All change is growth. And Northlane’s monumental new album Node stands proudly as proof, because frontman Marcus Bridge, guitarists Jonathon Deiley and Josh Smith, bassist Alex Milovic and drummer Nic Pettersen have made the album Northlane always had in them, the songs they always strove for.
Node takes its cues as much from the band’s collective worldview as it does myriad artists from multiple generations. Rather than the existential examinations of their previous albums Discoveries and Singularity, the album takes a much more direct approach. It’s an album fuelled by passion and anger –passion for the world and all its wonders, and anger at what’s being done to it. Everything from the title and the lyrics to the way the band came together to produce their best record yet stands as a hymn to the simple power of human connection.
“I wrote the lyrics on this record to be as relatable as I could while still retaining the core emotion of love, which, like everything on this planet, Northlane was spawned from,” explains Smith. “We are always progressing and growing as people – the music reflects that and so do the lyrics. Discoveries was about seeing your world and who you are with open eyes; Singularity was about realising your potential. And Node is about being the change you want to see in the world and acting on that potential. There’s many things on this Earth that I don’t agree with, that sadden me, that I feel powerless to change. But a spark can start a fire. The power for change rests upon the shoulders of the individual.”
The journey to Node, eventually recorded by long-time collaborator Will Putney, was anything but smooth. Second album Singularity was nominated for awards, critically adored worldwide and triggered an epic tour that comprised three full laps of the globe. And two years ago, Northlane were sitting on a trove of riffs that they thought would form the backbone of their third album, but as 2014 was born, then-vocalist Adrian Fitipaldes departed for health reasons after 18 months on the road leaving a question mark hanging over their future. But from this unrest came something wholly new – after answering an open audition call alongside over 2,000 other hopefuls from around the world, Sydney’s Marcus Bridge emerged as the new frontman, the band wrote, recorded and released the stunning Rot in a few days. Bridge then underwent a baptism of fire, as Northlane supported Parkway Drive for 21 showsin 21 days around Europe before spending six weeks on the road in North America supporting August Burns Red.
Of his new bandmate, Smith is effusive. “Marcus has worked beyond what I thought was human to get to the point where he is now,” he says. “He slotted into this band effortlessly and I’m proud to call him one of my closest friends. He’s become the perfect voice for our outspoken ideals.”
Bridge joining opened a wormhole for Northlane. His work ethic, his prodigious talent and phenomenal range allowed primary songwriter Deiley more freedom than ever before, which is why Node sounds like the work of a band reborn, and tracks such as the title track and the wonderfully expansive Weightlesssoar as they do.
Buoyed by these new possibilities, to write this album the guitarist sat down at the same time every day for months, carving out a new portfolio of songs everywhere from a frozen tour bus in the Midwest United States to a soggy Manchester and sunbaked New South Wales, and everywhere in between. And when presented with these songs, the creative core of Northlane were able to take these ideas far beyond the exosphere, such is their almost telepathic relationship honed through years of collaboration.
“Jon tore himself inside out to create the greatest piece of art he’s constructed to date,” says Smith. “I couldn’t be more proud of him and what he’s selflessly contributed to what we are. He’s innovated and outdone himself yet again, and seamlessly blended decade-old artistic influences which shaped him as aperson into his most breathtaking tapestry yet.”
And the final result is an album that says loudly that there is always more to be done, but if we reach out we can achieve the impossible. And if we can make a change, everything beautiful will grow.
- Marcus // Vocals
- Jon // Guitar
- Josh // Guitar
- Alex // Bass
- Nic // Drums