Rise Of The Northstar is coming back stronger.
Formed in the Paris region in 2008, the band led by Vithia (vocals) made a name for itself on the local and international scene with a blend of Japanese culture-infused Hardcore/Groove Metal. Completed by Eva-B (guitar), Air One (guitar), Phantom (drums) and Yoru (bass), the band announced in 2023 the release of Showdown, their third album, by Atomic Fire.
The band starts with The Anthem, a short intro which immediately lets the band place some jerky and heavy riffs before the arrival of their characteristically crazy vocal parts before Showdown comes to crush us with a catchy rhythmic. We also have the vocalist’s Hardcore/Rap phrasing under simple but effective riffs, as well as some more dissonant and darker leads which create a contrast with the most shaking parts, just like on Third Strike that will make the crowds move in every festival where the band will walk with getas this summer. The band chains together moshparts with monstrous choirs, then Crank It Up picks into energetic Old School Nu Metal to fuel its rage and motivating riffs. Light melodic harmonics offer a surprising sweetness before the rhythmic comes back, leading us to One Love, the first massive single the band unveiled to announce its comeback. Between English and French, the musicians expose their motivations, finally letting Shogun No Shi dip into Deathcore to feed its devastating rhythmic with some Japanese screams, followed by Clan and its melodic introduction. The track remains slightly softer than the previous ones, offering soaring and slower sounds, like the two melancholic leads that guide us to Raijin, a composition which revives heaviness and groove, as well as massive vocal parts. Raw efficiency will also be the order of the day for the energetic Golden Arrow, which draws from modern Thrash Metal to justify its frantic speed before slowing down to let the unifying chorus hit. The album closes with Rise, the final track, which mixes the band’s raw energy with epic, motivational lead parts, making the track slightly different from the others, while still arousing our curiosity.
Rise of the Northstar has taken the time to sharpen their aggressive style to come up with some extremely effective new riffs. But the band also worked on epic and motivating tones, making Showdown a surprising and catchy album.
Few questions to Air One, guitarist for the band Rise Of The Northstar.
Hello and first of all, thank you for your time! How would you present the band Rise of the Northstar without using the usual musical « labels » ?
Air One (guitar): Hello and thank you to you. ROTN is Slayer in a ghettoblaster at full blast in a street in Shibuya. It’s the power and heaviness of Metal cradled by the groove of 90’s Hip-Hop and dressed by an as rich as neat imagery. We have a lot of musical references in the band and we try to combine them to create something unique that fits us. If you have to put a label on our sound, just say « ROTN ».
Showdown, your third album, will be released soon. How do you feel about it ? Do you have any feedback about it yet?
Air One: As of this writing, the album is already out and the feedback is pretty positive yeah. The first single One Love was already well received and we were confident for the next one and the other singles were just as successful. After that, it’s like usual, some people join us, some others not. We make music for ourselves and if we like the output, it’s already partly won and we all agree that we have just written a fantastic album which is by far the most accomplished.
How would you sum up Showdown in three words?
Air One: Trials. Discipline. Victory. As much in the fiction of the album’s thread as in the reality of its conception.
How was the composition process for Showdown? Did you notice any changes compared to your previous releases?
Air One: Yeah we had more time to compose and perfect it. The first songs emerged in 2019 while we were defending The Legacy of Shi album on stage and then like everyone else we had a stop with Covid the year after. We used this time to come back on some tracks, compose others, improve choruses and select the best of the best.
The band has always integrated French in its compositions, and claims it openly, why is it important for you to keep parts in French?
Air One: French is a language that offers more possibilities of nuances, it’s more refined. Vithia loves to use French to include in his lyrics punchlines full of references that it is very difficult or sometimes impossible to transcribe (with nuance) in English. And French is beautiful.
You have always integrated the shonen culture in your musical style, either on stage or in the titles, how do you choose the subjects to deal with?
Air One: When V. created the band, he did it with one goal: to combine his passion for shonen manga and more generally the Japanese culture of the 90’s with violent music. If you’ve ever read shonen, you’ll have the same theme that ROTN has been conveying since the beginning, i.e. the surpassing of oneself and the discipline to achieve it in spite of the obstacles and trials that get in your way. This album is a perfect manifestation of this. We’ve always received a lot of messages from fans telling us about difficult moments in their lives that they went through thanks to our songs, and that, in my opinion, is one of the best rewards we can get.
I also noticed on the album Clan, a very calm track, as well as Rise, which offers epic and federative tones. Do these tracks have a particular story?
Air One: I wouldn’t say a particular story but a common point, yeah: Eva-B’s inspiration. There are times in everyday life as in music, you work by intuition, you are in the moment and everything is fluid and fits perfectly, logically. Well, for me Clan and Rise are an incarnation of this state of mind. I would call these tracks « obvious » almost as if they were meant to be composed. But this is not new, on the album The Legacy of Shi, the title Step By Step held a little the same role for example. It is once again the result of multiple influences within the band that we do not hesitate to exploit.
What is your favorite track on Showdown? Or at least the one you’re most looking forward to playing on stage?
Air One: I personally love to play Third Strike but that’s purely a guitarist choice haha. We did a sold out show on March 31st at the Empreinte in Savigny-le-Temple and we had the opportunity to play our 3 singles from Showdown released on that date and the crowd was crazy, it’s promising! I think that One Love in fest will be such a thing but we are especially eager to hit the stage again and it’s going to hurt a lot.
Rise of the Northstar has been announced on many big festivals for the summer 2023, how do you get ready for these dates?
Air One: Just before the show on March 31st mentioned above, we did a 3 day residency in the same venue to prepare our show. As a general rule we always work on our songs and the layout of our set in our rehearsal room. Then we refine them and we experiment them in real condition in a residence room. We are ready to face any stage. We can’t wait to see all our fans.
The band has been signed to Atomic Fire, how is the collaboration with the label going?
Air One: It’s going very well, they are hard-working and reactive! Our previous albums were distributed by Nuclear Blast when Markus Steiger (the label’s founder) was still the big boss. Then he left and decided to start a new label : Atomic Fire, with the will to keep with him the bands he liked the most, including us. We were very honored and we followed him. Incidentally , Markus Steiger himself picked us up at the end of the Summerbreeze Festival in 2014 to offer us a signed contract with Nuclear Blast. He has never let us go since.
Which bands would you like to tour with? I’ll let you imagine a tour or show with Rise of the Northstar opening, and three other bands!
Air One: I would do the Family Values 98′ again but with the 2 missing bands: Deftones and ROTN. That’s more than 3 in the end, but hey, I’m answering what I want Haha.
That was my last question, thanks for your availability, the last words are for you!
Air One: Thanks to all our fans for being so patient and faithful, we’re coming back to you in force! Peace !