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“Can’t you see the joy of life is right before your eyes?” Clear-cut. Determined. Progressed. It’s an honest insight that grabs the listener’s immediate attention. Sophomore album ‘Singularity’ is unashamedly bold and strikingly precise. It is only full-length number two and already, Northlane have more conviction, more intent and more precision than many seasoned musical veterans would not only strive for, but also ever hope to achieve.
In essence and as an obvious starting point, ‘Singularity’ fits into that all-too-common and often dangerous category of albums. You know – band becomes popular and is talked about glowingly in all corners – let’s whack a biased, popular and safe label on this and call it a masterpiece. No need for any bullshit rhetoric though. ‘Singularity’ is no masterpiece, but it is simply brilliant all the same. The praise comes from a considered listen…a neutral perspective if you will. Calling this album captivating and sincere is vindicated in the music itself. Simply being popular doesn’t make Northlane a good band. Producing brave music makes Northlane a good band.
Consistently across the board – from composition to performance to song writing – ‘Singularity’ hits all its marks. Why settle for a convenient single when you can hit the ball all the way out of the park for a home run?! Northlane aim to make the best music they are capable of instead of merely settling for just making a competent record.
Like ‘Discoveries’, this is again a hybrid sound. It’s almost a neat hunting ground for the band. Parkway and Amity have a stronghold and enduring monopoly on the metalcore and hardcore fields respectively. Northlane have a crossover feel though. There’s a bit of djent in the guitars, a bit of tech in the time signatures, and the breakdowns keep things interesting enough.
Opener ‘Genesis’ sounds like we’ve picked up a Meshuggah record by happy mistake. There is a great deal of passion cascading through this release. Transitioning track (and official opener) ‘Scarab’ is deep and mixes half-time breakdowns with guttural vocals dispersed between more discernable delivered points.
‘Worldeater’ and ‘Quantum Flux’ are recognisable, having done the rounds recently. The former containing dense riffs, while the latter is initially the most polarising point of the release, with prominent clean sung vocals in the beginning. This scepticism quickly evaporates. The track simply works.
‘Masquerade’ is the song that fits most accordingly with the metal stereotype. It’s deliberate and venomous. “You’re a fucking disgrace. How can you trust anyone?” Adrian Fitapaldes screams. The detest, the emotion, the malice is akin to Bleeding Through’s anthem of hate, ‘Revenge I Seek’. “You’re just a two faced piece of shit,” the song adds. Definitely an ode for those being screwed over and led on.
‘Aspire’ realigns the positivity. It is an uplifting, albeit heavy, track to put an appropriate full stop on studio album number two.
In a harsh manner of speaking, ‘Singularity’ isn’t necessarily ground breaking, but the album takes a style with current and strong appeal and puts its own spin on things. The charm here is that Northlane promote positivity and ambition. They are doing something they love and the results match. This is an inspiring record in so many ways. Musically evolved and emotionally diverse. Very, VERY impressive!
5. Quantum Flux
6. Dream Awake
7. The Calling