Northlane vocalist Marcus Bridge has been through more than many will ever be able to comprehend. On ‘Alien’, the Sydney band’s fifth full-length, Marcus harnesses his most harrowing experiences to narrate the entire release. It’s a difficult listen, lyrically, as throughout the 11 tracks, Marcus addresses his experience growing up around substance abuse, his father’s suicide and being bullied because of his difficult home life. Personally, it’s an incredibly admirable and brave release. While sonically speaking, Northane have continued to push through towards a sound that feels significantly more intentional. The aggression is heavy and uncompromising, detailed with warped electronics and experimental, drum and bass elements. Crucially, the strength of Marcus’ screams match the unimaginable pain of his lyrics’ backstory, resulting in songs that feel intense and confronting. There’s no denying the unique comfort that emerges from this level of vulnerability, made possible when handing over songwriting duties to the vocalist at the centre of the narrative. Ultimately, Northlane’s decision to look back, ensures they can really move forward.
Northlane release ‘Alien’ via UNFD on 2 August 2019.