Novembers Doom Don’t Go Quietly into Night’s Requiem

Ma'am.Novembers Doom have always been the American champions of a predominantly European sound. Formed in a tandem timeline with the likes of Paradise Lost, Katatonia and My Dying Bride, the Chicago outfit didn?t release a full-length until 1995?s Amid its Hallowed Mirth, when the Euro scene was already well established, and never really got their full due of credit or influence. Having of late adopted a less lavish, more immediate death metal sound, the band complete their second decade of existence with their seventh LP, Into Night?s Requiem Infernal (The End Records).

Even those who heard 2007?s The Novella Reservoir will be surprised at how much Novembers Doom have upped their deathly approach. The first two minutes or so of the opening title track are virtually indistinguishable from Amon Amarth, such is the thickened weight of Larry Roberts? and Vito Marchese?s guitars. Only when vocalist and lone original member Paul Kuhr switches from growls to his clean approach can they be told apart. There are two solid, weepy doom ballads on Into Night?s Requiem Infernal — ?The Fifth Day of March? and closer ?When Desperation Fills the Void? (the latter gets heavy at the finish) — but the larger portion of the record is geared toward a classic US death metal sound with flourishes of melancholic ambience. Sonically, it?s more Opeth than Anathema, though of course Novembers Doom was a band before either of them, so take that for what it?s worth.

Hands up for Paul.?Empathy?s Greed? might be the highlight of the album, as it combines crushing death metal and a clean vocal chorus that sums up what Novembers Doom have become in the back half of this decade. Drummer Sasha Horn?s footwork impresses throughout, but especially here, as he provides more than straight runs and typical rhythms to match bassist Chris Wisco. The equally punishing ?Lazarus Regret? (the two tracks effectively frame ?The Fifth Day of March?) is shorter but no less heavy.

If anything ties the Novembers Doom of today with the same band who released Of Sculptured Ivy and Stone Flowers a decade ago, it?s Kuhr?s lyrics, which explore as ever the depths of human regret and emotional longing. The vocalist?s experience with the degenerative disease Spinal Stenosis bleeds into the words of ?I Hurt Those I Adore,? and ?A Eulogy for the Living Lost? combines personal crises with religious imagery. As has always been the case, the way in which the words are presented in the songs is as important (if not more so) than the words themselves.

Devotees of the older, doomier Novembers Doom material won?t have much to cling to with Into Night?s Requiem Infernal (the heavier side of ?When Desperation Fills the Void? notwithstanding), but newcomers without such expectations who were into The Novella Reservoir or 2005?s transitional The Pale Haunt Departure will be fine. It?s not a landmark release, but open-minded fans will still have no problem getting into the band?s songwriting, which remains of a consistently high quality, no matter the genre in which they?re situating themselves.

Novembers Doom on MySpace

The End Records

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