Sydney, Australia metallers NORTHLANE will release their fifth studio album, "Alien", on August 2 via UNFD.
For a band that has traditionally focused on wider issues in the outside world, "Alien" is easily the most personal statement of NORTHLANE's career.
"I was raised in hell but I made it out," says NORTHLANE vocalist Marcus Bridge. "Raised in a place I shouldn't have been, and no child should have been. But I've been able to break free."
Remarkably, there is hope to be found, particularly on first single "Bloodline". Listen to the song and watch the video below.
"'Bloodline' was one of the first songs that came about in the writing process for the album," says Bridge. "When we were trying to decide what we wanted to write about, we decided early on that we wanted to keep the album pretty personal. I wanted to tell the stories of my upbringing and the ups and downs that come along with that."
The singer adds: "It talks about that idea of growing up in a broken home despite all odds and what might be expected of someone who grows up like that. You are able to be what people think of you and break out of that spiral, that terrible world. For me, that's a mix of telling the story simple, but then it also tells some parts of my story in really fine detail. For example, the second verse goes into a lot of moments that I actually remember growing up and these landmarks — all these things I remember seeing. This song is a perfect way to sum up the album and also be the first toe in the water to be able to tell this story."
Once again, NORTHLANE teamed up with director Jason Eshraghian, who they've been collaborating with since 2014, for the video. Eshraghian is best known for his cinematic use of visual effects and layered storytelling. The video follows the abusive relationship between a father and his son. Bridge says: "It was a pretty clear choice to work with Jason, who has done all our videos since I've joined the band."
Bridge continues: "We've grown as a band together with Jason. He understands the stories we’re trying to tell through our videos. When it came down to the more personal subject, I don't think it would have been possible to do it with someone we hadn't worked with before because I don't know if I would have felt comfortable having someone that we hadn't worked with before telling this story and someone that doesn't really know me and know how I want to tell this story. Jason delivered again, and this video is one of my favorite videos that I have ever done. It goes into some fine detail once again about that environment of growing up around parents who use drugs, violent parents and all that stuff that a lot of people do deal with that maybe don't feel comfortable talking about. This video is going to make you feel pretty uncomfortable, but I think it's a story that isn't really told often enough."
While some longtime listeners might assume that the title "Alien" is a continuation of the space and futuristic themes that have characterized previous NORTHLANE albums, it's instead a reflection of the alienation Bridge felt as a child "who grew up in a weird, unusual household and who was bullied at school because of it."
Produced by the band itself, the album was recorded at Chris Blancato's studio in Sydney, where NORTHLANE recorded their first EP, 2010's "Hollow Existence". Bridge did vocals at Sydney's Electric Sun Studios, where the quintet made its 2011 debut album, "Discoveries".
For a band marking its tenth anniversary in 2019, "Alien" is a bold leap forward; the work of a group fighting its way out of a corner by moving forward rather than looking back. Their previous three albums may have debuted in the Top 5 in Australia — with "Node" landing at No. 1 before going on to win an ARIA Award for "Best Hard Rock Or Heavy Metal Album", an accolade also awarded to "Mesmer" — but NORTHLANE is in no mood to play it safe.
"Alien" track listing:
01. Details Matter
04. Talking Heads
Those eager to see NORTHLANE live won't have to wait long. They will embark on a North American headline run throughout August and September with ERRA, CURRENTS and CRYSTAL LAKE. October will see them tour New Zealand before returning to Australian home soil for their national headline tour supported by COUNTERPARTS, SILENT PLANET and VOID OF VISION. NORTHLANE's European headline tour in November and December is supported by SILENT PLANET and VOID OF VISION.