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Album Review: Node by Northlane - High School Assignment (Year 12)


Node, released in late July, 2015 is the third album by the five piece metalcore band Northlane. This third album has a vastly different sound and feel compared to the bands previous two, as their first two is much heavier and faster, with more breakdowns, whereas Node has a smoother and more ‘orchestrated chaos’ dynamic with more melody. These both favour and compliment Bridges’ vocals, as he’s better known for his clean vocals rather than his screams and growls. This is evident on his YouTube channel, as he’s made many other vocal covers before to showcase his superb singing prowess. Whether or not these changes are for the better or worse really doesn’t matter, as there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The listener can and should sympathise with the band and how their fans may react poorly to the changes. This is because the sound and feel they’re used to hearing has become this soft, outward thinking and melodically blissful yet aggressive sound.

This album however is the first of theirs which focuses on outward thinking, rather than inward thinking that is displayed on Discoveries and Singularity. These new songs focus on spreading the message of “you can be the change” and “we are all connected”, as evident in their single 'Rot'. These lyrics re-enforce the message of unity and interconnection within the races, with a common goal of creating change. A node is a term used to describe the intersecting or branching of pathways, so the album title certainly reflects the lyrics and messages that are expressed within.

It’s possible that inward thinking lyrics can repel or put off the listener as to think inwardly means to consume yourself with depressing or negative thoughts, which isn’t desirable for the audience of such an extraordinary band. It’s good to see a change up with the lyrics’ style, however, as outward thinking and positivity is highly expressed within Node, and will make the album more desirable to listen to because positivity is contagious and will make the listener happier, as they listen more and more.

Long-time listeners of the band can definitely see how their sound has certainly cleaned itself up and isn’t as messy and aggressive without purpose or direction. Ever since their Hollow Existence EP, the band has been tweaking and evolving their sound, it isn’t likely to stop either as every time that they do, it just keeps getting better.

Northlane, whose name is derived from the song “North Lane” by the British metalcore band Architects have released three studio albums; Discoveries, Singularity and their most recent album Node. Each album having a different sound and feel to it, are all unique and express different messages through the inspirational and positive lyrics within.

Due to the recent change in vocalists, the band went on a short hiatus, in which Adrian Fitipaldes was replaced with Marcus Bridge due to health issues, stemming from himself straining his vocal chords on numerous occasions. Because of this, Adrian decided it would be a good idea that he depart from the band so he could recover and focus on his well-being, whilst still staying creatively active. He plans to do this by writing more poetry and expressing himself however possible.

Marcus was first noticed by the band after Northlane notified the public that Adrian had left and would be in need of a permanent replacement. They did this by releasing a statement on the bands’ Facebook page saying they will be holding auditions for the new vocalist, and that if they wanted to audition they needed to upload a vocal cover of either “Quantum Flux” or “Dream Awake” to YouTube, as both songs have a mix of clean and unclean vocals. This opportunity ignited a public frenzy, as fans of the band began submitting their covers and auditions from all over the world.

The lyrics haven’t strayed from what Northlane are known for, as they’re still creative and aim to inspire the listener. The guitar riffs and chugs have evolved and adapted to support and accentuate Marcus’ style, as the soothing melodies of the guitars and drums combine with the vocals and create a wonder world for any listener that enjoys soft, soothing and occasionally heavy music with inspiring lyrics.

As for the future of Northlane, the band will be participating in a highly anticipated tour around Australia in November of this year with August Burns Red, Like Moths To Flames, Buried in Verona and Ocean Grove, visiting Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Their future albums will likely be a mix of the past and present, without trying to make a copy or version two of Node.

Some of the better known and more favoured songs on Node are: Weightless, Rot, Obelisk, Impulse, and Leech because they’re the heavier songs, with the exception of Weightless as it’s mainly a melodic track. These are because they’re what fans will most likely prefer to listen to and are more used to hearing from the band. The other tracks will still be listened to and requested at concerts, but there's just the factor of how the heavy songs will be being more preferred than the others.

There’s no doubt that Northlane have put blood, sweat and tears into this new album and that it wouldn’t have felt right for them to release a replica of their previous works and call it a day, especially as they’re such a progressive band and dedicated to authenticity. Also, that Adrian would also be very proud of them and all the good work that they’ve been doing recently, and will do in the future, as Adrian and the rest of the band are still on good terms.

I rate this album a 9/10.

[Originally written 09/09/2015, published 18/3/2017.]


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