Northlander - Forces Of Light

Published Wednesday 11th March 2020
Northlander - Forces Of Light
Northlander - Forces Of Light

STYLE: Rock
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 178816-29201
LABEL: Facedown
FORMAT: Digital Only Album

Reviewed by Ian Webber

For those familiar with the output of Facedown Records, you will have come across this outfit before in the guise of Fallstar. Literally making a big noise with their intense release 'Backdraft' the band only went on to produce one later album. Neither of these offerings however gives any indication as to what is in store for you with 'Forces Of Light'. Gone are the crushing metalcore riffs with aggressive breakdowns that were key elements this Portland, Oregon-based trio. You are now faced with a progressive, thoroughly grown up art-rock album with indie and emo vibes. Its haunting edge swells to a crisp and sonically spacious epic that has an icy crystal clear quality. Sounding breathy and on the edge of breaking there are no rasping vocals, emotion being added with Chris Ratzlaff's tortured delivery. The overall sound has moved towards the realms of My Epic and Anberlin and makes a real success of thought provoking lyrics and vulnerable open rock. Headline tracks include the beautifully crafted "Occulus" with its driving rhythms and echoing chords and "I Come Alive". The latter of these starts off with a ponderous set of notes which soon builds with washes of keys driven on by prominent drumming. The only anachronistic cut is the reggae influenced "Cult Leader" which contains a catchy chorus but seems at odds with the powerful and reflective bulk of the album. The 14 cuts are not an immediate winner, but I found myself being drawn in by the enticing melodies and skilful writing to the point where this is one of my favourite recordings of recent months. A slowly building tour de force of indie-tinged rock that holds on to the listener right through to the beautifully named closer, "The Sun Came Dancing In The Rain".

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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