Is This a Test?
After translating dark accounts of personal trauma into anthems on 2019’s Alien, Northlane frontman Marcus Bridge turns his focus to lockdown and other suffocating microcosms on the Sydney band’s self-produced sixth album. “Clockwork” bottles the anxiety of putting everything on pause during the pandemic’s first year, while the techno-laced “Echo Chamber” faces down toxic online discourse and “Carbonized” calls for abusers to be held accountable once and for all. Merging high-impact metalcore with dizzying electronic flourishes, Northlane brings a swell of drama and scope to Bridge’s unflinching lyrics. When he declares “You’re killing me” during opener “Clarity,” it heralds a layered assault of drums, intricate guitar riffing, and cycling synth melodies. Mirroring how the melodic and the abrasive mingle in Bridge’s dynamic vocal range, Obsidian inhabits an intersection of heaviness and clubby abandon.