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Novembre - Novembrine Waltz CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.59 | 33 ratings

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Trickster F.
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Their Blackwater Park? Wait a second...

Unfotunately, it is inevitable to avoid comparisons with Opeth when talking about Novembre's music. This is not difficult to understand though - the Swedish prog metallers have established their own unique style and gained more success than they had ever expected or wanted to achieve. Surely, the same qualities Opeth fans adore can be found in Novembre's music, Novembrine Waltz in particular. However, it would be rather ignorant to look up to this amazingly talented and overlooked Italian group as one of the countless Opeth followers. Novembre have been in it as long as the Swedes and were as much pioneers of the melodic, atmosphere kind of progressive death metal as the above-mentioned collective.

Novembrine Waltz, on the other hand, can be compared to Blackwater Park in that it was, in a way, a breakthrough for the group and an inspiring effort to say the least. Still, the similarities aren't as visible as one might have thought and Novembrine Waltz is no less original than any respected Opeth release. Moreover, the group's emotion is one of its main strength - Novembre haven't lost their eerie atmosphere even after more than ten years of professional career, while the Swedes have got colder, more clinic and sterile during the time. The songwriting talent of Carmelo Orlando also is clearly different from his moustache-equipped colleague - whilst the latter puts a few riffs together to create his group's composition, the former's talent is more broad, which, as you may have already suspected, makes the listen through the brilliantly written Novembrine Waltz a magical dream.

The opener of the album is the solid Distances is an impressive one and also preparing you for what's yet to come. Starting with a short recording of a choir singing, it goes straight into a genius riff and its variations. Clean vocals kick in as well - this isn't the same clean vocals style Carmelo puts on throughout the album. The music doesn't take a 180 degree turn once the growls appear, which is a sign of a composer who doesn't simply manage transition between parts successfully - there simply isn't a transition! As scenes shift, the music is not made of crafted parts but rather is a "whole" - the finest example of how modern music should be written. More melodic guitar lines and inspiring riffs await the listener until you come across... an accordion solo! A rarity in Metal music, the usage of this relatively obscure(in rock circles, at least) instrument contributes to the song and doesn't feel out of place. Further into the song, there is one little something that most listeners wouldn't pay any attention to, but that sticked out for me immediately: that one melodic riff is "borrowed" from none other than Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Once again, it is striking how such diverse inspirations(almost polar opposites) can create a cohensive record from start to finish.

The dreamy Everasia follows, and this is another exceptionally inspiring track with amazing musicianship and songwriting. However, what really sets apart from the rest of the album is its extraordinary use of singing and vocal harmonies. The singing styles shift dramatically between the two opposite sites, confirming what I said in the paragraph above. A particularly note-worthy part of the song is the mighty chant-like chorus - Issa oh, oh, Issa, Issa, oh, oh... Da padre a figlio..., which is unbelievably catchy and something that you just can't help singing along to. In addition, the vocal harmonies are just as unique - Carmelo sings to his own growls and growls to his own singing, which is deliberated and controlled and makes that incomparable feeling that there are extra two instruments playing. On top of it all, the performance Giuseppe Orlando, Novembre is brilliant - I simply can not give him any more credit for his amazing work!

Just when you thought that the first two tracks were impressive and that the beginning of the album was solid, the next two mini-opuses Come Pierrot and Child of the Twilight. I suppose the meaning of the title is actually Like Pierro, although I am not sure if the Come part should be translated, as Novembre combine both English and their native Italian. Needless to say, this makes their music even more diverse and beautiful, because the lyrics sung in native tongue sound very sincere(not to say Carmelo's English lyrics aren't sincere!). If I had to evaluate Come Pierrot, I'd give it an eleven out of ten. This song is full of that dreamy atmosphere that appears to have been the emotional concept of the album. It is full of ethereal, gorgeous vocals, some guitar work that was written especially to suit the mood of the song(not just a few riffs thrown together). The main riff, presented in different variation and played by guitars differently set up in many parts of the song, has that unique feeling attached to it and the piano part in the beginning of the sound is very, hugely - I can't stress this word enough - immensely dreamy! The song could have ended right after the four minutes mark, but instead we are awarded with a dramatic heavy section with relentless growls thrown in. The ending of the song continues its early part and is one of the many moment of the album which you wish would last forever.

