Australian metalcore act Northlane recently released their second full-length record, Singularity. I gave their debut album Discoveries some decent listens back when it arrived in 2011 but it didn't even come close to grabbing my attention the way Singularity has. Northlane have delivered an album that is solid from start to finish that also contains an established flow in the same respect, a rare feat for such a young band.
The album opens with the short but appropriately titled "Genesis", a noisy banger that will get you amped for the sonic assault to come. Both "Windbreaker" and "Worldeater" are standout tracks. I applaud Northlane for delivering riffs that utilize all the strings of the guitar. There is a lot of ambience in these tracks created with layered effects but the core riffs also have an abundance of heavy riffing and melody. These tracks segue into the first single and in my opinion the best track on the album, "Quantum Flux". Vocalist Adrian Fitipaldes lyrics deal with searching to finding ones purpose in life and our infinite potential that each individual carries inside. A message I can stand behind. If you seek an album with meaningful and positive lyrics, check this one out.
Ah, "The Calling", my guilty pleasure from Singularity. Short and sweet, this track delivers in every way. I really dig the big sounding vocals throughout, particularly during the "chant" at the ending over one of my favourite riffs on the album. This transitions into "Masquerade" featuring Drew York from American metalcore outfit Stray From the Path. I think that York was excellent choice for this track because his vocals sound excellent along with Fitipaldes. They have similar style in some aspects. I imagine if they release a second single, it will be this one. A variety of guitar work is put on display in this track from fast polyrhythmic riffing to quiet cleans to raging djent-esque breakdowns. Northlane utilizes a variety of tunings as well one guitarist that plays a 7 string and another that plays with a 6 string.
The album begins to conclude with the instrumental "Singularity" that features an overdub by philosopher Terence McKenna. I really enjoy this track but I find that instrumentals with speech overdubs (looking at you Stick To Your Guns) get old fast and become a skip over track. Consumerism is bad mmmkay. The final track "Aspire" with it's absolutely crushing intro grows on me with every listen. Great riffs and lyrics in this track. I can't help but sing along every time Filipaldes chants, "We were born to be free, fuck who you want me to be."
Bottom-line this album is golden. I was skeptical at first because it seemed like it was going to be a hype album so I didn't want to set my expectations too high. No need. It's terrific. Everything from the lyrics, the musicianship (drummer is off the hook), the finely tuned production and ultimately that perfect flow from beginning to end.