Northlane have unveiled the first details of their forthcoming sixth album, ‘Obsidian’, confirming an independent release in 2022.
Taking to their Instagram this morning (November 8), the group confirmed that ‘Obsidian’ will mark their first fully independent release, having released all five of their previous efforts – most recently 2019’s ‘Alien’ – on UNFD.
The band noted that the way ‘Alien’ was received – particularly by friends and family of frontman Marcus Bridge – fed into the creative process behind ‘Obsidian’. Bridge explained: “There was a bit of backlash from my family and people close to me who referenced in the songs from ‘Alien’.
“I felt like I had upset these people who were close to me and, well, I don’t really want to be driving that deep into my personal life any more. I’m quite a sensitive person to what other people think of me.”
Bridge also pointed out that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had a detrimental impact on his ability to write for Northlane, expressing that his “confidence was shattered” after lengthy bouts of isolation had driven his mental health into a state of disarray.
“Something just doesn’t feel natural about not being in the same room with the band or playing music for over a year and then immediately jumping into running 14 songs. I felt I didn’t really have much to say after being locked up for so long.”
In an effort to inspire creativity by way of a change in scenery, Northlane journeyed to “a tranquil house at the top of the Dandenong ranges in Melbourne”, converting a cinema room into their makeshift recording setup. Bridge, however, was unable to shake off his doubts, as he continued: “I think it was just not happening because I was feeling all these things and hadn’t really spoken to the guys about it.
“There was a night where I just broke down and told them how I was feeling both in a creative sense and, on a personal level, what’s been going on in the past year. It was quite difficult for me to even initiate that conversation.”
The album eventually came to life with Northlane recording and producing entirely in-house, aided by longtime collaborator Chris Blancato, turning a Melbourne cinema room into a makeshift recording studio. It’s described as the group’s “most expansive and daring album yet”, exploring elements of “bottom-heavy groove” and “fully fledged EDM and techno, drum and bass, soaring guitar work and nostalgic atmospherics”.
Expanding on how ‘Obsidian’ furthers the narrative that Northlane opened on ‘Alien’, guitarist and principal songwriter Jon Deiley said: “I think the main thing that ‘Alien’ did was instil quite a large amount of confidence in what we do and what we make. For me, it showed that I can experiment as far as I can and gave me the confidence to be creatively free with my music.”
The statement goes on to reveal several of the songs fans will be able to hear on ‘Obsidian’ – alongside the previously released single ‘Clockwork’ – including opening track ‘Clarity’ (said to “beckon you in with its alluring synth before plunging you into the depths of hell”), ‘Echo Chamber’ and ‘Is This A Test’ (which both “conjure up futuristic Matrix rave vibes”).
Other tracks include ‘Zen’ (the chorus of which “demands to be sung in the car with the windows down”), ‘Nova’ (“the kind of song Moby would’ve written in the mid-00s”), ‘Cypher’ (which is “completely void of melody, trudging through a wall of distortion”) and ‘Plenty’ (“a bleak look at forsaking reincarnation with its perplexing time-signature bookending a delicately soaring chorus”).
Before ‘Obsidian’ hits shelves, Northlane will headline all four dates of the inaugural Full Tilt festival, performing in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne alongside the likes of Hellions, Frenzal Rhomb, Slowly Slowly and Make Them Suffer.
Earlier this year, Northlane released two EPs – a remix package titled ‘5G’ and a collection of acoustic tracks called ‘2D’ – following on from the release of last year’s ‘Live At the Roundhouse’ album. Also in 2020, they released a “raw and uncensored” documentary titled Negative Energy, chronicling the band’s turbulent process behind the recording of ‘Alien’.