When I first got ahold of the newest NOVEMBERS DOOM album Bled White, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew who they were, but wasn’t always exactly the doom/death metal genre’s biggest fan. Well, we all know how much THAT has changed over the past year or so, don’t we? So yeah, I really wanted to get into this one. Plus, one of my colleagues called me up raving about it, so now I HAD to get crackin’. Clocking in at almost 70 minutes, it is a lot to take in, but the pacing prevents it from ever getting boring or tedious, which is always a good sign.
I have to say that from the very first time I heard the opening strains of “The Silent Dark” I knew it was destined to be my favorite song. It is a nine-minute plus sweeping and grandiose epic and I find myself getting caught up in it with each listen. Death metal, melancholic doom, and prog elements attain a near perfect balance, and Paul Kuhr’s clean vocals provide the song’s best parts. The entire record is an exercise in darkness and light, and the title track/opener only drives that point home. With a guttural growl on the verses and the melodic cleans on the refrains it is a very good indication of what’s to come. “Heartfelt” has a sound that can only be described as a cross between AMON AMARTH and SKELETONWITCH with a dash of THE SISTERS OF MERCY…color me SOLD!!
As I touched on earlier, the ups and downs are all over this album. And quite frankly I don’t think that “Just Breathe” should have been next on the tracklist. While it’s an OK song, it really stalls the momentum we’ve been building with the first two tracks. Things get up and moving again with “Unrest” an exercise in chugging riffs and the title is fitting. It’s a stark contrast to the more melancholy atmosphere of the previous song, and is one of only two under six minutes. And as soon as we get started, we come back down again with “The Memory Room” which is basically a slow dirge that has a gothic feel to it as well. Having this sandwiched between heavier fare like “Unrest” and the driving “The Brave Pawn” helps take the listener on a journey, but it does get a tiny bit repetitive. Fear not though, because a song like “Clear” with its unique drum patterns and swirling guitar licks make it one of the album’s best.
While the death metal side is prevalent on Bled White, the death/doom area is well-represented here with “The Grand Circle”, and the solo is quite haunting and very melodic. “Animus” has a bit more bombast to it, but not in a kitchen sink kind of way. It IS a busy song, though, and the growls are excellent. The relentless pounding of the double kick drums lend an even more sinister tone to it, making it another winner. Overall I found the hills and valleys of Bled White to be rather enjoyable, with only one or two bumps in the road. Still, NOVEMBERS DOOM have delivered a record that makes for some fine listening. It’s available now via The End Records.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “The Silent Dark”, “Animus”, “Clear”, “Heartfelt”, “The Brave Pawn”