MetalBite Review by Allan on 3/28/2005
For years while everybody was praising Novemberís Doom
, I was idly watching, taking enough of an interest to listen to what everybody was so enamored by. However, for me Novemberís Doom has never quite bridged that gap between good and great. Letís be honest here kids Ė these doomsterís donít exactly have the best track record when it comes to writing cohesive, congruous albums, or even full songs for that matter. The material might have been good, but if itís barely being held together that presents a problem. With that said, I figured there would be a day when they got it right. Their latest offering The Pale Haunt Departure
Pursuing the melodic death/doom avenue that so many bands travel, Novemberís Doom donít achieve success through being original, but rather by simply doing what they do better than the rest. Indeed there are many bandís that run alongside Novemberís Doom: Opeth
(although theyíre far less doom-influenced), early Anathema
and Daylight Dies
are excellent examples. However, Novemberís Doom music is branded with their signature; you wonít be confusing anything you hear by them with another band.
The question remains: exactly how do they beat out the competition? For starters, there isnít one single section on The Pale Haunt Departure
that is dull or disappointing. The ideas presented are fantastic. More specifically, the cleaner, more melodic, as well as acoustic sections are excellently crafted, presenting creative ideas that donít sound like they were written by some metal dudes that only picked up an acoustic guitar because they heard one of their favorite bandís do some arpeggios. In other words, the music in these sections sounds natural, not forced, and itís actually quite tasteful. On the other side, the heavier moments, while still melodic, are intense and full, something aided by the great production, courtesy of Dan Swano
. When combined with the songwriting to pull it all together, youíve got a winning combination.
There is another element in The Pale Haunt Departure
that seems to be absent in a lot of music these days, and that would be inspiration, heart, soul, or whatever you want to call it. Novemberís Doom play and sound like theyíve actually taken the time to work out the small details that are often overlooked, and it shows. Not only that, but when the guitarís rip into a solo or vocalist Paul Kuhr
uses his befittingly morose clean vocals, there is a sense of ambition behind it. The emotion is present, and as a result, the atmosphere is drawn out. The result is great.
As for now, Novemberís Doom has caught my attention with The Pale Haunt Departure
by doing it better than the bands standing on the same playing field. Maybe next time theyíll play it a little less safe and venture into some unknown territory. But for now, letís just all enjoy what is undoubtedly going to end up on everybodyís top ten lists.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
out of 10