Words by Eden Campbell
To commemorate their latest LP, Alien, Australian metalcore veterans, Northlane took to The Triffid’s stage to perform before a sold out crowd this Saturday night. These guys have an aggressively loyal and seemingly ever-expanding fan base, made glaringly evident by the seas of Northlane merch-clad patrons seen as soon as The Triffid’s doors burst open. Coupled with their almost sickeningly compatible support acts, this Saturday night’s bill was a blisteringly heavy night of some of the world’s most on trend and relevant names in modern metal.
Void Of Vision were first to try their hand at rattling The Triffid’s stage to its core – and rattle it, they did. Riding the coattails of their hugely successful release, Hyperdaze that dropped last month, Void Of Vision has honed their craft to a ‘T’. Their performance was stellar and seemed to leave a lot of their more experimental side behind, in light of a more purposeful and aggressive sound. Regardless, their guitars were heavy and downtuned, and did not fail to deliver riffs upon riffs of beat displaced syncopation.
Second on tonight’s bill were California based Christian/activist four-piece, Silent Planet. Silent Planet first hit Australian shores a mere 14 months ago, and have never failed to bring an entirely immersive experience through their live performances. Silent Planet encapsulate a sort of sonic uniqueness that breaks the mold in terms of stereotypical ‘metal’ tropes. As a self-professed layman in terms of musical theory, I turned to my more musically-inclined friend and fellow gig-goer for a rational explanation, and he hypothesised that Silent Planet’s ear-pricking uniqueness was largely in part due to their guitar tuning and choice of rhythmic subdivisions. Great use of quiet/loud, syncopation and playful arrangements (particularly with tense buildups) drench Silent Planet’s music in exciting dynamic shifts that straddled the line between poignant ambience and satisfying OG metalcore.
Canadian hardcore stalwarts Counterparts played to an ecstatic crowd, delivering an emotionally charged but simultaneously engaging performance blending tight riffing with rapid-fire dynamic shifts. Instrumentally, they featured elements of heavy, modern metal and post-rock tremolo-picked guitar lines. Vocally, Counterparts was flawless – emotionally screamed vocals occupying the perfect space in the air between thick, pounding instrumentation.
The crowd was strongly familiar with Counterparts’ material; evidenced by copious amounts of audience chanting and singing along. Counterparts played a set spanning a broad range of their discography, before finishing with crowd favourite The Disconnect – of which had the entire audience chanting along as the song rang out. Taking brief vocal breaks at crucial moments, the crowd filled in the gaps with familiar vocal hooks. If you’re a fan of melodic hardcore, then Counterparts cannot be missed.
With respect to the main event: Northlane is no stranger to sold-out shows, and their performance to a completely packed out The Triffid is a testament to their finely-honed live performance experience. The audience was highly energized and lent an air of camaraderie to the shared experience – Northlane has been steadily collecting fans for several years, and singer Marcus Bridge made mention of it being their ten year anniversary as a band. It is fitting that further elaborating on the live experience, there was a palpable sense of polish to their live show. Marcus’ banter was genial and succeeded in thoroughly exciting the crowd. Having seen Northlane as they moved from PCYCs (in the pre Discoveries era) to playing sold out headline events, the gradual evolution of the band’s stage presence and live staging was truly evident in their performance at The Triffid. Of great note was the synchronized lighting throughout the entire show, ranging from blinding floodlights to the darkest, moodier landscapes. The band is a well rehearsed, polished machine, iterating through their songs like some kind of progressive industrial juggernaut; obliterating all in their path.
Song wise, the brunt of their set was comprised of more recent works (inclusive of 2019 record Alien, the namesake of this tour), with the crowd particularly loving their meticulous performance of Marcus Bridge’s first vocalist outing: Rot.
At this stage in their career, Marcus worked the stage effortlessly, charming the audience until they ate out of his hand. Working through the main singles of new record Alien before bringing back a well received seamless performance of Citizen (off 2017 record Mesmer), Northlane provided a blow by blow rendition of their last few records. Particularly interesting is the gradual shift from their early progressive metalcore to the more industrial, nu-metal experimentation on Alien. What was most enjoyable was the way the set list was sequenced – despite the stylistic changes over the years the set blended together in a very cohesive way, with the live sound production creating a definitive musical journey that didn’t at all feel like a dramatic change in sound. Northlane ended their set with an encore of a beautifully received rendition of Quantum Flux in all its 7/4 glory. Perhaps we will catch Dispossession next time…
Catch Northlane + Void Of Vision, Silent Planet, and Counterparts on the rest of the Alien tour.
Tickets available here:
Thursday 17 October – 170 Russell, Melbourne
Friday 18 October – 170 Russell, Melbourne
Saturday 19 October – Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide
Sunday 20 October – Capitol, Perth