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Album Review: Northlane – Obsidian

Artist: Northlane
Album: Obsidian
Release Date: April 22nd 2022
Reviewer: Belinda Mann

Northlane are a band with a musical style that has been described as metal core, progressive metal and alternative metal with their fifth album Alien marked as the first album where the band shifted into different genres as they blended into into industrial metal, nu metal and EDM. Their sixth album Obsidian, released 22nd April 2022 continues the amalgamation of heavy metal and EDM but is a very different album to Alien

Obsidian compared to Alien sounds more experimental to me. Overall I rate it higher than Alien because to me, Obsidian is much more consistent. There are songs on Alien that I just didn’t rate as highly as others but with Obsidian, I never felt the urge to skip a song during my first few listens. For me what’s impressive are the electronic parts that give the album a pulse and rhythm. The beat keeps you moving and engaged which will be such a vibe to see live and the heavy breakdowns will make way for some powerful head banging moments.

Clarity is a great opener for the album and Xen put a smile on my face as it reminded me of Linkin Park. In fact, the whole album gives me A Thousand Sun vibes, I love the Linkin Park connection. The double bass drum action on Clarity and a couple of other tracks is insane, its something I haven’t heard them do much of before and I hope they continue to use it in the future.

The riff in Cypher…how good! Some of you may recognise it from the Northlane remix of Fatboy Slim’s Eat Sleep Rave Repeat, I’m glad they used it. Plenty is a banger and has been since released as a single and gaining popularity by the day. 

The second half of the album seems to shift. From Is This a Test? its like “thanks for making it here, welcome to the show” …. its perfection! I like the first half too; the second half is just so much better. I think that maybe the released singles should have been spread out a little more through out.

Obsidian feels like the biggest track they’ve ever written and in my opinion is the best fucking track on the album, its pure insanity. When it goes into the screaming, the lyrics just punch you in the gut and the huge breakdown at the end is mind blowing. 

As someone who has no connection to old Northlane vs new Northlane I thought it would be really difficult to follow a 10/10 album like Alien with another 10/10. I cannot express how massive of a fan I am of Northlane, and Alien especially, so I tried to temper my expectations. That being said, Obsidian is a very solid album, I encourage you to give it a listen.

 Obsidian track listing:
Echo Chamber
Is this a Test
Dark Solitaire

Hear2Zen Magazine
Hear2Zen is a "Non Genre Specific" publication that celebrates all things sensory.

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