NOVEMBERS DOOM have existed for over ten years and they are one of the few bands from the U.S. that can be put in the same sentence with the likes of ANATHAMA, MY DYING BRIDE and then some. While the band has managed to prove their weight in gold, I think a change was much needed. Everything they had pumped out previously was great, but very slow, gloomy to the max and if you’re not in the right frame of mind you are going to shut it off with the quickness.
I know that’s what Doom is all about, but you have to add a little flavour to the mix once in a while to holds peoples’ interest and low and behold here it is. I know the hardcore fans may disapprove or not, but this is refreshing. Paul still manages to be growly and ugly vocally while the music picks up. As for the rest of the music, it’s something that’s much needed. It’s a shot in the arm. The title track kicks things off in very rhythmic way. Joe Nunez’s drumming has more speed and punch, but still maintains its heaviness. The guitar work from Larry and new comer Vito is so full of life. There are melodies galore thrown in, but at the same time this could be their catchiest yet.
The vintage sound of old comes back to haunt the masses on “Swallowed By The Sun.” The beautiful yet sombre guitar work is intact blended in with the spoken word of Paul as well as the agro vocals. The drumming as well continues to pound away through and through the speakers. One of the songs that really caught my ear was “Autumn Reflections.” I think this captures the Doom vibe perfectly without overkilling it. The acoustic guitars are utilized throughout the track and are performed in a subtle, yet beautiful way. Things do get plugged in, but it’s not overbearing. Paul manages to clear his throat and be passionate about is singing. It’s all done in a way that isn’t cheesy or lame.
Talk about Heavy Metal! Vito and Lar lay down the most Metal riffs yet for a Doom band on “Dark World Burden.” It’s hard not to notice this when it comes on. This has to be one of the faster tracks on here, but they still manage to throw in sounds of the morose. I know I have a soft spot for balladesque songs as long as they are done well and another winner here is “Through A Child’s Eyes.” The acoustic guitars combined with the clarity of Paul’s voice and laid back drumming has a Folk feeling which I like a lot. It’s subtle yet organic and peaceful. The boys really pulled out everything they had dared to make a record that could be controversial or revered pending on how you view the band. I think that a minor change was needed and it works well here.
The one thing about ND is that they don’t totally abandon their sound. They mix the old with the new and do it with class and it shows once you lay down your cash for it. I believe this is the next chapter in their career. (Online August 17, 2005)