The mythic, cosmic entities that make up Northlane are granting us passage into their mesmerizing dimension as scheduled for their yearly/biyearly discoveries of new sounds we non-alien folk call music! You’re Node quite ready for a full length, so we’ll have to settle for a singularity of sorts.
Before we dive into the inferno we now know as ‘Dante’, let’s take a spin back on the record player and give a little appreciation to the evolution that got the Sydney hellions 2x ARIA #1 award-winning albums. Truly diving deep into the production world this album was enveloped in unique, wildly variated guitar tones, copious distorted vocals, and out-of-this-world synth. This is Alien (2019). Front runner for the album ‘Bloodline’ left the biggest impact with prominent meaning behind the single from vocalist Marcus Bridge. Telling the soul-wrenching tale of growing up in a less than ideal environment while dreaming & striving for the strength to leave it all behind you. Continuing on the passage of pain with a more aggressive and energetic tone came ‘4D’ with its jolting drum beats, excessively hype synth, and raw face-spitting screams. An explosive chorus poignant in the dark cloak of grief, feeling responsible or guilt for a loss out of your control.
Now, I won’t make an Obsidian rock joke like my wonderful colleague did (appreciate you Alex) but unlike the 5-6 Mohs Hardness Scale, this album was definitely harder than diamonds. Honing in on a refined version of their predecessor along with more of a balanced feeling, ‘Clockwork’ took the band to a new level within their musically ascending chain. Solidifying the electronic samples into an adrenaline-pumping fusion to really fill sound around the low end djenty chugs. The vocals flow well between lighter tones, maximum head voice use, and gravelly screams that bode especially well when expressing the desperation latched onto the chorus lyrics. Of course, we can’t go without mentioning venomous, hard-hitter ‘Carbonized’ meant as a strong reminder to stop praising artists that cause damage or harm to others, and their actions disregarded because of idolism. The bassy intro slammed along in barbaric disarray on Josh Smith & Jon’s lowest strings and earth tremoring yells that plunge the message straight into the audiences head, just as intended.
Anyway, let’s discuss the reason we all woke up at 8am, ‘Dante’. A hefty open/palm muted intros the song to open arms up for Jon Deiley to switch to his synth pads for the first verse while Nic Pettersen decimates the hi-hat and snare to accentuate the synth’s power behind a very well-aged softer toned vocal, wrapped in graceful falsetto backing from Marcus. All guitars kick back in for an ethereally, widescreen chorus where Marcus’s well known, top-of-the-vocal-range strains are kicked to a head-sweating intensity. As always Northlane create such a cinematic theme with their sound, and with dance-driven rhythms, pronounced well flowing beats and another added dose of surviving the stages of grief, the quintet seem more unstoppable than ever. Coming back from the chorus we’re kept with the same djenty verse as heard previously but with an added variety of Jon’s reverb & delayed lead to keep things fresh within the song. Heading towards the end of the last chorus we come full circle in the song with an outro of slammin’, technical chugs we know are never too far away in the Northlane formula, but are caught off guard with a placid piano takeover, circulating the dreary undertones behind the tune.
We couldn’t have had that vintage, heavy, masterful sound without the help of producer Will Putney who you might remember from I don’t know, a few treasures called Discoveries, Singularity & Node, the things that gave Northlane the base foundation they stand proudly atop of today.
A new branch of inspiration seems to be rooting for our djonty giants, leading into a new rift of endless possibilities, and we are always down for the trip. Getting ready to leave scorch marks on their trail-blazing tour across home planet Australia, The Dante Tour will be sending down reinforcements ERRA, LANDMVRKS, & Banks Arcade to round up the people before Northlane beams them into the mothership for an out-of-this-world show!
Words by Ed Atlas @YourFavouriteMerchGuy
Stream ‘Dante’ here