A few things need to be addressed before we dive in to this record. I am NOT a professional mix engineer, mastering engineer, or a producer by any means but: JUST BECAUSE A RECORD DOES NOT SOUND LIKE THE DRUMS ARE A BUNCH OF SHOTGUNS GOING OFF, AND THE GUITARS AREN’T SPLITTING YOUR EARS IN HALF IN THE MIX DOES NOT MEAN IT SOUNDS BAD. Folks are so used to these “processed” mixes with drums that sound like a monolithic juggernaut, and 808 bass drops that they don’t appreciate natural REAL drums, and experimental instrument arrangements. NORTHLANE (Rise Records) and company took a chance on this mix, and I find it very intimate and up close. It’s like you’re in the room with the band and they’re experimenting with dreamy soundscapes. If you want totally over-produced synth-core and what not, you can go find it elsewhere.
This record sounds like a dream. Hell, it feels like a dream. I’m not going to stand up and say it’s my favorite NORTHLANE album, but they did what not many bands can do: Almost completely change their sound and still deliver a solid and amazing product. Older albums have seen the band experimenting with their rhythm more than anything, which had them bringing a very heavy energy to every song. Node, however, shifts the band’s focus to the dynamics of the atmosphere in each piece. Now, in my humble opinion, bands who tend to step in the experimental direction can get lost in actually trying to be “out there” or “trippy” or what have you, but for NORTHLANE, it almost feels like their next logical step. A band doesn’t have to be insanely heavy forever. They don’t HAVE to play anything. They just need to do what makes them happy, and I think they have done just that.
It makes me happy to say that each song has its own flavor. You can definitely space out through this release and get lost in it, but each song has a particular ebb and flow that make them memorable. Of course, there are heavy moments that still bring a lot of energy, but most of the focus is now on the new vocalist Marcus Bridge. To my surprise, he came through! I didn’t know what to expect from a NORTHLANE that had a hell of a lot more singing parts, but it’s a very pleasant turn in the band’s direction, and something that can certainly be expounded upon for future releases. I don’t believe they’ll ever truly replace their old vocalist, but that’s perfectly fine, because they’re not writing to replicate what they’ve already done. They’re being mature and moving forward in their sound. Progressing. Some people absolutely disown bands for that…So fuck those people. NORTHLANE are making their own mark, and bringing their own take on heavy music. Keep it up gentlemen.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Soma”, “Node”, “Ra”