Novembers Doom - The Novella Reservoir
The End Records
Atmospheric Death Metal
8 songs (46'01")
Release year: 2007
Novembers Doom, The End Records
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

Let me be the first to point out that there are changes on the move with the last Novembers Doom album. While these Chicago, IL, doomsters have been steadily rising in popularity, the band decided to make a step forward by looking back. The latest album The Novella Reservoir is nothing like I have heard before from Novembers Doom and I happen to own their every album starting with 1999 Of Sculptured Ivy and Stone Flowers. The roots of the Chicago death metal scene, the bands like Usurper, Disinter and Jungle Rot, must have beckoned to Novembers Doom. The Novella Reservoir can not be confused with unrelenting blitzkrieg death metal, but this is the fastest and the most aggressive the band has ever been.

You can almost feel it coming from the first moments of the opener Rain. If you are a melodic doom band, aren’t you supposed to start the album, especially giving the opening track title, with some soft sounds of falling water? Forget it. Instead of a wimpy shower we get a pounding gale, a masculine storm with steady death metal riffs, soaring growl mixed with some higher shrieks and “rain” exhales in the chorus. There is only one little opening this song gives, and if you missed it, too bad, you are now sucked into the vortex and must go through with the whole album, because you are going to be hooked.

And there is definitely more to come in this vein on The Novella Reservoir. More urgent shredding double bass supported thrashing riffs on Drown the Inland Mere, The Voice of Failure and Dominate the Human Strain, the pressing single note melody on Drown the Inland Mere, the dark harmony apocalyptic Kataklysmic chorus of Dominate the Human Strain – this record breathes vitality and forcefulness. Sure enough, there are cleaner moments blended in, the acoustics on the title track, the catchy chorus of The Voice of Failure. Yet, this is the record of newfound vigor and strength, the song like meandering They Were Left to Die not meshing well with the rest of The Novella Reservoir intensity. Something completely appropriate on Pale Haunt Departure, They Were Left to Die, on its own, is a strong doom cut, but here it feels like That Thing That Should Not Be on Master of Puppets, you want to get to Welcome Home (Sanitarium) as soon as you can (no idea if my analogy is appropriate).

You have got to love how the step up in speed and intensity overload does not interfere with the band’s playing emotionally. It is not how fast you play, but how much of yourself is poured into the song. When Novembers Doom is melodic on The Novella Reservoir, they are going all out. Solos on the title track and Drown the Inland Mere are longing, tuneful lounges. Leaving This is beautiful with its My Dying Bride distorted wall of sound, clean singing, subtle background chorus and woven in piano at the end. Paul Kuhr’s tribute to his daughter Rhiannon, Twilight Innocence, albeit simple sonically with its acoustic melody, gets me on its lyrics every time. Just like a true father, Paul understands that not only we inspire our children, but we are, in return, are inspired by them to be better men. His are the thoughts I often have staring at my 6-year old when she is sleeping.

When not being tender, Paul’s growl has become ever more towering, especially reaching its Akerfeldt/Swano devouring qualities on Rain and Dominate the Human Strain. Aforementioned Dan Swano is responsible for the album’s mixing and, along with bass player/producer/an important man in the Chicago’s metal scene Chris Djuricic, the production on The Novella Reservoir has that atmospheric death quality found on the early Opeth albums. If only that Joe Nunez’s kick drum was as heavy during fast portions as it is on the slower churns of the title track.

Novembers Doom is probably tired of the comparisons, but if you are looking for the early Opeth feeling, if not in the riffs or compositions, then at least in attitude, The Novella Reservoir is a gift. The comparison is actually flattering for Novembers Doom as their songs are, in fact, songs, not random compositions, and what they give up in the progressive nature and acoustics, they gain in the songwriting tightness.

At first I thought I may not like one of my favorite American melodic doom bands go deathy on me. Having swallowed the first listen and getting the point across my brain, I have been enjoying the atmospheric death of The Novella Reservoir ever since. A quick note to The End Records – although we, reviewers, are a greedy bunch and do not deserve the full works of the promo, like booklet, etc., it would have been really good to include it, especially for the band with the “thinking man’s” lyrics of Novembers Doom.

Killing Songs :
All except They Were Left to Die
Alex quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Novembers Doom that we have reviewed:
Novembers Doom - Amid Its Hallowed Mirth reviewed by Jared and quoted 70 / 100
Novembers Doom - Bled White reviewed by Jared and quoted 95 / 100
Novembers Doom - Aphotic reviewed by Jared and quoted 91 / 100
Novembers Doom - The Pale Haunt Departure reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
Novembers Doom - To Welcome the Fade reviewed by Alex and quoted 77 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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