Northlane’s fifth studio album Alien brings their distinctive sound back to fans next month. Vocalist Marcus Bridge says, “I was raised in hell, but I made it out” and made a goal of this album to tell a story of perseverance from a dark childhood. Listeners should expect more powerful instrumentals then they may be accustomed, with powerful tracks in similar vein to the two released singles, Bloodline and Talking Heads. Ensure you take a break from appreciating the instrumentals to listen well to the message of this album—it is clearly a passion project splitting at the seams with less of their traditional futuristic themes–and more a well-woven tale of broken home, unusual childhood, and survival through bullying. Look out for the band this August and September with Erra, Currents, and Crystal lake during their North American tour, with a European headline set for November and December with Silent Planet and Void of Vision.
The Album opener, “Details Matter” sets the pace for the album with fast tempo and aggressive vocals. The second track and first released single “Bloodline” follows, bringing the same passion conveyed in its accompanied music video released in April.
4D is the first song of the album to lean into vocalist Marcus Bridge’s clean lyrics, before hard-shifting into their iconic synth-incorporated breakdowns. The fourth track and second released single, Talking Heads, was up next. The song keeps on theme with the rest of the tracks by starting heavy and remaining so with only a short slowdown to allow through some clean vocals. Free Fall is a solid song for fans looking for something more akin to some of their top hits such as Quantum Flux from 2013’s Singularity.
Jinn picks up the pace with heavy synth bass and some clean vocals scattered through the screams. Eclipse, the 7th listing, reminded me a lot of what Nine Inch Nails, much like Bloodlines chorus reminded me of Korn—Small hints of possible influenced infused with Northlane’s signature instrumentals. The following track, Rift, is a better fit for someone looking for a slower paced, melodic tune with clean vocals. It seems to play as a soft intro into the more aggressive follow-on—Paradigm. The second-to-last tracks, Vultures, play much like the climax of a film. It leads directly off Paradigm to deliver strong instrumentals and a powerful breakdown around the final third.
The album ends on Sleepless. Mostly slow and quiet but ending with a bass-heavy riff, Sleepless plays as a great sendoff for an album that plays like a rollercoaster of emotions that is obvious holds a lot of meaning for its creators. Check Alien out on August 2nd.