Plenty of bands could take a leaf out of Northlane’s book. A little over 18 months on from Node, they’re back with a fourth full-length. Of course, being prolific is all well and good, but is the album any good? Actually, yes. While anyone who enjoyed Node will find plenty to get into here, Mesmer demonstrates an undeniable evolution in the Antipodeans’ sound. As demonstrated on their previous outing, new(ish) vocalist Marcus Bridge is possessed of a magnificent clean singing voice, which is used to its full effect – particularly on the album’s first half. His screamed vocals remain suitably raw, but Northlane have their sights set on the upper echelons of their game, and that means epic, sweeping guitars and radio-ready choruses. Shot through with an almost nu metal influence, tracks like Veridian wander into alt-rock territory, while Solar’s guitars may as well be wearing an ‘I Heart Wes Borland’ patch. Mesmer won’t be to everyone’s taste but in a world of cookie-cutter metalcore outfits, it’s refreshing to hear a band attempting to break the mould.
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