The conclusion of Northlane’s UK leg of the Alien Worldwide Tour brought the five-piece progressive metal / metalcore outfit to the capital. Playing to a sold-out crowd at the Electric Brixton was a major step up for the Aussie band, truly showing how they have grown over the years on this side of the planet! The crowd were treated to Australia’s finest metal with support slots going to Polaris and Void Of Vision.
The night’s proceedings began with Melbourne’s rising metalcore outfit Void of Vision. Their music can be simply described as heavy drop-tuned riffs supplemented by manic breakdowns. The occasional relief from the darkness came from lead guitarist James’s clean vocals which really cut through the chaos. Their setlist featured tracks such as “Ghost in the Machine” off their 2017 Disturbia EP and “Year of the Rat” off this year’s release – Hyperdaze. For a band that I had heard lots about but hadn’t heard till that night, I was thoroughly impressed by the overall aggressive performance and vocalist Jack’s stage presence. The crowd were thoroughly warmed up by this opener!
Next up and main support for this tour was a more familiar Aussie act, Polaris. The Sydney based five-piece metalcore act have been rapidly climbing through the ranks globally and last year were nominated for an ARIA for their 2017 debut release The Mortal Coil. I’ve been following this band ever since guitarist Ryan Siew joined, which added a big online djent / prog metal following to band’s ever-expanding fan base. However, this was the first time I’d seen them live. I was overwhelmed! Vocalist Jamie had the crowd in the palm of his hands. The energy this band brought to the stage was equally matched by crazy mosh pits and circle pits by the crowd. Tight riffs and powerful unclean vocals echoed across the theatre-turned-venue. The only solace came with moments of shimmering clean guitar parts and sing-along choruses by bassist Rick. A highlight of their set was getting an almost room wide wall of death going to the breakdown of “Consume”. Polaris, played a mixture of new and old material, even debuting a new track off their upcoming release The Death of Me, all of which was received incredibly well by the London crowd.
As the support act’s gear was stripped down an intense lighting rig was revealed. It was that at that point I knew visuals were going to be key for Northlane’s performance. As a V-shaped green laser array shone out into the crowd the band stepped out onto the stage to the intro of “Talking Heads”. From the off, the crowd were bouncing up and down and confusingly but joyfully dancing along to the more electronic elements of this track in particular. Vocalist Marcus was on point as always. His singing of complex melodies resonated clearly across the room, whilst his screams bellowed strongly into the crowd. Northlane’s set featured nine songs off their latest record Alien including the singles “Vultures”, “Bloodline” and “Eclipse”. At first, I, like many others, was slightly sceptical of the new direction Northlane had taken with their music – fusing more electronic / industrial elements and moving away from the metalcore / djent-stlye riffing. However, moving away from their roots was something people had seen coming ever since the change in vocalist, and inevitably does occur with any band.
Seeing this new material live really made it click for me! The new aesthetic and sound have totally broken mould here, pushing the boundaries in this niche segment of metal, seeing it live fully cemented this idea for me. With the setlist containing only one song pre-Marcus era, it shows that they have, in my opinion, established a new era of the band. The setlist did also have room for fan favourites such as “Rot” off Node and “Citizen” off Mesmer, which had the crowd chanting back the lyrics and moshing all over the place. An encore provided the platform to showcase “Sleepless” off the new record. This track has a long build-up and in my opinion, sums up their new sound perfectly. The crowd watched in awe as lights flickered all over the place and guitarist Jon tapped away at his controller triggering sounds. The set was finally capped off with “Quantum Flux” arguably still the band’s biggest track. All in all, this was a very mature and refined performance by Northlane. I cannot wait to see what’s next in store for the band!