This third release from NOVEMBERS DOOM arrived on my desk the day before their first two arrived by mail-order. Normally, when possible, I like to review a band after becoming familiar with as much material as I can get but I went about this backwards and due to time constraints lately, I have yet to explore the older CDs. Besides, it makes no difference as far as this opus is concerned…it's brilliant.
My expectations were certainly high upon witnessing the beautiful cover artwork. It is instantly recognizable as a Travis Smith work…see OPETH, KATATONIA, NEVERMORE and many others or better yet check out all his work at www.seempieces.com. This piece cries of pain, tragedy and sombreness and should be enough to indicate the type of listening ears the music should grace.
I was immediately alerted to the OPETHIAN similarities in this band. Please do not get me wrong, they are not a clone. They are similar in vibe, atmosphere and perhaps the harsh vocals. They share the love for the acoustic/heavy inter-mix but they manage to make their style their own. Spoken male vocals as well as soft, sweet female vocals are also used periodically to add both depth and ambience. I find the songs a bit more straightforward in terms of general song-writing, time signatures, etc and generally the tracks are shorter than those of OPETH…not a bad thing at all, just different.
The production is absolutely spectacular as I have come to expect from Neil Kernon. The drum sound is very solid and profound and the heavy guitar has a thick sound that few can get but all would love to have. The acoustic elements are absolutely clear and beautiful. When graced with the voice of guest vocalist Nora O'Connor, it feels like she is sitting right in front of me. Need I say more?
Upon repeated listens, I find myself at a loss as far as picking out standout tracks. I realize this is simply because that is not what they are about. They create dark, tragic, sombre music that is about mood and feeling. The lyrics however do stand out…they are appropriate to the music, thoughtful and even stunning at times. The tracks vary a great deal as far as heaviness is concerned however, the band never lose sight of this musical goal and vision. I don't doubt with dozens of listens, favourite tracks shall emerge but for now I am happy reporting it as conceptually all very strong.
"To Welcome The Fade" is an amazing work of beautiful music. This belongs in all collections that contain any OPETH or KATATONIA. Although NOVEMBERS DOOM definitely are all their own, these are the bands that I think they most closely resemble in genre. Perhaps Avantgarde Metal if you will. Regardless of classification…they are absolute Class! (Online October 10, 2003)