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Look At That Ass... - 70%

OzzyApu, April 22nd, 2009

Interesting curvature and color scheme, with such smooth skin caressable to the touch! Now then, with experience comes veterancy, but alas these dumbasses missed the mark yet again. Blessed be the production values, I must commend, but by now the gang should be able to at least execute a proper song, right?

Let’s break it down for the elementary school kids aka Zarach Baal Tharagh style. Production is a damn step up from the sophomore album, and Novembre have proved once again that they’re album to mold atmosphere, a riff, a melody, some lyrics, a drum rhythm, some bass lines, and in some way or form make a song out of it. Looks good on paper, but something jacked up when they pressed “record” in the studio and hit the first note. The energy is there, the effort can be noticed, but when we draw the thin red line of the ass crack, implementation is flawed.

Carmelo should have decided one utilizing harsh vocals more, since he never sucked with them. His scream / growl sounds more tortured than ever and slightly echoed. His cleans are what causes problems for all nations – they’re dry, dull, off-key more than not, and have no soul or resonance like on later releases.

Novembre is a band that takes pride in their ambiance and melodies, and they certainly hit the mark here. I enjoy the vibe here than on Novembrine Waltz as it leans towards more classical harmonies, like on “Nostalgiaplatz” and “Foto Blu Infinito.” I can easily hear orchestral renditions of those tracks, with more fervor and the performance spot on. Thanks to the leadwork this is accomplished, as is the same culturally correct link between riff and bass. Hear the walloping slam behind each riff chugged, picked, and ceased for the arrival of an interlude.

*Screeching halt* eeeeeeek! What’s the problem then? Well, the leads sound interesting enough, but they don’t have any impact like on later releases. The best of Classica ranks up with a decent track on say The Blue. The influences are there, but it wasn’t enough to bring in a combined arms experience to really enjoy these songs. The worst is that I can barely remember any of these songs – yeah, as catchy as “Cold Blue Steel” is when I hear it, give me ten minutes and I’ll never be able to hum it unless it was the only song playing for an hour straight.

The only member who comes close to getting some ass is Giuseppe since his performance outweighs everyone else. Two common attributes make a great drum performance for an album: production and skill. Recording was ripe for a change this time around, and this Orlando actually gained skill since the debut, so whoever placed bets on him is a rich man. Every crash and thump hit is clear, vibrant, and pulsating. His timing couldn’t be any better and I strangely find myself headbanging to his playing instead of the guitars (wow).

Come to think of it, the only thing great about this album, by far, above all else that could stand high, mighty, and worth your money… is the chick on the front. The red dawn, attention to detail on the lighting, that ass… dear lord that ass. If only the album was half as good as the cover, then this would be a ruby. Carmelo must have been like, “Hey, we still can’t create a worthwhile album – but there's a naked chick on the cover! Buy my album!”

I’d recommend it as a starting point, I guess. Arte Novecento was letdown by a longshot and the debut was fucking roadkill so don’t even go there. At least with this one you won’t be as disappointed, so why not. Plus, you can’t go wrong with that cover.

From One Problem To Another. - 65%

Perplexed_Sjel, April 16th, 2009

Its about time! Novembre are back with their third effort, ‘Classica’ and this time, they have FINALLY managed to sort out the production trials and tribulations that we saw on the first two efforts. As I’ve stated in previous reviews, Novembre had troubles with obtaining the right production. The sound didn’t have a good balance. The bass suffered as a result, as did the light-hearted percussion which couldn’t dramatise the emotive nature of Novembre’s sound and, the biggest fault of all, who even knew keyboards existed on the first few efforts?! The production truly drowned out elements of the instrumentation like some cruel hearted bitch drowning numerous unwanted and unloved cats in bags at the bottom of the river. To the bottom they sank and with the end they met. The production was a sadist, it liked to torment the listener and the band by posing several different, but still as irksome troubles. The genre tag also makes no sense to me. I feel that there is next to no death metal elements on the latter records and what little that might be on the earlier one’s is limited and isn’t important regardless.

