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To Welcome the Fade is the fourth full-length album by doom/death band Novembers Doom. On Novembers Doom’s third album The Knowing we saw a major shift in sound to a more melodic direction, this album continues the trend, and while similar to the previous album they perfected their new sound on To Welcome the Fade. That's not to say they changed from doom/death to alternative rock, this album is still a doom/death album just with more melodic sections integrated into the music. To Welcome the Fade is a beautiful and melancholic masterpiece.
The vocals on this album are very good; Paul has a deep but audible growl and has a rather moving clean singing voice. Also prominent on this album are female vocals, which is not uncommon for the doom/death genre, but I must say this album has the best use of female vocals I've heard yet in this genre, just listen to the song Torn, the female vocals are different than what you'd normally see in the doom/death genre in that they are not operatic, they are very passionate and touching, and also contribute to the overall atmosphere of the album.
The lyrics on this album are the best lyrics on any Novembers Doom album to date, much better than the childish and cringe-worthy lyrics on The Pale Haunt Departure. The lyrics are deeply personal and tell a story. The lyrics are about Paul's personal struggles and are in first person. He sings them with so much emotion and passion, and often times quite tragically. There are many emotionally despairing moments on this album.
Novembers Doom are notable for their very strong riffs, and here they are top notch. Just listen to the opening track Not the Strong, right off the bat we are greeted with some of the best riffs the genre has to offer; the drums are also powerful and driving and fit the music perfectly. The Song writing on this album is superb, while many compare them to Opeth, they are not an Opeth clone, Novembers Doom are entirely their own entity. The music ranges from crushing doom to spoken word passages, to a more somber and mellow sections, which are often very beautiful and moving. Also there are other influences on this album such as alternative and progressive rock to a point. Broken is a pretty good example, and possibly my favorite track on the album, the album starts out as doom/death but after about four minutes softens up into a beautiful clean guitar section with melancholy ridden clean spoken vocals, and in my opinion is the most beautiful section on the entire album. The acoustic guitar also makes its appearance in many of the songs; in fact the song If Forever is entirely acoustic and cleanly sung, the song show cases how effective the acoustic guitars use is.
Despite how good the album is, it is not perfect. There are some faults to this album, some parts of this album feel a little awkward like the heavier sections to the song Torn, they just don't fit too well. Also the song The Lifeless Silhouette is not as strong as the other tracks on the album, its good but nothing special.
In summery To Welcome the Fade is Novembers Doom's best album yet. It is a masterfully crafted album, with amazing production, vocals, and song writing. The album is beautiful, melancholic, and conveys depression and misery almost seamlessly. This album is highly recommended for fans of Opeth, My Dying Bride, Katatonia, and Swallow the Sun.
This is the last Doomdeath release from Chicago Illinois (then) quartet Novembers Doom and it’s simply amazing. This album continues the bands melodic exploration while still retaining their bombast and underlying heaviness.
This album would mark the end of the bands work with their female vocalist Cathy Jo Hejna; as well as main song writer/guitarist Eric Burnly (his departure is heard on the bands latter two releases as they lack the trademark sound that he created). This album is also the bands last with label Dark Symphonies.
Right off the bat, the guitars and bass are thunderous; this is the last time we get to hear their trademark 70’s Rock influence as well. The guitars have many chorded parts with a random amount of crunch thrown in. There are also some acoustic moments (as well as a solo of sorts on the last song).
The drums are outstanding and always keep the beats interesting. The bass is less interesting and tends to ride the open ‘E’ sting throughout most of the record (not the most original idea but it’s a great way to add balls to any song). Paul’s vocals are top notch (this goes without saying at this point!).
The lyrics are perhaps the bands most personal since ‘Of Sculpted Ivy & Stone Flowers’. The production is also top quality and really brings the misery of each song into full view as a result. This is really a work of art and a logical progression from the prior release ‘The Knowing’.
Over all, this is an intense listen and a great starting point for anyone new to the band. You get to hear their original sound (arguably at its peak) and witness one of Americas best kept secrets.
November's Doom is a band that has sort of evolved throughout their career, i wont say they have strayed too far from their origins (which is doom/death). But somehow my first impression of this album was not of a juggernaut piece of art like i thought the first time i heard Anathema's and Paradise Lost's old albums. I even thought it sucked big time, except maybe the first track Not The Strong. But as time passed by, and expectations left my mind. I decided i wanted to give it another try.
What i found was dark and beautiful. This album really is very good!! Tracks like Broken, with the beautiful acoustic part ending the song, really inspire melancholy. Now in my opinion some tracks during the middle of the album tend to drag too long (see If Forever and Within My Flesh) and feel endless but thats what doom is about no? I sure as hell have always thought so. It is worth mentioning that the last track Dark Fields For Brilliance....it is really exactly what the title says, no other way to explain it. It is really the gem of this album. When i mentioned the sort of evolution of this album, it is simply that you no longer get those Slllloooooowwwwww riffs and those 8 to 12 minute songs. This type of doom, to me sounds like some sort of dark/doom metal, i guess thats the only proper definition i can give it, but it still does carry the doom/death vibe (and the vocals).
If you have thought about this album, i suggest you download any of the below mention tracks here, because the other ones might turn you off to some real Maryland talent. But the truth is, if you never liked doom/death then this is not your cup of tea.
*Standout Tracks - Broken, The Spirit Seed, Dark Fields For Brilliance *
The Knowing was among my favourite albums the year it was released. It wasn't overly original but anyone who has listened to them for some time, or heard the intro to With Rue and Fire, realizes that this band are not innovators but they are very good a playing their style of tradditional Doom/Death metal.
Which brings us to To Welcome The Fade. The Knowing marked a turning point in this band's sound, cleaner production and less slothful songs. In many regards this album is a logical continuation, I would like to say evolution but that term is not appropriate to this album. The sound on this album is even cleaner and more polished than the Knowing. This isn't a problem in itself.
What is problematic are the songs on this album. They are very emotional however November's Doom has softened their sound. Whenever a band goes mellow (see Anathema) there is a danger than your music will lose its power, its depth. This is what is happening here. Much of the music, in spite of the great lyrics, lacks power. One does not feel tormented like one did on Amid Its Hallowed Mirth. This is very easy listening. The songs themselves are devoid of any musically interesting ideas. The crushing heaviness is gone, the mostly mid-tempo songs just amble along uneventfully.
I find it difficult to fully express how disappointed I was in this album. I wanted to like it (especially after paying upwards of 30$ for it), I tried to, but one cannot like mediocrity. Which is what this album is. November's Doom have gone from being one of the finer american Doom acts to being something of a second rate Opeth.