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Rather unremarkable death/doom - 50%

caspian, November 16th, 2009

Death/ Doom's general history through it's 19 or so years of existence is a somewhat strange one. Whereas thrash, death, black, doom etc etc. got progressively more extreme as bands fought over who could go the fastest, who could fit the most riffs in, who could down tune the most etc. death/doom started off as this brutal, utterly inaccessible genre (Flower Withers, Transcendence, Eternal Darkness, Into the Autumn Shade etc etc) and then preceded to water itself down to hell over time. Whereas those albums explored the very depths of, y'know, torment and stuff, November's Doom sort of remind me of Opeth, but a slightly more generic version of them.

Well, they're not an exact ringer of Opeth; as much as I dislike that band at least they tried something different with their whole "throw in random acoustic sections" schtick. November's Doom aren't really into doing anything new; why do that when this sort of stuff gets so well received? Essentially, this is a bland and incredibly boring mix of sort-of death metal, with a few sort of slower sections that are probably meant to be doom, but come out more as "sad rock", often with harsh vocals.

The band sort of try to make things interesting; there's a few tempo changes, a bunch of clean parts scattered throughout each song, Despite that though I remained supremely uninterested throughout; the vocalist never really sounds that interested, and short of one particularly vicious bit of drums/guitar interplay (2nd verse in "The Harlot's Lie", really does it for me for some reason) nothing really gets me nodding my head, let alone banging it.

Perhaps the main problem is that the band seem to be stuck in a stylistic rut. There's that cool little strange time sig jazz/ prog bit in "The Fifth Day of March" (a really effective ballad that's probably the best song here) but for the most part things follow a very repetitive formula- with the additional problem being that the template they're working with isn't that great in the first place. It sounds like these guys know it, too; they all sound heartily sick of the music they're playing. The guitars just never grab your attention, going from one boring Opeth styled riff to another, with the occaisonal and similarly boring slower part and clean (again, a heavy Opeth influence, along with perhaps some old prog) section, and the vocalist... Well, he's not awful; it's just that he never sounds all that interested. He's trying to sing in too deep a register, for one; and while perhaps he sounds a bit manlier he isn't really able to put much force in it as he would if he went a bit higher and got his wailing on. Likewise, his attempts at death vocals fall flat, although to be fair they're difficult to pull off when they're over riffing that's as flat and boring as it is on here.

I guess I should add that this band is hardly actively terrible. They're all competent musicians, the production's good, the lyrics aren't cringeworthy. However, they lack any sort of spark; there's no motivation, no drive, and most importantly, nothing that really connects with the listener. All a load of fluff, really.


(originally written for www.heathenharvest.com)

Whatever... - 61%

grimdoom, October 17th, 2009

While humor has never been the bands strong point they certainly flaunted it in the new albums title: INRI. All those of the Christian persuasion should be familiar with what those initials mean. Aside from a theology lesson the bands humor stops abruptly at face value for the music contained on the disc in question is by far the bands most vicious.

The production is excellent, the bands best by far. The guitars are painfully heavy from start to finish. There is a lot of melody strung throughout this behemoth. The guitars are very fast with only the last song containing any 'doom' at all. There are the bands typical leads and harmonies and the one or two lackluster solos but aside from that the focus is on brutality over actual song writing.

The bass is once again boring and predictable where as the drums are however the best they've ever been. Sasha Horn's return is by far the best thing to happen to the band since Joe's passing. His drumming is the best part of this album. Progressive, fluid and tinged with Jazz and technically brilliant.

The vocals are good but typical of the bands fair. Not much is done to spice them up or make them stand out from the last two releases. They lyrics are also consistent with the bands format.

The music is straight ahead Death Metal with the first song being something that could've fit on 'To Welcome the Fade' and the last song being mostly Doomdeath. This is different from the last album in that its sharper in its delivery and attitude. Its good for all intents and purposes but it lacks the style that the band has been running from for the past decade. Oh well, there are worse albums being released this year.

