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You have to feel this record - 97%

kluseba, October 7th, 2011

I stumbled over this band by pure lucky coincidence. I decided to try out their albums and got stuck on this one which seems to be by far their best one at first sight. "Of Sculptured Ivy And Stone Flowers" offers an epic mixture of doom, gothic and death metal. This record is one of their calmest ones though and features folk melodies, floating progressive passages and relaxing female vocals. The band reminds a little bit of Katatonia or Opeth but is even more atmospheric and gripping and beats these big names easily. They also remind me a little bit of some of my favourite bands like The Old Dead Tree or even The Vision Bleak that released their groundbreaking records after this one though. From this point of view, this album seems to be an inspiring milestone and is one of the best and earliest records of its genre.

It's useless to point any song out here even though they are quite diversified from acoustic folk lullabies over female gothic tales to doom death metal hammers. This album has a brilliant conceptual flow from the beginning to the end and a very hypnotizing feeling that drowns you into a dark, calm and majestic atmosphere. The record is very addicting and each time I listen to this record I could still continue to appreciate this kind of music for hours. The nature and season topic is very well translated to an authentic musical context and this is a perfect record for grey autumn afternoons or cold winter mornings.

Musically, there is not a bad word to say about this intense record. Maybe there is a truly catchy potential hit single missing as well as an outstanding and essential epic but these songs on here are all equally great. Even the bonus tracks of the remastered versions are essential and sound completely different from the original songs while they still fit to the magic atmosphere of the record and add something new, fresh and even essential to the original product which proves that this album is absolutely brilliant but not yet pure perfection.

Nevertheless, this album is a definite must have in the collection of any fan of dark atmospheric metal music, no matter if you prefer gothic, doom or black metal. This album is quite complete and still sounds perfectly coherent and logical. The best thing is that it grows on you the more you listen to it. You have to be in a certain melancholic and relaxing mood to fully enjoy this record but if you are you really can feel this album. This is a rare value and a pretty precious one. This album creates feelings and images in your mind. It has a lot of power, especially in its introspective moments. Novembers Doom surely are one of my greatest discoveries from the last months and this proves me that the world of metal music still has a lot to offer to me as this record heads straight into my all time top twenty. Be sure to check this one out, the good critics aren't wrong this time and the little underground hype is completely justified.

Wonderous from start to finish! - 100%

grimdoom, July 22nd, 2007

Majestic, wondrous & thought provoking are the main words that come to mind when listening to this, the sophomore release from Chicago IL’s amazing Novembers Doom.

This album starts out at a ponderous pace then grabs the listener and doesn’t let go until it’s over. The production is sound, the music is perfect and the songs are some of the best the band has ever made; they take the listener through a beautiful and bleak place that is simply breath taking to behold.

The guitars are heavy and wander seamlessly through long drawn out passages, sprinkling various amounts of melody & 70’s Metal/Rock in all while the bass does an amazingly understated job of keeping the drums in line. The drums are incredibly creative and have a tendency to never stagnate.

It’s hard to imagine or think of a Doomdeath band throwing a 70’s Rock influence into their sound without using the phrase ‘Death ‘n’ Roll’ or Sabbath clone, but they manage. This music is indescribably moody & epic all while maintaining an undeniable heaviness that coexists with an obscene (and keen for that matter) sense of melodic song writing that is so far removed from the aforementioned possible tags its surreal.

This is the album where ND developed their trademark sound; it also showcases Eric Burnleys’ amazing song writing ability. The songs are only strengthened by Paul Kuhrs’ genius lyrics and outstanding vocals (that are so underrated it’s sickening!). This album sounds like it came from Europe, when it actually came from the windy city; that being said, they sound like NO ONE aside from themselves.

Over all, this is a MUST have for any serious Doomster as it shows ND coming into their own. They have this intriguing ability to not sound like anyone else (even to this day). The songs on average are slow to moderately slow and they even throw a nod to Black Sabbath towards the end of the album (hear “Forever with Unopened Eye”). The only thing that could be considered bad is the album does drag towards the last two songs, but even they rock!