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November's Doom: The Novella Reservoir

It's very early in 2007, but The End Records have already come up with the two early contenders for metal albums of the year with Melechesh's latest Emissaries and this monster release from Chicago's Novembers Doom. The Novella Reservoir is indeed just that, a monster album of death and doom metal, with plenty of progressive and atmospheric elements to help it appeal to a broader audience. If you thought their previous The Pale Haunt Departure is something special, you haven't heard anything yet.

On The Novella Reservoir the band have speeded up their sound a bit and added in some proggy bits, so if you are looking for more of slow, doomy, sludge ridden and morose style of previous albums you might be in for a surprise. Working with James Murphy and Dan Swano on the mastering and mixing seems to have injected a healthy dose of classic death metal as well as progressive metal vibe on this album. Honestly, how can the presence of Swano not influence any band? There's a certain Edge of Sanity type feel to many of these songs, as well as Opeth and My Dying Bride as far as some of the varied arrangements and vocal styles. In addition to some of the slower, more melancholy pieces that almost combine Pink Floyd with Katatonia, like on "Leaving This" and "Twilight Innocence", there's plenty of crushing death metal that features awesome guitar riffs, nimble rhythms, and a healthy mix of gutteral death growls and melodic clean passages. Look no further than the rampaging "Rain" and the heavy title track, the latter complete with keyboards and massive riffs, as prime examples of wonderful progressive and doomy death metal, again, sounding like a head on collision between Edge of Sanity, Opeth, and My Dying Bride. If you like you metal speedy and with a "take no prisoners" attitude, look no further than "Drown the Inland Mere", which features some of the best growls on the album from Paul Kuhr. The band mixes in acoustic passages, keyboard interludes, and changes in vocal styles throughout the album (check out the crushing & haunted tone of "They Were Left to Die"), making this one hell of an intriguing listen that keeps you coming back for more.

To say that Novembers Doom have seemingly hit paydirt here is an understatement. The Novella Reservoir is an outstanding extreme metal release. One look at the great Travis Smith designed cover and you instantly are aware that something special is going on here. The hour of doom is upon us, and the metal world will never be the same.

There's a new player on the scene folks, and the name is Novembers Doom.

Track Listing
1. Rain
2. The Novella Reservoir
3. Drown the Inland Mere
4. Twilight Innocence
5. The Voice of Failure
6. They Were Left to Die
7. Dominate the Human Strain
8. Leaving This

Added: January 31st 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: November's Doom Website
Hits: 3936
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

November's Doom: The Novella Reservoir
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-01-31 22:55:30
My Score:

Do not compare November's doom with Opeth. Not unless it's to say something like 'Opeth meets My Dying Bride' ... and even that's a stretch.

Yes, they play heavy extreme metal - powerful death growls and all - and they mix them up effectively with mellower parts and clean vocals. But the similarity stops there. As the band's name suggests, November's Doom is a doom-metal band, with the slow, often sludgy, morbid melodicism of an Anathema or My Dying Bride. Opeth in contrast is far more progressive, angry rather than gloomy, introspective rather than brooding.

Oh, sure, The Novella Reservoir is faster and more death-metal oriented than their prior releases, more symphonic, diverse, energetic, and frankly, a whole lot more mature. But this is still doom metal. Very good doom metal at that, and quite possibly the best America has to offer.

Other than the two ballads, this music is characterized by crushing riffs, some of the deepest and most brutal growling in the business, darkly atmospheric, and make no mistake, it's heavier 'n hell. Deeply distorted guitars, drumming that ranges from elegant through aggressive, and broody clean vocals sung in the low registers. Yet - there are also clean guitar lines, cleanly sung multi-part choruses, pretty acoustic guitar work, and a few wonderfully emotional lead guitar solos.

Two tracks stand out. the title track starts with a strummed acoustic guitar, then quickly breaks into the heavy stuff - and then those booming growls. But they're interspersed with clean-sung chorused lines that break the monotony of the death sounds, and the transitions are seamless. It closes with a short, slow guitar solo that drips with emotion and will have you wondering why there isn't more of that sound on the record. Then there's "Twilight Innocence" - apparently, singer Paul Kuhr's tribute to his young daughter. Once again there's a soft acoustic guitar intro, and the vocals are gentle and low and sweet. But in the multi-part chorus - despite the upbeat melody and lyrics - these guys can't get away from their signature gothic doomy tones. The piece features particularly nice guitar work and probably showcases the band's musicianship more effectively than any of the heavier tracks.

One look at the cover art and you'll recognize Travis Smith's hand - and yes, that may be another valid Opeth comparison, since Smith illustrates their albums too.

» Reader Comments:

November's Doom: The Novella Reservoir
Posted by Hugh Dark on 2007-02-27 09:21:07
My Score:

This is the cd that gives this band more credibility. It was nice to have a release that is not so over-hyped before it hit the shelves that it would inevitably have to be a letdown. The sounds of this cd come as a pleasant surprise. It is much more masculine and dark than their previous release; with more substantive lyrics and a heavier aesthetic than the band has ever had. It is kind of like their "deliverance" without any negative connotations. I have heard some rumblings about the band only having 8 songs on the release, but that is a good thing as it is much easier to build a relationship with a consistent cd. Overall, it is about 10 minutes shorter than the previous release. Quality over quantity has been set into motion!
The songs are a little faster and more progressive, but they are also as heavy as shit. The band has really hit their stride and honed their weapons to a fine point. I was glad to see that the clean vocals are less prevalent than before and used for more effect to add dynamics to a song instead of being the main feature. For me, this works better. I was never a big fan of the monotone voice, lacking any vibrato, carrying too much of a song. Although, there is one song that features this trait exclusively, it is a little more Floydian and the music behind is a charm. On the other hand, the death vocals are more intense and even harmonized in many songs for a very evil effect. Evil? Yeah, evil! It is hard to believe, but in some of the songs he sounds like Lucifer's incarnate. I have a feeling the girls are not going to like this cd as much as The Pale Haunt Departure, that is for sure. Boo-Hoo!
I also have to mention the inclusion of guitar solos. They are very Akerfeldt in feel and delivery, but very NECESSARY. It is nice to see the band working up their musical proficiency as well as their mystique. What's more, they compliment the song and are endowed with killer tone. Novembers Doom are on the path to longevity as they have eliminated any questionable elements, while maintaining the aspects that have made them great. It must be mentioned that this recording maintains a subtlety that may be lost on some. I mean, you can blast this cd out at full volume or listen intuitively with some good headphones and get two completely different experiences! Try it and see what I mean. I believe this cd is going to be their swan song and if you were not sure of the band, you will be now. An absolute classic with tons of class!

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