Synonymous with the rise of metalcore into atmospheric realms, the Sydney quintet have come a long way. Named after an Architects track, it seemed only fitting to follow their predecessor’s ‘Lost Forever // Lost Together’ with a timely homage. However, the similarities are glaringly obvious and thus ‘Node’ treads very little new ground, ticking generic genre stereotype boxes on its journey.
“I refuse to die here,” spits ethereal opener ‘Soma’, blazing a surreal trail into lead single ‘Obelisk’, an anthem to a fading flame, putting Marcus Bridge’s studio debut on track from the start. Alongside ‘Ohm’’s powerfully relaxing ode to breathing easy, title track ‘Node’ proves driven by an other-worldly guitar rhythm and a disillusioned ethos of humanity “slipping through the cracks.”
Anguished screams prevail throughout ‘Rot’, Bridge’s strained cries for salvation creating yet another catchy anthem to add to their collection. Bridge’s heartfelt prowess throughout the lulling ‘Leech’ unfortunately loses centre stage to ambitious surreal production, despite the impressive efforts of guitarist Jon Deiley.
In contrast, however, Bridge’s calculating lyrical realism and rage takes centre stage during ‘Impulse’ and the serene ‘Weightless’, both of which successfully prove drummer Nic Pettersen’s worth as their driving force.
Clean and unclean vocals stand shoulder to shoulder through the periodically atmospheric ‘Ra’, while the melodic heartbreak of ‘Animate’ frames a phenomenal electric solo. All the while, however, it’s hard to see through the mist of overproduction that lets this record down.
When held subjectively, ‘Node’ comes as a satisfactory step toward the future for a band that could well have made the wrong move in choosing a new frontman back in October. Marcus Bridge significantly makes his presence felt, but sometimes you can put so much effort into being unusual, you become one of the crowd.
’Node’ by Northlane is out now on UNFD.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)