Live Review: Northlane w/ Polaris & Void Of Vision | O2 Academy 2, Birmingham | 30/11/2019

If you thought Australian metalcore could do no wrong, you're probably right, the hot bed of talent from down under that has been thrown our way for over a decade has been nothing short of captivating. Parkway Drive are leaders of the pack, but the likes of Dealer, and Alpha Wolf are on the hunt for success too, as are the three bands that crammed a capacity crowd into the nigh-on shaking walls of Birmingham's O2 Academy 2 on a below temperature evening in the nations capital that would soon heat up.

Void Of Vision [7] open proceedings with an enthusiastic set. Their brand of hardcore sits more on the venemous side than those who would follow them. The vocals of Jack Bergin cut sharp on tracks like 'Babylon' and 'Grey Area', and there's a conscious effort here to offer punters something they won't find anywhere else this evening. The bands latest album Hyperdaze offers the Aussies a turning point in their careers which if capitalised upon could set them up for another decade to come - and if tonight was anything to go by: they won't be going anywhere for a while yet.

Sydney's Polaris [9] have an entirely different path ahead of them - as they're already being billed as the next big thing in metalcore, and rightly so. The bands popularity has been on a quickening upwards trajectory since sophomore full length record The Mortal Coil pushed the Aussies to the forefront of conversation back in 2017. Though only two years ago, you get a true sense of the maturity the band have undergone as they take to the stage in a sold out, sweaty environment.

Their sound is almost absurdly clean for a band of such ferocity, and the opening lines both 'Casualty' and 'The Remedy' kick up a storm. New track 'Masochist' garners as positive a reaction as the pre-existing material and the yet unreleased 'Hypermania' is nothing less than butchering, and sounds like the heaviest song Polaris have ever written. The set is rounded off with crowd favourites 'Consume' and 'Lucid', and by this point if you're not taking in deep breaths from the speed of the pits - you'll be taking them in as a result of awe. It's sets like this that make it clear: bar any unexpected turbulence - Polaris have every chance of world domination.

It's clear to see that Northlane [8] have been given an extra spring in their step by latest record Alien. It makes sense too, the bands fifth album (third with vocalist Marcus Bridge) is by far the most cohesive the Aussies have sounded since sophomore effort Singularity. Their unwavering confidence in Alien is given extra credence by the bands set relying heavily on new material - and it all goes down with a bang.

The breakdown of 'Talking Heads' makes the floor shake, the pitch perfect chorus of '4D' is a rare break from seeing the room spin, and 'Jinn' is the perfect push and pull between melody and violence. Of course it wouldn't be a true Northlane show if the classic 'Quantum Flux' wasn't thrown in for good measure, but the truth is: it didn't HAVE to be included here. The quintet's rabid pace set from the off was more than enough to carry the show from A to B.

Alien came at the perfect time for Northlane, as question marks around the bands quality in this current formation were starting to arise. As you'd expect - the five piece's best album in six years has put them back where they belong: at the forefront of the metalcore airwaves.


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