Northlane; ALIEN

August 2nd, 2019
Track listing:

“Details Matter”
“Talking Heads”
I love finding new music, and this hobby gives me the opportunity to be introduced to so many amazing bands throughout the world that wouldn’t normally be on my radar.
Scrolling through Reddit’s /r/metalcore this morning, I happened across an interesting thread title. “Northlane statement on Alien”.
The band’s facebook quoted, “When you listen to Alien for the first time, do it with an open mind and an open heart.” That peaked my interest. Aside from seeing their name in a press release, or on the line-up list for a European or Australian Festival that I’ll never attend, I’d never heard of this band before. I really need to start giving every band I come across a solid open minded listen.
I know what you’re thinking. “Why would this guy even think he can review and album from a band he’s never heard of?” The simple answer is that because that’s what this album was crafted for. I don’t need to listen to the band’s other releases to know that “ALIEN” is a bombastic, kick-in-the-teeth, genre defying album.
After some Facebook research while listening to the band on Spotify, I got hooked pretty quick.  I’ll be honest though, I wasn’t too impressed with the band’s freshman and sophomore releases. That’s a trend with me and “metalcore” bands. I don’t much like Bring Me the Horizon’s first two albums either. Adrian Fitipaldes’ departure in 2014 and Marcus Bridge being recruited as his replacement seems to be the catalyst for the band’s stylistic growth with the release of 2015’s “Node”. “ALIEN” does have sonic similarities to “Mesmer” while still showing the band continues to evolve stylistically with each release.
“Details Matter”, the album’s opening track, immediately stood out to me. Bridge screaming “You can’t make me disappear. You tried to break me but I’m still here” during the chorus is both visceral and unrelenting. The album opener should always set the tone for the entire album, and Northlane chose a track that meshes extreme techo based trap beats with thrashing underground punk guitars and gutteral screams. It doesn’t stop with the opener though. There’s an industrial trance element to “Rift”. Kind of like what I would imagine if Deftones were trapped in Tron’s The Grid. There’s a level of aggression and accusation hiding within the smashing drums and churning bass lines of “Bloodline”. Lyrically speaking, Bridges’ splays himself open for the entire world to see on “4D” and leaves himself emotionall exposed on every track.
Its like the band took the best elements from their favorite genres and Frankenstein’d them together into an incredibly imposing and monstrous soundscape.
What the fuck are these dudes like live? I’m very intrigued to find out how well these tracks transition into a live setting. I can’t imagine their stage energy is anything less than stellar. Northlane haven’t toured the U.S. since 2015, so I recommend you catch them this round.
I leave you with the full statement posted on the band’s Facebook page this moring;
At midnight tonight, our 5th album Alien will appear on all digital services, and in the morning it will be on shelves in stores.
This album started its life a very long time ago. When I think back to when it began for me, it was sitting with Marcus at his house listening to the first demo Jon had sent us to start working on. Jon was in a bad place at the time, and the mood of the music was dark, brooding and angry. We tried to write a vocal for it but nothing we came up with gave it any sort of justice. I suggested to Marcus we explore his past, it was the only thing I could think of that would possible be fitting. He said to me “I wouldn’t know what to say, and even if I did, I don’t think anyone would care”. He couldn’t have been more wrong. This album began for him two decades ago. We dug deep, well beyond the realms of what we thought possible. We pulled every morsel of pain and frustration out of ourselves, and redirected it into a collection of songs that have made us prouder than anything that ever came before.
We wrote these songs without fear, without boundaries and without any restriction. We’ve shared a story so personal and painful it almost broke us in the process. It was the most cathartic exercise we ever undertook.
While everybody interprets music in their own unique way, we just have one thing to ask of you. When you listen to Alien for the first time, do it with an open mind and an open heart.
– Josh & on behalf of Brendon, Jon, Marcus & Nic.f1018479-7335-427a-ad23-728b0c682b5c