07 October 2013
by Tom Doyle
Australia is having a jolly brilliant time of it when it comes to heavy music at the moment. Everywhere you turn there seem to be a ton of bands from down under gathering increasing momentum – particularly in the US and UK – across a broad spectrum of metallic styles. Parkway Drive, Be’lakor, Thy Art Is Murder, Psycroptic: crushing brutality is quickly becoming Australia’s best export since Dr Karl Kennedy esq. That’s all fair dinkum but you can’t just hang on to the coat tails of a scene and expect success to land in your lap. So what are Northlane then? Total legends like Steve Irwin, or total pieces of shit like Rupert Murdoch?
Well, Singularity starts off at pretty blistering pace, the opening brace of ‘Genesis’ and ‘Scarab’ introducing us immediately to the bouncing, thick toned guitars and throat ripping roar of Adrian Fitipaldes’s that remain the touchstones of the album throughout. The lean, muscular riffing has a tumultuous complexity to it but the band are clearly not averse to unwinding things into a bass loaded breakdown every now and then. Using these opening stanzas as a solid base, Northlane ably set about develop a sound which encompasses both hardcore smash n grab and more sprawling, dare we say ‘progressive’ elements.
Tunes like ‘Quantum Flux’, for example, give us a hefty burst of melody to mix with the off-ya-feet nu metal springiness. In fact, when they judge it right the Sydney Natives are capable of melding a perfect balance of punchy metalcore a la Architects circa Hollow Crown with more considered passages of slow-build insrtumentalism. ‘Masquerade’ fires out of the traps in a manner reminiscent of While She Sleeps before punctuating the rage with some shimmering pools of respite (a track only slightly tarnished by the disappointment of guest vocalist Drew York from Stray From The Path not even getting in a single BLEH).
While there is a tonal juxtaposition clearly present, across Singularity‘s far-from-enormous length it does begin to get somewhat two dimensional; HERE IS THE LOUD BIT and now here is the quiet bit. If this binary of expression could be whittled into something more cohesive or, frankly, something more interesting, then the framework is in place for the quintet to really kick in the door to the big leagues. The Aussie uproar continues apace then, but Northlane are not quite at the front of that burgeoning pack just yet.
Sounds Like: BMTH, Architects
Standout Tracks: Scarab, Quantum Flux, Masquerade