Northlane’s metal sound and past underproduced albums gave hesitation as to whether their latest album would be worth reviewing.
However, there is something to the album that a lot of people can enjoy if you’re looking for something different from the average rock music.
Northlane is a metalcore band hailing from Sydney.
“Mesmer” is the band’s fourth studio album that came out with something to prove since its previous album wasn’t well received by fans and critics.
Reviewing a metal album is different than reviewing an indie-alternative rock album.
Guitar work, vocals and overall production play a particularly larger role in the metal genre.
With those topic points out of the way, on to the review of “Mesmer.”
Northlane’s previous album, “Node,” was a huge flop due to the glaring lack of good production.
The guitars were obnoxiously louder than the vocals and the drums sounded like they were recorded in another room from the mics.
“Mesmer” however, is a big improvement compared to “Node,” not only in terms of production, but in guitar work, vocal harmonies and the overall content.
“Mesmer” travels through space while talking about finding individuality within ourselves. These songs are able to give listeners a way to reflect on themselves and on the life they live.
The band continued with its metalcore background, but added an atmospheric sound. This album isn’t as basic as its previous ones.
“Savage,” “Citizen” and “Zero-One” all have this spacey feel due to distant sounding vocal progressions, static sounding screams and the use of different synth keyboards in the background.
The more traditional songs include “Heartmachine,” “Intuition” and “Render.” These have that breakdown guitar work and very aggressive screams, holding true to that Australian metalcore sound.
The biggest improvement found in this album is the flow between the screams and clean vocals.
Northlane in the past tended to make the transition between these two elements awkward.
This time around, the singers work together to give a great vocal performance.
The distant, but deep and clean screams consistently flow right into the more melodic and less intense screams throughout the record.
“Citizen,” “Colouwave,” “Paragon” and “Fade” all have this great partnership between the two vocals that takes the album to a new level.
In terms of production, it is a lot better, but still not as good as it could be.
The use of different sounds positively affects this album. The synth pianos and spacey sounds help drive the album into a great atmosphere.
Also, the production on the clean vocals is extremely well done. Songs like “Render,” “Paragon” and “Solar” have the best vocal production and vocal delivery out of the whole album.
However, there is still a need to have a better balance between the vocals and the instruments. Songs like “Savage” and “Paragon” contain too subtle of screams, that it seems like something went wrong.
Also, a glaring problem throughout every song is the distant drum sound. The quiet and unclear beat of drums becomes annoying very quickly.
Overall, this album is a lot better, heavier and cleaner than the last. It is great to sit and listen to. There isn’t a dull moment that keeps your head from bobbing or foot from tapping along to the heavy bases.
If the production was better, this album would be an easy eight out of 10, but there is still a lot that the band needs to sit down and talk about before its next album.
But, happy listening Gannon University! Let us know what you think of the album.
• Rating: low 7/10
• Favorite Song: “Veridian”
• Least Favorite Song: “Zero-One”
• Related Artists: TesseracT, Erra, Periphery, In Hearts Wake