August is one of the biggest months for heavy music releases in some time; we'll be getting new albums from Tool, Slipknot and Killswitch Engage to name a few, but kicking things off on August 2 will be our very own Northlane with their fifth record Alien.
We've been lucky enough to give it a spin ahead of time, and we're happy to report that it absolutely slaps.
Familiar, But Refreshingly Different
Make no bones about it - Alien is heavy. Like, really heavy. If you've heard any of the three singles already released ('Vultures', 'Bloodline' and 'Talking Heads'), you'll know this already - the tracks are littered with 8-string guitars tuned to the brown note and enough harsh vocals to please older fans too. If you haven't heard them yet, you can scroll down to check them out.
These singles barely scratch the surface of just how intricate Alien is though, because there's also a heavy amount of futuristic EDM and ambient influences which weave their way throughout the record as well.
While there have been flashes of similar genres in Northlane's past work, this is the first time that they've used these sounds as a core part of the songwriting, and it's pulled off insanely well.
Songs like 'Rift' and 'Eclipse' in particular sit firmly in the category of dark EDM, while the album's closer 'Sleepless' uses piano and ambiance to create some really beautiful soundscapes. Not only do these songs sound great on their own, but they help add a deep variety and break up the heavier moments which in turn hit much harder when they do arrive.
Vocalist Marcus Bridge is at his absolute best, displaying a huge vocal range on songs like 'Jinn', while Nic Peterssen's drums are (as always) creative enough and masterfully executed to lift each track even higher.
Lyrically speaking, Alien is a stark contrast to previous albums. Instead of focusing on broader topics of humanity like social media and altered states of mind, Marcus Bridge takes a decidedly dark and chilling introspective approach on his own upbringing. where he "grew up in a weird, unusual household and who was bullied at school because of it”.
From our first impressions overall, Alien already feels like it's up there as some of the best music Northlane have ever released, and it definitely warrants a listen from start to finish to grasp its overall feel.
You'll be able to do that soon for yourself - get keen!
Northlane - Alien traclisting:
1 - Details Matter
2 - Bloodline
3 - 4D
4 -Talking Heads
5 - Freefall
6 - Jinn
7 - Eclipse
8 - Rift
9 - Paradigm
10 - Vultures
11 - Sleepless
Listen to Northlane now.