Albums in Review 2015 - Node by Northlane
As Long Range Hustle’s resident metal head, I hope to bring something a little different to this album review party. There were plenty of records this year that caught my attention and really sucked me in. The best example, and my top pick for 2015’s best album is Northlane’s “Node”.
This album marked a major shift for the band. Having lost original vocalist Adrien Fitipaldes due to personal health reasons, the band was left without a frontman. A global internet campaign was initiated to find their new vocalist. When asked about why this was the method chosen, guitarist Josh Smith explained it as a “no stone left unturned” mentality. After sifting through thousands of video submissions, Marcus Bridge was given the well-deserved phone call.
Bridge brings a melodic range that the group had not previously experienced. Both this and guitarist Jon Deiley’s natural progression in writing, are the major factors contributing to Northlane’s sound shift. With Fitipaldes’ departure, Smith took the handle on writing lyrics for the new record. Their previous albums had very strong lyrical tones of societal contempt, life purpose, and spiritual exploration and discovery. Past fans will be happy to know that these topic are still explored, but with a more hopeful, “everyone is in this together” manner.
Node marks the most atmospheric Northlane has ever been. Much more focus and care was taken during the creation of song transitions and interludes, allowing for massive builds, accentuated well by Bridge’s soaring melodies. “Rot” is a fantastic example of this. Expansive, flowing verses with a very tight rhythm section allows Smith and Deiley to layer delay saturated guitar tracks overtop. This builds to a very rhythm heavy chorus, with Bridge aggressively delivering the line “Sick of living underhanded, this is our life. We command it.”
“Leech” is another very notable track, calling the world to revaluate the global environmental situation. Smith accuses many of the world leader’s decisions, stating that “You fell asleep while your bed burned”. Ocean health is discussed here as well, which is perfectly coupled with an intro that gives the auditory illusion of being underwater.
Overall, this album has an incredible ebb and flow to its sound. I find myself listening to it several times through without even realizing. “Soma” and “Obelisk” are both high energy, atmospheric songs to open the album, leading into a much more melodic midsection. It rises once again at the end with “Ra” and “Animate”, tying perfecting back into “Soma”. There are no “bad” songs, and certainly none that I would actively skip when listening to this record. The whole album feels like a single entity.
Node was my favourite album of 2015 because of how well it combined the worlds of progressive metalcore, and post-hardcore. Bridge’s vocal style was the perfect addition, creating an incredibly interesting, but easy listening album, from front to back.