September 24, 2014 Novembers Doom – Bled White (Album Review)
Novembers Doom’s seed was planted in Chicago, IL back 1989 as the Thrash Metal band Laceration, since morphing into the pinnacle of American Doom Metal. Sustaining several lineup changes early on, Novembers Doom’s current lineup is made up of vocalist Paul Kuhr, guitarist Vito Marchese, guitarist Lawrence Roberts, bassist Mike Feldman, and drummer Gary Naples. Known for their thoughtful approach to music, Kuhr even released a lyrical explanation book in 2006 titled The Wayfaring Chronicles. Having toured internationally and built a well-respected name in Doom Metal, the band now release their ninth studio album in 2014 titled Bled White. Featuring cover art from acclaimed Metal album artist Travis Smith, the album also brings back long-time producer Chris Wilsco as well as mastering from Metal legend Dan Swanö.
Opening with the title track, Novembers Doom wastes no time, diving into thrashing wild riffs and frenetic drums. Accompanied by deep, throaty vocals of Kuhr, this song is fast, slowing briefly for the refrains of the chorus before brutally kicking out a fierce, sharp ending. The track “Heartfelt” begins with pounding drums and steady riffs before growling takes over and the guitars speed into a frenzy. Invariably paced, the song shows complex and diverse melodies that fans have come to expect from the band. Deeper into the rabbit hole, listeners will find “Just Breathe”, which starts out with a slow guitar ballad-like style before Naples’ drumming accentuates the melody. Smooth and calming, Kuhr’s vocals join in with an emotional pull before hardcore riffs take over and the voice get louder until the speed recedes back. Deep and poignant, this track reflects another side of Novembers Doom as they explore the gamut of their genre.
Moving into the smooth instrumental interlude of “Scorpius” prepares the audience for the next song “Unrest” which is vibrantly strong composition with angry growling and destructive, dark riffs. Next on “The Memory Room”, relaxing guitar and bass notes layer into different guitar chords as they splice a faster paced wicked tempo. The track settles into a tranquil ballad making it a pleasant well-blended balance of two different sounds. On “Clear”, a mellow intoxicating sound becomes accentuated by more quick riffs and concise bass that further exhibit Novembers Doom’s eloquent range. This continues with the low bellowing intro of “The Grand Circle” that quickly pulls the listener into insane drums and deep emotional singing accented by well-versed lyrics. Beginning with a haunting piano solo, “Animus” renders a cryptic, dark sound with powerful instrumentation as Kuhr displays his talents and range between deep, throaty growls and melodic chanting. The album closes with the solemn, disparaging melody of “The Silent Dark”. Vivid guitar and bass work spin out of control and recedes, looping insanity with an unsettling calm.
Bled White is an album that displays the diversity and raw talents of Novembers Doom. While it is mostly comprised of the sound they are known for, it also includes a variety of new experiences that expand their reach. Well-crafted and much more than skin deep, this album will not disappoint dedicated followers. CrypticRock give Bled White 3.5 out of 5 stars.