Building on the stunning debut release Discoveries, Australian mob Northlane bring out all the stops making an even heavier, even more complex, even more melodic and intricate album than ever seen before. With an abundance of bands trying to recreate the exact same sound, against all odds Northlane manage to stand out and even lead the crowd with this perfectly crafted release.
Opening track Genesis starts with an impending sense of doom. A spine-tingling feed-back build up alongside slow and driving drums building the tension before the final drop of chugging guitars tears into the mix with the instantly recognizable electronic chimes breaks us into Northlane’s unique style. Scarab follows suit with visceral vocals breaking the ice after a melodic introduction with a fast pace suddenly dropping into a melodic underbelly, followed by a cacophony of bashing drums and crashing guitars that battle each other for prominence. Neither however are powerful enough to overcome the doom-mongering, ear-shattering, ultimately satisfying vocals that unremorsefully rip through the mesh of sound to drill the lyrics straight into your brain, whether you’d like them to or not.
Key track and favourite on the album, Quantum Flux, brings a whole different edge to the album with its slow, piano based introduction and almost schizophrenic qualities throughout shaking between a grinding, visceral high to a melodic and winding come down. It’s one of the least predictable songs of modern times. It rises and falls between a low, beating bassline with groaning shouts and high pitched chords almost too high for even dogs to hear.
Other notable tracks include title track Singularity which begins in a similar, sombre fashion with silence broken suddenly by bursts of echoing chords slowly piecing together to create a tapestry weaved together by harmonic guitar use, and a strange speech-insert atmospherically narrating this up-lifting piece with resonant drums reaching a final, climactic conclusion of pure, raw sound.
After such a spectacle, a lot rides on final track Aspire to carry the album out in style, and it delivers. It combines the unrefined qualities shown throughout the album in the form of edgy, meaningful vocals and the loud, untamed beat of the drums and takes it a step further, combining it with the sudden twists and turns of fast-paced guitar chords suddenly mellowing out and sudden interludes of silence and synth to create a track that brings together all the effort, technicality and differentiality that Northlane are trying to create, in one neat, fine crafted package.