Northlane Mirror's Edge

Northlane – Mirror’s Edge (EP Review)

Northlane 2024

Australia’s award-winning Northlane is back with its first new material since 2022’s No. 1 ARIA chart-topping Obsidian. Their latest, a 6-song EP entitled Mirror’s Edge, is an independent release that arrives on Friday, April 12, 2024. And yes, it is worth the hype!

Created alongside long-time friend and groundbreaking Producer Will Putney (Fit For An Autopsy, Knocked Loose), Mirror’s Edge is the latest from a Sydney band that is at the top of their game. Their last six full-length releases, including 2015’s Node and 2019’s Alien, have won the band – Vocalist Marcus Bridge, Guitarists Jon Deiley and Josh Smith, and Drummer Nic Pettersen – a slew of awards and space at the top of various international charts.

Though the past year has not been without its hardships for the quartet, there is strength to be gained through serious reflection. Lyrically, their latest embraces these newfound revelations, exploring the catharsis that comes with facing the darkness head-on. It was a process that begins with a succinct, titular intro that builds an atmospheric intrigue before detonating without pause in the deviously melodic “Afterimage.” Here, Ian Kenny (Karnivool, Birds of Tokyo) adds his vocals into the mix, as Bridge begins to examine the myriad pieces of self that cast a shadow – on our own lives as well as the lives of others.

A Pandora’s box of darkness and light, the EP also sees Northlane inviting fellow Aussie Winston McCall, inimitable lead vocalist of Parkway Drive, to add an extra dash of intensity to the synth-fueled bombast of “Miasma.” A seething animal that must fight to regain control, its fury does not cease when the syncopated electronics of “Kraft” take the reins. Werking (see what we did there?) through the anger and regret, the group conspires with former bandmate Brendon Padjasek, bonding via screams.

It is true, too, that inside each song’s emotional echo is an exploration of what we hide from others, as well as ourselves, and how this affects the relationships in our lives. For “Let Me Disappear,” a sinister groove slithers across the body, a magician’s parlor trick that forces a blind eye to what we choose not to share. And it is this idea of what we each conceal—from the world, the ones we love, and even ourselves—that sets the stage for the tragic finale, “Dante.”

The things we love just hurt us in the end, Northlane humbly observes through their wounded poetry. But these things are situations as well as people: friends who struggle in silence only to leave this world too soon; relationships that disintegrate because of our darkness; and the unavoidable emotional pitfalls of living life as part of a touring band. And to avoid love, to shroud your heart from all it entails, is not truly living, right?

In this sense, the EP allows Northlane to tackle the oxymoronic nature of being alive in this crazy world. As always, their strength lies in tracks such as “Kraft,” “Let Me Disappear,” and “Dante,” which display their genre-fluidity for what it is: authentic. It is this combination of lyrical vulnerability and expert musicianship that complements their lack of fear in the studio. Likely because of this power as a unit, Northlane beautifully orchestrates the heartache of acceptance when the only control we have over life is acceptance. For all of this, Cryptic Rock gives Northlane’s latest EP 5 out of 5 stars.

Northlane Mirror's Edge
Northlane – Mirror’s Edge (2024) 

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