Band: Northern Lines
CD Title: The Fearmonger
Label: Purple Pyramids Records (2017)
Rating: Satisfying 3/5
Hold on a second, Iím having a Black Sabbath flashback as I sit here listening to a new release from the Italian band Northern Lines. This would be the Black Sabbath from the Changes album, where Rick Wakeman added some great keyboards. But thatís really just my first superficial impressions of this trio of musicians who came together in 2012. Thereís actually a whole more going on here so Iíll explain. This is the bandís second official studio release, eleven instrumental compositions clocking in at forty-eight minutes. Northern Lines takes a hard-rock approach to their music borrowing musical feels from bands like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin and then injecting a strong proggy influence is structure and arrangements. What you end up with is a distorted guitar front and centre creating the ground rules, al a Rush, but then the band regularly goes off in different and sometimes non-heavy directions to inject contrast and musical dynamics. The time and tempo seems to be always fluid, in motion with songs playing off riff after riff but usually not belaboring any musical movement too much. Itís a solid rock foundation they build on but then as with a good many Italian bands, there are more than a few musical moments that betray a Classical influence either in style or sound. This is a band that has a lot of great ideas and plays well together. Iím not sure theyíve figured out exactly what their musical direction or signature sound is, but it sure sounds like theyíre having fun trying to figure it out. The music on The Fearmonger is totally satisfying from start to finish with lots of great musical surprises along the way. For prog fans who like their music on the heavy side, this release is well worth exploring in more detail and I certainly look forward to future releases.