Northlane
Mesmer


3.0
good

Review

by BandanaGeorge USER (13 Reviews)
March 24th, 2017 | 226 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Northlane's second effort with Marcus Bridge is an explosive demonstration of evolution and raw talent, but doesn't quite live up to previous releases.

*EDIT* I've changed my review score from a 3.5 to a 3. After reading some of your comments and giving the album multiple listens since first publishing this review, based on Sputnik's rating system I find this to be a more fitting reflection of what's actually here on this record.

Australian Metalcore heavy weights, Northlane, have just Beyonce'd the scene with a surprise album drop. 'Mesmer' is Northlane's fourth full length release, and their second with vocalist Marcus Bridge at the forefront. With him now fully settled into the role, this record proves that Bridge belongs in this band, and quells any doubts voiced about him to begin with.

I'd like to start off by saying that I have been a longtime Northlane fan; from 2011's 'Discoveries' I've followed this band, and like many others I was shocked when former front man Adrian Fitipaldes stepped down. When Bridge joined the band, it felt like the end of an era, albeit a very short one. However, it is now exceptionally clear he has ushered through a new era of Northlane, and it's not far short of the first.

This album is noticeably better produced than Node. The instrumentation is powerful and punchy, with a crunching guitar tone and a stunningly present bass being the gems of the mix here. I can't help but feel that the drums are too quiet, which is a shame really, considering the immense talent of Nic Pettersen behind the kit. That being said, Pettersen still shines if you pay attention to what he's doing, which you should, because he's remarkable. The subtle use of synthesizers and ambient sounds on this record are a very nice addition, something that compliments Bridge's clean vocals well. The band know their strengths and play to them. Fortunately, Northlane possess a lot of strengths, so there's plenty to be had here. Overall, not as well produced as their 2013 effort, Singularity, but then again, not much is.

Bridge really flaunts his vocal talents in a big way throughout this record, with his clean singing being the real highlight of the 43 minute play time. On tracks like Solar, Intuition and Veridian he fully utilizes his impressive range when singing, some of the notes he hits on these tracks had me skipping back to listen to them again, something that can't be said for their previous releases. The only critique I can give of him is the lack of variety in his harsh vocals, Bridge rarely ventures outside of mid ranged screams, and whilst he serves a unique tone and cadence in that sense, it can at times prove disengaging. Thankfully the instrumental here, especially the drums, gives you something else to pay attention to when this eventuality occurs, and is equally as enjoyable.

In all honesty, whilst still refreshing and unique in a genre so overly saturated with open chord chugs and bland riffs, the instrumentation on this record doesn't blow me away like it did on their first two releases. It feels absent of the sheer level of creativity you'd hear on tracks like Quantum Flux or Discoveries. Whether that is down to refining their sound or the new direction they've taken, I don't often find myself excited when listening to it, which I did for literally every second of their first two albums. Maybe I was younger and more easily impressed in 2013, judging by the girls I was into I probably was, but I can't help but feel a little underwhelmed when I know the same band wrote Genesis and Scarab, which to this day is the sickest way I've ever heard an album open. Ever.

There's an almost mid 2000's Post Hardcore vibe at times on this record. It's a little strange to hear in 2017, but at the same time provides a sense of nostalgia. If you were into bands like Saosin or Emarosa back in the day, there's definitely something for you here. This is especially present in verses where Bridge is singing or the instrumentation is a little less heavy, and definitely shines through on some of the choruses. I think Heartmachine is a fine example of this, and is one of my favourite tracks on the record.

Overall, if you're a Northlane, Metalcore or Post Hardcore fan, this record is worth a listen. Whilst it's no Singularity, it's interesting to hear how Northlane have evolved since that record. My personal favourite tracks are Heartmachine, Solar, Render, and the album's atmospheric closer, Paragon, which serves as a tribute to late Architects guitarist Tom Searle, who passed away last August after a long battle with cancer. Northlane are as strong as ever, and the surprise release of this record is a testament to their endurance, integrity and passion for their work. Bravo, Northlane, bravo.



