In the past few years, 'djent'/progressive metalcore bands have been popping up at every corner. For the most part, the aforementioned bands are fun to listen to, but there isn't really anything that sets them apart from the rest. With that being said, a young 'galacticore' band from Sydney, Australia that goes by the handle Northlane is doing something extraordinary. Actually, it's not just one thing; it's everything.
After releasing Discoveries in the latter months of 2011, the buzz around Northlane had begun. They did all the right things on their debut UNFD release, which helped them to gain an ever-increasing fan base. Just three short years after forming, Northlane played some of their first shows outside of Australia...all the way across the globe in Canada! Now, with the release of Singularity just one week away, I think it's safe to say that Northlane is going to be an even more buzzworthy band.
Singularity gets off to a quick start with the intro track titled "Genesis" (or for those who saw videos of it on YouTube in the past year, "2012 Intro"), which is a devastating chugfest. Following "Genesis" is "Scarab," a recently released song. "Scarab" is definitely one of the faster-paced songs that Northlane has released in their short but successful career. The sixth track, "Dream Awake," features one of the fastest verses on the album, but the rest of the track is much slower paced. That is by no means a bad thing; however, "Dream Awake" is a beautiful track instrumentally and vocally, which makes it one of my personal favourites. Adrian's clean vocals are excellent, and dare I say it, I hope to hear them a lot more frequently on future releases.
Other stand-out tracks on Singularity include "Masquerade," which features Drew York of Stray from the Path, "Windbreaker," and "The Calling." Similar to "Dream Awake," "Masquerade" showcases Adrian's dynamic vocal range extremely well. "The Calling" and "Windbreaker," on the other hand, really showcase the instrumental aspect of Northlane. The riffs are incredibly groovy and they are almost always accompanied by subtle melodies in the background, and the drumming is impressive. Another thing worth mention is that the bass is a factor on this entire release, but it's particularly noticeable on "Worldeater."
Much like the title track on Northlane's Discoveries, the title track on Singularity is an instrumental. "Singularity" serves as a nice break from the intensity heard throughout the rest of the album as Terence McKenna's quote ("We have to stop consuming our culture/We have to create culture/Don't watch TV, don't read magazines, don't even listen to NPR...") coupled with ambience and soft percussion sets a very relaxing mood. After the quote is finished, Northlane picks things up and sets the stage for "Aspire," which sees the band combine everything in their arsenal (grooves, ambience, clean vocals, devastating breakdowns, etc.) to end the album on another very strong note.
With Singularity, Northlane has a chance of reaching the top of metal charts around the world. This release sees the band rehash some aspects of their previous work, but for the most part, it's an entirely different beast. It may not be as 'brutal' as Discoveries, but Singularity - an early, yet obvious, contender for my metalcore album of the year - is a crushing 35-minute-long release that is jam-packed with excellent musicianship and lyricism.