The production killed any attempts at forging some sort of imperative mood, or texture that was both delightful to hear, structurally sound and that would have produced a positive vibe from a reviewing and listening perspective. This coming from a man who listens to poorly produced black metal records and calls them classics. I can tolerate poor production, especially when its done in an attempt to generate atmosphere, but Novembre obviously weren’t making that their own intention on either of the two previous recordings. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Novembre have dealt with the severity that was the production, here’s the irony and the pun all in one go: this record is no classic. However, it is more productive in every sense than the first too, but still flirts with mediocrity all too much for my liking. The band have suffered from regular problems with the production, and on top of that, the line-up has consistently changed. Even on this record. Its hard to distinguish which of the two guitarists is the lead, but I imagine one of the new recruits, who didn’t last long, leads the line with his improved musicianship and increased creative juices. His performance doesn’t carry Novembre, by any means, and nor does Carmelo’s, which it might have done in the past.

We’re no longer introduced to the nothingness that is the keyboards. The little impact they had on the soundscapes of old was unreal. You wouldn’t believe it until you heard it for yourself. However, I suppose in the long run, the loss of a keyboardist is a positive, right? Its difficult to understand where Novembre have gone wrong continually in the past. The debut interfered with and destroyed any inclusion the bass might have had, as well as deeming the deconstructed percussion sections as null and void since they impacted as little as possible with a rather muted sound. The band whimpered across the finish line as ‘Wish I Could Dream It Again…’ stumbled over itself. Next up, ‘Arte Novecento’ posed exactly the opposite problems in terms of the lacklustre production values. The bass was audible and even eligible, as were the percussion passages, but the guitars were caused havoc with as the production began to, once again, stamp its awful authority over the soundscapes like some power hungry tyrant from the 20th century. Let us not be too harsh. There are positives to take from this listening experience, though its just far too dull to last long in the memory, even after repeated listens. Creatively, Novembre should sound like some sort of avant-gardé act, but they don’t.

The gothic influences are overpowered by the supposed doom elements that consist on this record. First of all, Carmelo’s vocals are fine when they’re simply clean. They produce a nice melody, if not a little uninspiring and contain emotive connotations, as well as imagery in his sometimes harmonic voice, but those screams are muted in the ears of all listeners as he fails to deliver the same amount of emotion and passion as his clean vocals. The harsh vocals are suitably positioned next to the more dynamic sections (faster percussion - double bass and regular use of the hi-hat), but its in these precise moments that Novembre live up to the all-to-negative expectations that have been forced upon us by the first two records. Carmelo would be best suited to dropping this style, which he does more so on future records. Songs like ‘L'epoque Noire (March the 7th 12973 A.D.)’ truly do expose him for being a poor harsh vocalist. His screams (or are they meant to be doom growls?) are ineffectual. Carmelo and Massimiliano work fine together when it comes to lead and following guitarists. They intertwine with some joy, but as I said, much of this record is largely forgettable. I struggle to remember a decent riff, or bass lead that really caught me off guard. There in lies the problem - they’re forgettable, even when the production has been sorted out. Bass is audible, but not emotive enough. Vocals are either too nasal, or too annoying (though they can present some nice melodies) and the percussion/guitars are in no position to fuse everything together. From one problem to another.

CL-ASS-ICA - 90%

Under_The_Oak, April 23rd, 2007

This is one of the rare cases where an album IS just as great as the coverart. Novembre is an Italian band that plays an interesting type of melodic death metal, reminiscent of Opeth's older material. Classica is just what the title implies - a classic. This release is full of atmosphere, emotion and driving power. These tracks are quite progressive, with gothic and doom influences amidst tranquil seas of flowing melodic leads. Variety is abundant on this album, and its interesting to hear how the transitions between tracks occur in Classica, because you don't really know what type of song you're going to hear next. What you can be sure of though, is that both rock and metal lovers alike should enjoy this release.

I recently dug this out again for the first time in over two years and it has only gotten better with age, in my opinion. Novembre are masters at their craft, and although they may not be in the same league as Opeth, they are not as far behind as you'd think. This record is well produced, with each and every note resounding in gorgeous, crystal-clear power. The riffs are, of course, very catchy and diverse, as they prove they can write songs that can rival the percussive fury of death and black metal. A wonderful mix of heavily distorted and clean guitars, roaring and soft-sung vocals, and many other alternations of extremism and beauty.

--Originally written for Guitar6.com--