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user ratings (291)
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SteakByrnes
March 24th 2017


16103 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"I'd like to start off by saying that I have been a longtime Northlane fan, from 2011's 'Discoveries' ..."

Should be a semicolon after fan



"This album is noticeably better produced than Node, their first record with Bridge. The instrumentation is powerful and punchy, with a crunching guitar tone and a stunningly present bass being the gems of the mix here."



Get rid of 'their first record with Bridge' and insyead of the comma after Node, you can either have a period there or a colon, either work imo



"Overall, not as well produced as their 2013 effort, Singularity, but then again, not much is."

That sentence isn't really needed



"...wrote Genesis and Scarab, which to this day is the sickest way I've ever heard an album open. Ever. " Just put a period after Scarab and get rid of the rest of the sentence, that's not really necessary to say



Also break up that last paragraph



Hopefully that helps, otherwise the review is pretty good man. I agree with most of what you said, however you seem to like Marcus's singing more than I do haha



Digging: PVRIS - Hallucinations

BandanaGeorge
March 24th 2017


43 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks for the tips SteakByrnes, much appreciated. I'll probably run through and correct those bits at some point I really quite like his cleans, I actually followed him on YouTube for some time before he joined Northlane but as I said in the review I feel as though his screams lack variety. Honestly I prefer Adrian on the whole but out of all the audition candidates I think Marcus was the best fit for what they've been going for since.

SteakByrnes
March 24th 2017


16103 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

No problem man, your other reviews are pretty good as well, so I hope you continue to write



As for Marcus vs Adrian stuff, Adrian blows him away imo. As you've stated, Marcus lacks variety in the scream department, but also his screams aren't nearly as powerful or passionate as Adrian's were. Marcus does have a great singing voice, but it can get boring and flat at points. I really dug his Dream Awake cover tho, the one that got him the job as the new vocalist

sempiturtle
March 24th 2017


1547 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

This came out like 6 hours ago couldn't you give it a little time lol. Might just write a review of this but it'd probably be super fanboyish so I really shouldn't

Snide
March 24th 2017


7050 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Citizen was really misleading (aka it was complete shit)

The album as a whole is fucking great.

sempiturtle
March 24th 2017


1547 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Yeah Citizen is the worst track and it's not even close. Back half (Intuition onwards) fucking kills.

SteakByrnes
March 24th 2017


16103 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Back half other than Fade is stellar

OldCrime
March 24th 2017


429 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

How is a surprise release a testament to any of the things listed? Also, was this really a "surprise" release? They were steadily releasing singles and teasers.

SteveOffProbation
March 24th 2017


1445 Comments


bro it's been like a minute

OldCrime
March 24th 2017


429 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

That's all you need to rate it 2.5?

Faraudo
March 24th 2017


3283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Love this.

Digging: Leprous - Pitfalls

cloakanddagger
March 24th 2017


352 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Listening to this now, I honestly hear a lot more Alt-Metal influence on this than previous release. Solar wouldn't be out of place on a Perfect Circle record.



Good review, too.

OldCrime
March 24th 2017


429 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

First listen was promising. Expected to hate it.

Sinternet
March 24th 2017


20872 Comments


Lol listened to half of this last night was absolute trash

Digging: Andy Stott - It Should Be Us

rc239
March 24th 2017


270 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

vocalist killed this band

Toondude10
March 24th 2017


14119 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

my opinion of this is pretty much the same as the last one

Digging: Norma Jean - All Hail

theDisconnect
March 24th 2017


121 Comments


love that the last song is a tribute to Tom Searle of Architects. you can really tell he had a huge influence on these guys, especially since they're named after an Architects song

BandanaGeorge
March 24th 2017


43 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh really? I didn't know that Paragon was a tribute to Tom, I'll add that in to the review. I'm a big architects fan myself, so it's touching to see that.

theDisconnect
March 24th 2017


121 Comments


yeah man it's great, read the lyrics there's quite a few direct references to Architects songs and Tom himself

"He once said to us, my friend hope is a prison. But the hope his chords sung only spread love in a hollow crowned kingdom"

TheMessiah713
March 24th 2017


2 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Better than Node, but that's not saying much. Fucking boring ass album. Nothlane died long ago.



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