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Novembre - Classica CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.10 | 21 ratings

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Trickster F.
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Novembre's heaviest... and also most emotional release.

After the sudden change in sound of the sophomore album Arte Novecento, the leading Italian atmospheric metal group Novembre is back with the next album. The gently subtle touches from the previous release are replaced with a direction that could be initially witnessed in the debut album Wish I Could Dream Again - contrast between two polar parts - crushing Death Metal with ferocious growls and mellow, often acoustic, passages. However, Classica is not a return to the roots, and songs sound drastically different, yet keep that touch, which Novembre are instantly recognised for.

Made up from ten tracks of regular length, Classica's songs flow very well and none of them can be imagined separately out of the context of the album. The instrumentation is quite usual for rock standards, with some piano and minor keys utilised appropriately when relevant (this certainly is not the type of music that keyboards would work well in if implemented properly and used constantly!). The sound quality is significantly better with the bass guitar being sufficiently audible for our pleasure, and all other instruments heard well enough in order to follow the music perfectly. The group surely has not been wasting its time since the last release, as their individual technique and songwriting have improved, especially the significantly more expressive extreme vocal performance from Carmelo Orlando, who reaches an ultimate emotional peak in evoking his innermost feelings and thoughts, and that should not only be respected but appreciated greatly by the listener. Speaking about his clean vocals, there are some great moments as well, for instance, the whole beautiful Nostalgiaplatz track, but his "mellow" singing will improve considerably more on the future group's releases. In addition, Giuseppe Orlando's drumming is brilliant and absolutely precise, owing to the hard sound of the album. It is perhaps only rivalled by Dreams d'Azur and Novembrine Waltz, which also have more than just necessary ground for the drummer.

As it has already been pointed out, the songs on the albums are strongly connected, for example Tales from a Winter to Come shares its intro with Winter 1941, and the closing track Outro - Spirit of the Forest (Tales...Reprise), as the name suggests, develops over a theme taken from the former track. The track are all between 4 and 7 minutes in length, which is just the perfect time to express themselves and repeat the most impressive parts when necessary. The songs actually vary from each other a lot, as there are both melodic atmospheric Death Metal tracks (Cold Blue Steel) and sophisticated ballads(Nostalgiaplatz) in addition to the more brutal numbers(Onirica East). Do not get fooled by the title Love Story, which is the most extreme composition on the album, unlike the name would have suggested you. The song has an interesting moment where a harsh scream is repeated in different variations about ten times - a good exercise for both Carmelo's throat and your ears! The songs are often based around a strong rhythm section and two guitars playing simultaneously - one playing a crushing metal riff and the other - excellent melodies around it. There are generally both vocal styles used in contrast in each song, although some only one or even neither is used, as is the case with the excellent instrumental Foto Blu Infinito, one of the album's definite highlights. Lyrics are written almost entirely in English, with one song being a rare exception(Onirica East contains a few lines in the musicians' native tongue).

I have also noticed that the album possesses this unique environmental trait, meaning that you are most likely to feel it better outside, preferrably surrounded by breathtaking views, as well as in the right mood and state of mind, so keep that in mind.

When describing Novembre's Classica, only positive adjectives can possibly come to mind, however, masterpiece of progressive music surely isn't one of them. The album lacks the diversity of its successor Novembrine Waltz, that would go exploring moods and sounds much further, but nevertheless is a tremendously powerful creation that is meant to impress and disturb. On the other hand, if you can not digest extreme metal, then I suggest you stay away from this album and try either Arte Novecento or the recent Materia, that are more laid down and subtle in the means of expression chosen. However, if you know that does not apply to you, and you either were fascinated by the description of this music crammed full of emotions to the extreme or are a an ardent follower of either Katatonia, Agalloch and Opeth's My Arms Your Hearse album, by all means acquire this release.

Trickster F. | 4/5 |


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