REVIEW: Northlane + In Hearts Wake = ?

If there’s one word we’ve come to fear in the music world, supergroup would surely be up there.

Never has a word promised so much, yet delivered so little on so many occasions throughout the history of music.

The heavy community seems to have suffered particularly poorly in the world of supergroups, with groups such as Killer Be Killed, AxeWound and Chicken Foot taking brilliant individuals and throwing them together in an unholy combination of egos and ideas.

So when Aussie metalcore giants Northlane and In Hearts Wake dropped their surprise EP Equinox last week, I was initially skeptical.

True, there had been no over the top promotion or sub par single to build hype for the project, which made it a breath of fresh air, and the element of surprise worked beautifully for IHW with last years astonishing surprise record Skydancer.

However, surely two environmentally aware, politically charged acts coming together in the same studio would result in over the top garbage right?

Well, that’s where I was mistaken. One only has to listen to the opening thirty seconds of Refuge to realise that this is a match made in heaven.

IHW frontman Jake Taylor wastes no time unleashing some of his most furious roars to date, before clean vocalist Kyle Erich allows the song to drop and build into one of the most anthemic choruses of Australian metal this year.

What Refuge achieves is allowing the respective elements of each band to shine through in their own right.

While musically the song is geared towards the simpler, heavier tones explored throughout the IHW discography, melodically it is perfectly geared to suit the vocals of Northlane singer Marcus Bridge, whose introduction in the second verse adds the perfect amount of urgency to the song.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Northlane/IHW collaboration without a brutal breakdown, to which the bands oblige with Taylor taking centre stage with the pit call “Open up the gates, welcome to mayhem,” before the song plunges into a pure slab of balls to the wall aggression.

A spacey, ambient instrumental interlude, which happens to be the title track, breaks up the EP, before Hologram showcases the intricate technicalities of Northlane’s contribution to the EP.

From the outset, Hologram is a far more complex piece of music, with Northlane guitarist Jon Deiley and drummer Nic Petterson combining with Bridge to create the same, mind-bending musical landscape heard on Northlane’s ARIA award-winning LP Node from last year.

Whilst not as inherently catchy as Refuge, Hologram still provides the hardcore faithful with multiple chances to spin-kick the night away, as well as a melodically beautiful chorus, standing in stark contrast to the harshness of the instrumentation.

While only two songs long, the Equinox EP is a fabulous gift to the Australian music scene, and an exciting indication of how far the metalcore community has come since the days of Parkway Drive and I Killed The Prom Queen.

 Catch both bands on the Equinox Tour this June. Dates below.

Equinox Tour Dates

Friday, June 10- Metro City, Perth (18+)
Tickets: Live Nation

Saturday, June 11- Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide (All Ages)
Tickets: Live Nation

Sunday, June 12- Festival Hall, Melbourne (All Ages)
Tickets: Live Nation

Friday, June 17- The Tivoli, Brisbane (18+)
Tickets: Live Nation

Saturday, June 18- Big Top At Luna Park, Sydney (All Ages)
Tickets: Live Nation

Image: Music Feeds