Italian NOVEMBRE always have been a slightly different band, which refuses to follow the usual trends and after having been signed to Century Media for a while, their fifth regular album (“Dreams D’Azur“ was a re-recording of their debut “Wish I Could Dream It Again…") is now out via British Peaceville Records. What had started out as some sort of progressive Death Metal, has seen the band around the Orlando brothers move into a direction that only has one other band that could be drawn as comparison: OPETH.
How do the Italians sound like five years after their last album “Novembrine Waltz“? Well, they have not chosen the same way as OPETH and put more heaviness into their songs again, but rather continue to put big emphasis on melancholic melodies and the more filigree song structures, which stand closer to Progressive Metal than Death Metal, which NOVEMBRE admittedly never really were. Opener “Verne” proves this with its very melancholic atmosphere, which embedded into the mid-paced to quiet music develops its very own feeling, which is further underlined by the use of the partly Italian lyrics, adding a personal touch. But that is only the beginning, for in the course of the rest of the album the compositions take on permanently changing hues and moods, but without losing the fundamental vibe, with expressive vocals, which here and there also get a bit more powerful, and emotional guitar work, which lends the songs its very own beauty (“Reason“).
“Comedia“ surprises the listener with a thunderous, heavy beginning, which we are not used to from NOVEMBRE anymore, but sounds great, before returning to the now NOVEMBRE-typical somberness, but still loosening up the song with heavier passages, very interesting! Also remarkable, the last two tracks “Croma“ and “Nothijngrad“ (with a few Death vocals) are leftovers from the “Novembrine Waltz“ sessions, but seamlessly integrate into the new song material.
Altogether “Materia“ is a bit less memorable than “Novembrine Waltz“ had been, although this might change with time, as NOVEMBRE always had been a band that only reluctantly would reveal the details of its compositions at first or second listen, for fans of progressive melancholy and lots of atmosphere and emotions this album and the band altogether should be a new entry on the check-out list! (Online August 6, 2006)