Australian-based group Northlane is known for their face-smacking metalcore, and last month the band released their sixth studio album Obsidian. Marcus Bridge’s vocals give each track a kick of smoothness and havoc, and the guitar playing by Jon Deiley and Josh Smith fills the atmosphere with sizzling riffs. Nic Pettersen’s drum playing produces solid beats. Although the record does have a dash of experimental rock, Northlane still knows how to craft their signature metal sound.
The smashing track “Clockwork” is a dynamic piece that has Bridge singing his heart out. Right off the bat, Bridge starts to sing in a lower octave and timbre before screaming out the lyrics, and the feeling of desperation can be felt through Bridge’s strong voice. “Clockwork” is a powerful composition that shows how dominant Bridge is as a lead singer.
“Carbonized” is a righteous track that features solid guitar playing by Deiley and Smith. While listening, Deiley’s playing shakes the background with deep riffs capable of jolting the veins of those who are listening. Also, the notes from the lead and rhythm guitar, give the track a heavy dose of electric sound. Both Deiley and Smith are talented guitarists, and on “Carbonized” their skills shine by how both musicians produce top-notch guitar riffs.
Ever-meaningful “Is This a Test?” is a well-written composition that people can relate to. The words “Is this a test or just a consequence?/A side effect of endless emptiness/Is this a test or just a consequence?/A side effect of endless emptiness/Is this a test?” display how some people question themselves while going through a difficult time in life because most of the challenges they are facing can sometimes be viewed as unexpected surprise or threat. “Is This a Test?” is honest due to how lyrics can give an insight into how people are struggling in their lives.
“Nova” is a magical song that shows a softer side of the band, and the harmonic vibe can be felt through the music. While the music blares from the speakers, there are two notable parts on this track. The keyboard playing by Deiley is spot on in how each note delivers a strong kick of energy. Secondly, Bridge’s voice is gorgeous because he sings in a lower range, and the emotion of sadness can be felt, while Bridge continues with his bittersweet vocal performance. “Nova” proves how mixing metal and experimental rock can be a good thing.
The closing tune “Dark Solitaire” ends things with incredible drum playing by Pettersen. Throughout the whole thing, Pettersen’s performance remains controlled, allowing him to perform different drum beats without changing his drum style. Also, it is enjoyable to hear how fast he can play while quickly adjusting himself as the band changes the musical structure. Pettersen’s skills as a drummer shine on “Dark Solitaire.”
Obsidian is loaded with brilliant tunes, and each track gives a perspective of how Northland is not afraid to express its creativity as a band.