Northlane - Live - o2 Islington, London

o2 Islington Academy, London, England
08/10/2015

Undoubtedly one of the best line ups of the year. Northlane, returning to the UK for the first time since the release of new album Node recruited groove kings, Volumes, Deathcore outfit, The Acacia Strain and the relatively unknown, Hellions to support them on their first headline tour of the UK. All in all, everything is lining up for this to be incredible.
Opening band, Hellions bring their own style of Hardcore to the stage in front of a half empty venue. Attempting to bring energy is never easy when you're unknown and the sound isn't great. Hellions try but unfortunately they don't quite get it going until their last song and even then it's only a small section of the crowd that are communicating with them.
The second that The Acacia Strain step on to the stage, the crowd splits as your run-of-the-mill pit opens. The crushing scream from vocalist Vincent Bennett as the band open with Human Disaster and from that moment on the crowd is a constant stream of swinging arms and legs. The band go from strength to strength with their own unique mix of full blown Deathcore and filthily heavy grooves as they move on to Holy Walls Of The Vatican, Beast and Ramirez. An outstanding instrumental performance as every breakdown explodes across the room underneath the unbelievably heavy vocals of Bennett. Following this performance, it would be difficult for Volumes to match the energy and skill shown here, surely?

Surely not. As soon as the LA outfit enter the stage, all dressed in white, the crowd physically erupts as the band open with two favourites from newest record No Sleep, namely, 91367 and The Mixture. After vocalist Michael Barr unfortunately was kept at home, it was up to Mike Lessard of The Contortionist to fill in, and he managed to execute it perfectly, working together with vocalist Gus Farias to create an unmatched level of energy and togetherness. Moving on to the next as Volumes showed their diversity with the slower Erased and Intake, and Lessard's vocals shone through with his incredible cleans. The emotion-filled Vahle, devoted to a friend of the band, shook the room and it seemed that the crowd shared an emotion with the band, and you could see it in their performance, particularly of bassist Raad, in what was a proud moment. Volumes then took the crowd back to 2011 with the crowd favourites Edge of the Earth and Wormholes. The true talent behind this incredible band presented itself here. The renowned groove from VIA, the ghost notes in that breakdown in Edge of the Earth and the magnificent clean vocals mixed with the low growls. A perfect set from Volumes.

Finally, the headliners. A sold out Islington Academy meant that Northlane were playing to an incredible amount of people. Commending a sizeable stage presence the second they come on, it's clear that Node really propelled this band to a new height. And fortunately, these newer songs translate even better live than they do on record. An unusual type of heavy is brought to the frame through the newer songs that they open the set with; Obelisk, Rot and Soma. Vocalist Marcus Bridge's extremely impressive range is the main focus throughout these songs, although, the instrumental aspect is definitely not to be overlooked, in particular the unique style and talent of drummer Nic Pettersen. Following the newer songs came the old. Northlane's breakthrough album Singularity provided them with a number of crowd favourites, most obviously Quantum Flux, probably the song that went down the best throughout the whole night, the ambient tones and vocals coinciding well with the crushing groovy breakdown. Next up came the usual Genesis into Scarab, opening with the incredibly tight drums and then descending into the massive grooves of guitarists John Deiley and Josh Smit, before proceeding into the pacey, techy-ness of Scarab. Somewhat surprisingly, Northlane drop into one of their most notable old songs in Dispossession before closing with another Singularity favourite, Masquerade. Both songs send the crowd into a spiral and bring forth the most energetic of responses; a wonderfully tight set from Northlane that would struggle to be beaten.