Album Review: Northlane – Node

Node by Northlane

#aotd is Node by Northlane. Musically, this album sticks with the progressive metalcore sound the band honed on their previous album but dives into the use of melody that was only hinted at on Singularity. This newfound melody was likely spurred on by the new vocalist’s penchant for huge melodic passages. The new vocalist is technically far better than the band’s previous, showing off way more versatility especially with his cleans on tracks like “Weightless” and the interlude “Nameless”. Despite this, he can feel like an archetypal “prog metalcore vocalist” at times, so while his performance is good, he never pushes the boundaries of what has been done before. The album is at its best when the songwriting is at its most dynamic, like the track “Leech” which features a great clean vocal performance and the most crushing breakdown of the whole album melded into a seamless package. It is this sense of cohesion which some tracks lack, like on “Obelisk” and the title tracks where the songwriting feels a bit stiff and stilted because the songs don’t seem to flow as well as they should. The drumming has been a highlight on every Northlane album and this holds true on here where they sound technical and are produced to perfection. The production is largely the same as Singularity, which is fine, if a little overblown at times; the bass has a nice rumble on “Soma” and “Rot” which was a nice touch. Lyrically, Northlane don’t really change their stripes, with plenty of lines about the ills of modern society and some kind of omnipotent greatness which lies within our mind yaddayadda. It is the same kind of self-empowering message they have been pushing since their debut, but to their credit they write some pretty eloquent lyrics and the sentiments behind them are well communicated but are a bit too preachy to be properly compelling. Northlane have lost no steam by switching up their vocalists, in fact, this is an improvement over Singularity. However, the core sound established on that album remains largely untouched on here, thus they still fall into many of the same potholes.
Rating: 3.3/5

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