Child of the Twilight is next and is an emotinally contrary to the previous song. While it has its fair share of delicate moments, it is bleak and depressing, as well as full of despair. This is perhaps the eeriest, most mysterious track on the album. The use of acoustic guitars and synths is brilliant, yet simple, and is very appropriate for the composition. The vocals here are, once again, beautifully performed(I think this is the forth time I say this during my review, so let us put it this way: if I don't mention the vocals in further track description in this review, it will mean that Carmelo is at the top of his game, okay?). This is the first track on the album where Carmelo hums instead of singing the lyrics and this is a rare sight in Metal music to say the least. The eerie atmosphere here is as powerful as you can imagine, and the approach to heavy vocals is rather unique - a non-distorted scream goes straight into brutal screams, full of protest and despair. Giuseppe makes an outstanding performance on the kit as well, especially during the extreme parts. The first part of the song is repeated again in the end of the song, this time without the acoustics. What a great way to end this amazing compositon!

The fifth song here is... surprise! A Kate Bush cover Cloudbusting. The vocals are done by Ann-Marie Edvardsen from The 3rd And The Mortal while Carmelo is silent(wonder how it would be like if he did the vocals here? It would have been something out of the ordinary, that's for sure). It isn't really that astounding though, as Kate's music has inspired Novembre a lot - and you can somewhat make a connection between the dreamy vibe in Kate's and Carmelo's music. I have enjoyed the original quite a lot myself, and still find this cover to be even better - they haven't really changed anything drastically, however, it sounds much more powerful and less naive, I think I like it better this way. The instrumentation is also different from other Novembre tracks, meaning the frequent use of violins and keyboards. The next dream is the uplifting Flower - a song that the musicians would pay much attention to and develop its ideas on their next release - Materia. This is another brilliantly written and performed track. I get chills during the part when the extreme vocals first appear, because they are some kind of an anomaly. Instead of expressing anger or despair, they sound mysterious, almost comforting, showing Carmelo's valuable skill to pass feelings to the listeners no much which style of singing he approaches. Once again, there is brilliant guitar work, nice bass parts and a vocal harmony of two contrary vocal styles used one after another, completing the incomparable landscape.

Valentine is next, starting with a simple drum beat and then continuing to explore the group's dreamy fantasy-like music even further further. It is titled an almost an instrumental, and you can see why: although the singing is present, albeit in lesser amounts than on the rest of the album, the growls are completely absent and the preferred style of singing is the catchy humming that will get stuck in your head for a while. Acoustic guitars are used more often here, even in the two heavier parts, with distorted guitar riffs, that still don't take away the beauty from the music, and flashy drumming. This is perhaps Novembre's best accomplishment instrumentally so far! The group members appear very proficient instrumentalists during this track and the mystery is still here! The next track Venezia Dismal starts with a synth intro and is one of the collective's live favourites. The chorus here is wonderful and catchy, and there are more unpredictable moments in this song compared to the other tracks, which are more cohensive. The track stops playing for a while and goes into a completely different part, and there is also a moment where a relentless growl appears after a mellow orchestral synth part. The unpredictability of the track can be explained by the album's conceptual nature of a "dream" a human witnesses at night - in which this track is the first disharmonic dream. If my perception of this album's identity is right and Novembrine Waltz really is a dream, then the last track, called Conservatory Resonance is its nightmare, albeit melodic and keeping the sense of beauty. No clean vocals can be found here, however, I still consider it to be one of the record's best numbers. There is something tragic, drastic with this atmosphere of despair and depression on this track, that it makes up for the lack of clean singing. The composition finished the album with the sound of rain falling. Truly haunting.

I simply can not recommend this album enough. This is one of the few gems in my collection that have no faults at all and that I like immediately on the first listen, fall in love with on the next one and am afraid to overlisten on the consecutive listens, yet the record never loses its appeal and emotional impact on me! If you are a fan of such groups as Anathema, Agalloch, early Opeth, this will quite possibly make the list of your best albums ever, unless you already have in your collection and, surely, hold it in high regard. Even if you are not one of the fans of the groups listed above, I am still forcing you to get this as soon as possible, as ignoring the existence of this brilliant effort means losing a part of the best music ever created.

A masterpiece recommended to everyone, regardless of taste!

Trickster F. | 5/5 |


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