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Novembre - Materia CD (album) cover

MATERIA

Novembre

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.72 | 47 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Materia' - Novembre (7/10)

The Italian dark metal group Novembre has never been known for any bone-crushing heaviness, but their first bigger label album 'Materia' would certainly show the band go down a more melodic route than ever. From the same record company that hosts such legendary atmospheric acts as Katatonia, Novembre is in good company with Peaceville, and it has certainly been reflected in their sound. At the sacrifice of vitality and intensity in their sound, Novembre has made a noble choice to take things in a more harmonious direction, but the deep sense of loss and melancholy in the band's formula is stronger than ever.

From the saddening opener 'Verne' onwards, Novembre asserts themselves as a very vocal-centric act. Singer Carmelo Orlando's voice very important both in the songwriting as well as the production mix, and the music therefore relies heavily on his delivery. While evidently not a technically skilled singer in terms of range, Orlando's voice does carry a very distinct tone to it, and an ability to transmit emotion that works beautifully for the bands sound. The musicianship here is rarely dependent on technicality; the instruments instead are focused on emotional dynamic and the context of the songs. That being said, the drums

'Materia' starts off excellently. With absolutely majestic tracks as the hymnal 'Verne', the dynamic 'Reason' and the catchy 'Aquamarine', the first half of the album is real gold. The highlight of the album here however is none other than 'Jules', which is easily the best composed and performed track here. Beginning with an exotic acoustic guitar strum, the piece quickly builds into a grief-ridden riff and strong melodies from Carmelo. Had every track on the album reached this level of strength, I would have no problem deeming 'Materia' a masterpiece. Not all is such gold however.

The second half does take a turn for the worse. While never bad by any measure, it feels as if the same melodic tricks and ideas are being reprised and recycled for a second side, with slight tweaks in the formula. Simply, the melodies here feel less striking than they are in the first half, although a few such as the title track and 'Nothijingrad' certainly keep the album worth listening to all the way through, regardless of the sameness of the sound throughout.

A great album, with a convincing sound from these Italian metallers. Here, the band shows they can write some great music and make a fitting performance to back it up, but the consistency of the work does leave something missing.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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