Announcements coming left, right & centre from Northlane.
It’s all happening for Northlane today, folks. Overnight, they dropped a brand new single, ‘Bloodline‘, which is taken from their also-announced new record, ‘Alien‘, which is out August 2nd via UNFD. On top of that, the band will be trekking around Australia again in October with their pals in Counterparts, Silent Planet, and Void Of Vision. (Nab tickets for that run over here.)
With the deeply personal and brooding self-produced ‘Bloodline‘, Northlane have taken their prog-metalcore sound in a slightly different direction. Something that’s heard right away with the electronic-heavy intro, yet it works; a subtle but effective progression. With slick production, nu-metal vibes, glitchy guitar rakes, backing vocals from bassist Brendon Padjasek, surging low-end that adds more meat to their sonic bones, and a heavier emphasis on synths that never over-shadow the band’s hyper-riff sensibilities, this is one of Northlane’s darkest songs. In due time, ‘Bloodline‘ might also just be one of the band’s best tracks in their decade-long career too. There’s nothing shallow or cynical about the choruses, lyrics or even the electronics here. Those only wanting a cheap vocal hook or a song only full of breakdowns had best look elsewhere.
Speaking of, however, the mighty one-off breakdown that drops at 2:07 (1:58 if you’re not watching the music video version) is right up there as one of the heaviest sections of the music Northlane have ever written to date. Moreover, Marcus Bridge’s screams have never been laced with this much disdain and grit before. Stemming from that, most of the band’s lyrics over the years have actually come from guitarist Josh Smith, but this one is all Marcus; sounding and feeling like it’s coming straight from the heart about a dark place he was in as a child. Which all adds to the depressive mood and (mostly) hopeless atmosphere of the song’s overall theme, which is no doubt the point.
‘Bloodline‘ itself is about how we cannot chose the people who share our blood, with the song addressing Marcus’s youth. It particularly hones in on suffering emotional and physical abuse at the hands of violent, substance-abusing parents who were supposed to keep you safe but instead take a path of violence and neglect. As the song goes, it’s all about “being raised in hell“. Lyrically (and visually, with a bleak music video from long-time collaborator, videographer Jason Eshraghian), ‘Bloodline‘ is confronting and uncomfortable in it’s story-telling. However, it’s done so in a purposeful way, thankfully never feeling mishandled in its subject matter of child abuse.
As the film clip subjects you to this horrible, abusive relationship between a father and his son, all ending with the young man left alone following his father’s death via a heroine overdose. While Northlane’s vocalist has admitted that the song’s second verse is indeed reality detailed with a fine comb in terms of what he saw in his childhood, I’m not sure just how much of the rest of the song and it’s accompanying visuals are meant to mirror his own life experiences. Drug overdoses and parental death included.
In a recent press release, Marcus opened up about this new track, sharing that:
“I was raised in hell but I made it out. Raised in a place I shouldn’t have been, and no child should have been. But I’ve been able to break free.
It talks about that idea of growing up in a broken home despite all odds and what might be expected of someone who grows up like that. You are able to be what people think of you and break out of that spiral, that terrible world. For me, that’s a mix of telling the story simple, but then it also tells some parts of my story in really fine detail.
For example, the second verse goes into a lot of moments that I actually remember growing up and these landmarks – all these things I remember seeing. This song is a perfect way to sum up the album and also be the first toe in the water to be able to tell this story.”
Taking to Instagram, Josh shared the band’s journey with this particular track, writing
“We’ve never fought a song like we fought bloodline. It was the first song on the album @marcusbridge wrote about his traumatic past – a Pandora’s box of pain, anguish, emotional distress and scarring he wasn’t ready to open until now. We knew this song was special from the start. So much so that we wrote about 20 different choruses just to make sure, rearranged the song 6 or so times just make sure, and recalled the mix so many times I lost count.
We reached out for opinions from countless producers but ended up circling back to the very first thing we wrote just because it felt right in our hearts. I think we probably spent more time on it than 75% of the album.
It felt like pulling teeth but this story was too important to not share, this song had to see the light of day. I’m so incredible proud of Marcus for his courage, I’m so incredibly proud of my other bandmates too and all the amazing people that have supported us behind the scenes.”
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the title of their upcoming fifth album, ‘Alien‘, isn’t some heady and potentially lame-ass sci-fi concept release, but more so a personal tale of isolation and ostracization. Northlane have written plenty of songs dealing with worldly issues and metaphysical topics over the years, so taking a far more personal route is now a welcomed approach. Here, it’s about being alienated as a child because of your household, feeling like a weirdo because of your family, and all of the ups and downs that come with that. Yet as ‘Bloodline‘ hints when Marcus sings “I made it out by myself”, there’s still a way out of that hell; you can still make it out to the other side; that your past trauma doesn’t define you nor the future you may one day have. (If you need someone to talk to about drug abuse, please do reach out to resources here and here.)
I’m all about this one, and this new single has made ‘Alien‘ jump right to being one of my most anticipated 2019 releases. Plus, I vibe hard with Marcus’ space wizard get-up in the below video.
‘ALIEN’ AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES:
UNSW ROUNDHOUSE, SYDNEY – FRIDAY OCTOBER 11th
TRIFFID, BRISBANE – SATURDAY OCTOBER 12th
170 RUSSELL, MELBOURNE – FRIDAY OCTOBER 18th
LION ARTS FACTORY, ADELAIDE – SATURDAY OCTOBER 19th
CAPITOL, PERTH – SUNDAY OCTOBER 20
01. Details Matter
04. Talking Heads
If you want a little more of this new album and can’t wait, check out a cut-together clip of all the studio snippets Northlane have released on social media here.