Northlane and In Hearts Wake have combined forces to create a mind-boggling audio experience, releasing the Equinox EP worldwide through Australian label UNFD. During this joint venture, the bands have merged into a singular 10 piece metal extravaganza to provide the world with one of the most creative concepts in the modern musical landscape. Despite making what In Hearts Wake frontman Jake Taylor describes as a “surprise twelve-minute EP odyssey” together in the studio, the two bands aren’t finished there. In the second installment they will be taking this two band, 10 person metal orchestra to the stage and adding it to their pre-existing Equinox Tour, which will be destroying venues around Australia from June 10 this year.

The EP can either be split into two songs and a melodic interlude; taken as one grand 12-minute journey into the heart of heavy sound. Looking at it from the perspective of a collection of separate entities, the first of these is ‘Refuge’. It is an ebb and flow, push and pull kind of track that builds into a cacophonous frenzy of vocal reverberation and deep, guttural bass. This culminates in a breakdown that seems to work off both bands’ distinctly unique styles, but at the same time remain completely separate from anything they’ve ever done. The lyrics are poignant and timely, expressing a pain that many in Australia currently feel over the gross mistreatment and abuse of asylum seekers. This concept is the essence and energy of what is a politically charged and ideologically powerful musical statement.

Following ‘Refuge’ is the melodic interlude aptly named ‘Equinox’, and provides the bridge between two tracks with very distinct pacing. The first is more derivative of In Hearts Wake’s straight down the line beats, whilst the third piece, ‘Hologram’, is far more reminiscent of Northlane’s typically discordant tempo shifts; the bass lines landing on more complex offbeat timings. This distinction serves to create difference and at times contrasting dynamics throughout the EP, and gives the entire work a rhythmic heartbeat throughout. Continuing and expanding on the themes of ‘Refuge’, the lyrics in ‘Hologram’ speak to the disenfranchised and exploited; ambiguous in their subject matter, they carry a very similar weight, and tell a very similar story.

As a whole this work encapsulates both Northlane’s esoteric, ambient metal dreamscape, and In Hearts Wake’s heavily driven, bottom-heavy bass lines to create an EP so devastatingly earth shattering it will shake the very foundations of the Australian metal scene for years to come. The breakdowns are more menacing than a hundred foot wave; the cleans smoother than freshly laid skate park concrete. Frontmen-in-crime Marcus Bridge and Jake Taylor unite to create a vocal soundscape that adheres simultaneously to both their styles, and pushes them to unforseen boundaries whilst also staying true to themselves, as their merry bands of metal misfits take musical depth to staggering new highs. It can be experienced both as a 12-minute entity, or as 3 separate parts to a unified whole, but however you experience it, the Equinox EP has truly cemented its place in Australian metal history.

The Equinox EP is available now digitally, and limited edition hand numbered vinyl is also available for preorder via 24 Hundred/UNFD. The Equinox Tour is on sale now in each capital city in Australia.

8/10