you can tell he’s really helped the boys hit that mark they’ve been striving for. ‘Heartmachine‘ follows and the ambience continues into it. Sweet sounding is one way to go about explaining this dark almost sightly ballad-esque track, but either way it’s a banger and a stand out thus far.
‘Intuition‘ comes in at song number 6 which just so happened to be the first taste of this new album we heard, first at UNIFY, then online. The signature Northlane charm alongside heavy as fuck riffs and drumming with a combination of unclean and clean vocals really set this song ahead of the pack. The boys released their heaviest song first to bring us all in and it worked. Its really hard to fault this one so far it is the best track on Mesmer. If you weren’t a fan of the band’s new direction following former front-man Adrian Fitipaldes‘s departure, you should be after this one. Big call I know, but I stand behind it. ‘Zero-One‘ sounds like a combination of the insides of a computer running and what a mission to space would be like if they sent a heavy band along for the ride. At first there wasn’t really anything additional which caught my attention during this song however at exactly 2 minutes in, an unsuspecting breakdown BLEW MY FUCKING MIND with quite possibly the heaviest sound I have ever heard coming from Marcus Bridge‘s throat. I had to stop and go back to listen to it a further three times to take it all in and try to fathom what my ears were hearing. Completely forgetting everything I’ve heard before this point, instantly this one becomes the new favourite and they better fuckin play it on The Intuition Tour. Shit will be lost within a 10km radius. Big thumbs up to a band working together this is what we’ve been wanting to hear from the boys for so long.
Slowing things down again to lead into ‘Fade‘ which barely lasts longer than a few seconds before the pace is immediately sped up and melodic singing takes the lead. Its as if the band are working double time to produce an attention capturing song with elements of rock which has potential to be a mainstream success. I don’t know about you (when you hear the album) but it’s almost as if the whole second half of Mesmer is stepping up it’s game for a climatic ending and if the opening bars of ‘Render‘ are anything to go by, it’s definitely going to happen. The heavy is back with plenty of haunting chords and eerie ambience surrounds that compliment the anger forcefully protruding from Marcus’s mouth. I’m calling it now, this is the band’s best work to date. It has already overtaken Node in my opinion and proved that within a matter of years you can go from one level of progression to showing signs of an almost completely different side to your talent if given the right direction and help. Say what you will but Marcus Bridge has overtaken Adrian as my favourite front-man for this band. He is the future and together they are an unstoppable force.
‘Veridian‘ begins the final two songs of the album and to be honest, I’m not ready for it to finish just yet. This has been an adventure and a half of rediscovering a band I knew had the potential to be great and they’ve gone above and beyond with Mesmer. An assault on the senses with fast paced rock integrated with background synth ambience and a cross over of clean and unclean vocals take you on a ride from start to finish. If you only listened to the singles/songs released by the band via music videos, you’d be missing out on some of their best work to date. This is an example of an album you can listen all the way through and enjoy every single piece of work. ‘Paragon‘ rounds up the surprise release which has completely blown away all expectations and then some, slowly easing into the finale with robotic sweeps that drop just after the 1:11 mark and bring forth another heavy as fuck chorded monstrosity full of sexy as hell bass lines, now trademarked screams and faded melodic singing. Bassist Alex Milovic may not have had much attention on him before but right now all
eyes ears are on him. They boys give their all to leave a lasting impression on you and all that can be said now is when can I go back for another full listen?
Soooo close to perfection, this collection of 11 new songs could actually turn out to be one of the best albums of 2017 so far with so many elements that put it as a front runner to be Album of the Year material. I’m so glad Northlane delivered the goods, the hype was certainly upheld and worth the wait. Marcus Bridge, take a bow you’re the new OG of this band and you should all be proud of what you’ve produced. Exceptional listening for fans new and old.
Northlane – Mesmer tracklisting
Mesmer is Out Now