Chicago’s NOVEMBERS DOOM have been a somewhat different band from the beginning. From the rather spry pure Death/Doom of “Amid Its Hallowed Mirth” over the more avantgardistic musings of the following albums to the surprisingly Death-heavy “The Novella Reservoir” they have refused to conform to the common genre definitions and this is no different with “Into Night’s Requiem Infernal” (INRI for short), where they fuse together the old and the new into one of the band’s career highlights, even if it might take a little longer to get into. Don’t get me wrong, Paul Kuhr’s lyrics are still as introverted and emotive as they get and he still growls with the best of them.
“Into Night’s Requiem Infernal” is not a departure from their previous albums, but maintains the foundation they have so laboriously built on for all these years and further elaborate on it by focusing on their strengths, beginning with the clear and powerful production that lends the force this album needs and deserves, be it the crushing guitar work of Larry Roberts and Vito Marchese or the thundering drumming of Sasha Horn, two very important factors on this album. I had listened to some other Doom/Death just before this one and the difference in power is amazing, NOVEMBERS DOOM can level many bands out there with frightening ease, listen to the opener and hold on to the seat of your pants, but with the next song, “Eulogy For The Living Lost” the Chicagoans really take it to the next level. The band has lived off contrasts for a long time, but here they turn the tables and have Paul growl over acoustic guitars and bring the emotional clear voice over the powerful double-bass and heavy guitars, I love it!
And they ensure not to turn one-dimensional after that either, “Empathy’s Greed” showcases similar traits as the previous highlight, while “The Fifth Day Of March” is one of the most personal compositions ever, which processes the death of Paul’s father and “Lazarus Regret” is a 3 minute cracker that reminds me more of old school Death Metal with some Doom influences, but it’s the quality of the song that makes it fit into the overall scheme of things, which works as well as the emotional melancholy of closing “When Desperation Fills The Void”, which shows way gentler sounds. What also has to be mentioned is the overall even level of quality throughout the 45 minutes of the album, while not all tracks can keep the extremely high level of the mentioned “Eulogy Of The Living Lost” or “Empathy’s Greed”, there is no track that pulls the disc down, which is something that sometimes had flawed previous outings.
“Into Night’s Requiem Infernal” is another high quality effort of the quintet to date, also because they have found a very good balance between heaviness and gloomy emotions, taking a step back into the somewhat more “traditional” fields of their sound, but nevertheless, you won’t make a mistake with this.
(Online November 17, 2009)