Thursday, May 20, 2010

Point-Counterpoint: Novembre - The Blue


Novembre is another band I discovered through the wonders of the internet and  They showed up on my Katatonia station as another example of the melancholic, haunting music those Swedes are so adept at.  And with good reason.

The Blue is their most recent effort.  Novembre is an interesting band.  They started out as an Italian death metal band.  However, over the years they have evolved into something much more interesting, and nowhere is that more evident than on The Blue. Yes, there are harsh, death metal style vocals.  Yes, there is thunderous double bass drumming.  Yes, there is no shortage of crushing metal guitars.

However, there is also an almost ethereal quality to the music, a sense of artistry that takes these heavy element and crafts them into something exquisite, with an almost porcelain beauty.  There are moments when it is easy to forget just how heavy this album can be because of the delicate aspects of so many of the songs.

Novembre expertly balances all their influences on The Blue.  From distorted to clean acoustic guitars, from light, airy vocals to harsh growls, the album keeps you always guessing as to what will come next.  This is only heightened by the unorthodox song structure.  Gone is the ABABCBB song structure that is so common to modern music.  Novembre will take you from A to F, but how it gets there is a real mystery and treat.  Some tracks will have repeated motifs, but most move gently from one passage to the next with little to no repetition. It is a breath of fresh air.

Final Verdict: Adore it (and don't let the harsh vocals get you, there is real brilliance here)


The real beauty of this disc is hidden in the carefully crafted, subtle guitar melodies that weave through each song.  They're flying by so fast and are mixed really low in the mastering, so you don't even notice they're there half the time - and more's the pity.

In fact, that's my only genuine complaint about the album - I would have made the melodic guitar parts more prominent and mixed the rhythm section a little lower.  But if that's my BIGGEST complaint, that's proof positive how great this album is.

It seethes with honesty and beauty.  It feels like the kind of thing that took years to create, but seems simultaneously effortless and smooth.

Final verdict: Adore it (and let the melodies take you away on wonderful journeys)

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