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Novembre - The Blue CD (album) cover



Experimental/Post Metal

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Conor Fynes
3 stars 'The Blue' - Novembre (6/10)

Beginning their musical journey as a death metal band called Catacomb, the musical collective now known as Novembre has more recently turned to a style of depressive melodic metal, most readily associated with the latter era music of Sweden's Katatonia. While 2006's 'Materia' showed the band straying their furthest from the metal sound they grew up on, the follow-up to that album seems to take the band back down to a darker sound. While the band creates a fine listening experience here, and gets the sense of melancholia and despair down beautifully in most cases however, the album does feel in far too many instances as if it could have used some more edge and variety to it.

'Anaemia' starts the album of on a very strong note, really showing what 'The Blue' is all about, emotionally stirred vocals, atmosphere, melody and sadness all over the course of a song.More than often, the music will be fuelled by dark guitar riffs that are usually quite simple and are little merit on their own, but almost always work well in the context of the song. On top of this are the vocals of Carmelo Orlando, who often switches between clean vocals and death growls, much like MIkael Akerfeldt of Opeth does. Here then, is an aspect of 'The Blue' that is entirely inconsistent. While his growls are always powerful and give their respective sections a heaviness to them, the clean vocals certainly emphasize emotion over any technical accomplishment. Orlando's vulnerable croon works incredibly for the more mellow moments of the album, but when he is forced to use his higher register, things can be very hit-or-miss. Quite often, the usually powerful baritone of Carmelo will be forced out of its confomrt zone, resulting in something that sounds a tad whiny and thin for a metal record.

Unfortunately, the weaknesses of this record do not stop there. With the exception of the first track and the largely instrumental piece 'Zenith', the songs on 'The Blue' don't really stick out from one another. Most often, they sound like one another, always seeming as if they are tapping into the same tricks and no matter how good the musical ideas Novembre has here are, they do end up feeling tired by the end of the album. That being said, all of the ideas on 'The Blue' are quite strong, and while there may not be so much of a variety to the music here to warrant what feels like an incredibly long album experience, it stands its ground, for the most part.

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Posted Tuesday, March 1, 2011 | Review Permalink

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