November's Doom's Winning Streak Continues - 81%

pinpals, July 31st, 2009

The announcement of a new Novembers Doom album is now something that I greet with great anticipation. Ever since 2005’s "Pale Haunt Departure" changed my perception of what Doom Metal could be, I have had this band in regular rotation on my CD player. With 2007’s "The Novella Reservoir", the band could have changed their name to "November’s Death," as that album was easily their heaviest yet, with faster tempos and fewer slow melancholic parts, although there were a couple of great songs with only clean singing. Some complained about this heavier direction, although I was fine with it as long as the quality of the songs stayed at the same level.

Novembers Doom was formed all the way back in 1989, although the only original member remaining is vocalist Paul Kuhr. However, they did not release their first album until 1995 and have overall released a total of seven albums. A live DVD, entitled "The Novella Vosselaar: Live in Belgium" arrived in 2008.

There was a high amount of expectation among the band’s fans. Some thought that November's Doom would continue in the heavily death-metal influenced direction of their last album, while others thought that the band would return to the sound of the previous album. Others even thought that this album would have a completely new sound. It turns out that "Into Night’s Requiem Infernal" could be described as a mix between "Pale Haunt Departure" and 2002’s "To Welcome the Fade", although that description really only for people who want a basic idea of what to expect.

The truth is that November's Doom largely avoids repeating themselves. Some bands fall into a groove into how they write their songs or arrange their albums, but that is not the case here. The past two albums started with furious Death Metal epics, while the first three songs are largely mid-paced. Kuhr even growls over acoustic guitar in "Eulogy for the Living Lost", which I don’t recall them doing before (it definitely works better than one might think). One big advantage of this album is the level of consistency. Every album before this had a noticeable dip in quality in the second half of the album. "Lazarus Regret" and especially "I Hurt Those I Adore" ensure that the second half is strong.

The main downside of "Into Night’s Requiem Infernal" is that there are no songs that approach the same exceptional level as "Swallowed by the Moon" or "Drown the Inland Mere". Even though the guitars are still really heavy, there’s nothing as crushing as "Rain" or "The Pale Haunt Departure". Even the quiet songs aren’t nearly as good. The quiet songs are probably the biggest disappointment here. It’s not that the songs on this album aren’t solid, because they are, it is just that they just don’t approach the levels of their previous output.

Despite the criticisms mentioned above, the music and vocal performances are still very good and this album is definitely worth owning. The consistency is a definite bonus. The artwork is solid, but unspectacular. Novembers Doom has given us another winner, it just isn’t a masterpiece like their previous two.

(Originally published for www.metal-temple.com)

Pretty good - 80%

paranj, July 19th, 2009

A new album by the doom/death veterans, Novermbers Doom. This album is quite fresh and versatile. It mixes the power of heaviness with the epicness of ambient magnificance. I won't compare this album with their previous releases as this is my first encounter with them. After looking at their discography and the reviews it has been getting, I can say that the band is quite consistent when it comes to quality.

The band is pretty talented. The songs are structured very well with some accurately place break-downs or interludes. The guitaring on this album is diverse and well executed. The riffs range from fast and thrashy to slow, heavy and doomy. The riffs, on a general note, are very good. The guitar tone is also appreciable as it is raw and heavy. Apart from electric guitars, there are some parts where acoustic guitars are used. This adds to the atmosphere. A few solos here and there which are decent too. The bass guitar is not much audible but still adds to the overall feel.

The drummer really stands out. He maintains a nice rythym while being catchy and technical. His drumming is tight and blend along with the flow very well. The drumming is variable too. Some slow parts and some uptempo parts. The drums are really vital on this album. The vocal work is decent too. The vocals range from growls, shrieks to even some clean parts. All of them are nicely executed. The choruses are fun to listen to and never feel too modern. The lyrical work is good too but nothing to write home about. The production is okay... the bass guitar is lost in the mix and the vocals are a little bit higher than they should be.

All in all, it's a pretty good album. If you dig the doom/death genre then be sure to pick this up as you will enjoy it.