EP REVIEW: Northlane – 2D

Release Date: May 21st 2021
Label: UNFD
Website: www.northlaneband.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/northlane
Twitter: www.twitter.com/northlane

Rating:

With songs from their most personal album to date, Northlane have hand-picked a selection of tracks from 2019’s ‘Alien’ to reimagine into even more intimate versions of the originals with their latest EP, ‘2D’.

This short burst of acoustic melodies, no doubt born from the Sydney metal quartet’s musical minds working overtime from frustration this last year or so, is definitely a new take on Northlane‘s usual formula of ferocious riffs and throaty roars.

This acoustic EP gives these tracks an entirely new energy, dialling them from high-octane metal anthems right back to soft, melancholic stories told with authenticity. Exuding an air of despair and anguish, Northlane are experienced in these darker themes – from their 2011 hostile debut album ‘Discoveries’ to the heavy-hearted ‘Alien’ – but they’ve never brought these emotions so close to surface before.

Perhaps the most obvious example of this is in ‘Rift’; it’s haunting, almost to the point of creepy, with a slow burn that aches with sadness. It feels painful, even as a listener, with a raw, tender and, at times, uncomfortable energy. Maybe it’s because of the situation they have faced over the last year, but Northlane seem to be unafraid of hiding these feelings behind riffs and noise, no matter how difficult they might be. ‘Enemy Of The Night’, originally featured on the deluxe version of ‘Alien’, continues with incredibly dark lyrics that, in this format, feel so personal that it’s almost like we’re prying on the band’s experiences, and it’s bold of them to let their fans in to this extent.

There are some lighter moments (musically, if not thematically), with ‘4D’ taking on a poppier vibe in its charismatic and endearing vocals, particularly with those high notes in the chorus. This record, being as stripped-back as it is, is the perfect vessel for frontman Marcus Bridge to show off his vocal range, which he certainly does, right up until the last note of EP closer, ‘Sleepless’.

‘2D’ is an excellent example of a band testing new waters when the opportunity presents itself. It’s not necessarily something that Northlane are going to take on the road as the world opens back up but, during their downtime, they had the chance to showcase the full breadth of what they can do; although one suspects this will make fans more eager than ever to hear the band get back to their usual full-throttle selves with a new studio album.