To the older Northlane fans: This album may not be for you. Released July 24th via Rise Records, Node has shown that aside from the comparisons of the first two studio albums, it’s actually worth giving a chance.
What makes this new Northlane worthy of praise is how fresh the sound is. It definitely stands out from what’s usually produced. It has that heavy-mellow feel that is really subtle, yet hard hitting. With Marcus Bridge joining the band, he has brought along diversity. Not only is there consistent screams, but now more singing. His vocals flow with the swaying of the instrumentals. Soft cymbals, the transition of pounding and light drumming, and the stylish guitars bring life to each individual song.
The first track off the album “Soma,” begins with the build up of the drums. First everything is softly played, slowly growing until the guitar riffs can be heard along with the Marcus’ vocals. You can tell the obvious distinction from past vocalist Adrian Fitipaldes and at first, it’s disappointing, but I guarantee after a few more listens, it’ll stick; it becomes more pleasing. The way the sound can shift from something so soft, yet so hard hitting, to something heavy and loud shows how diverse the band is becoming. And instead of sounding choppy and out of place, everything flows together.
What is definitely different is the clean vocals. With older Northlane, their sound mostly consisted of sticking to nothing but screams, but now by adding more singing, it’s something you can wave your hands from side to side while singing along in such peacefulness. “Weightless” serves as a perfect example. The entire song is sung without any screams; it’s pure bliss. The way Marcus holds his voice and builds the strength in his singing truly amazes me. His voice can’t be compared to anything else. Aside from his vocals, again, the drums are worth noting. Their rhythmic sound build the perfect sound that’s able to relax your mind.
The next track “Ra” serves as a combination of something light and heavy. As every other song, the guitars and drums bring us in very lightly, then began hitting with loud screams and the drums become more intense. The mood is built up and adrenaline begins pulsing through your veins. Usually, either the vocals or instrumentals stand out more than the other, but in this case, both effectively fulfill their roles in getting the listener to appreciate the new sound.
As often expected with a new album, it isn’t what was expected. With the departure of Adrian Fitipaldes, and welcoming of Marcus Bridge, we can expect new beginnings for Northlane. Give it some time; let it sink in. Node definitely brings diversity and gives the band a new reputation for their sound.