Novembers Doom - The Pale Haunt Departure
The End Records
Atmospheric Doomdeath
8 songs (51'47")
Release year: 2005
Novembers Doom, The End Records
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

I remember myself reviewing To Welcome the Fade by Novembers Doom a couple of years ago and being all nitpicky about it. Then, a few months afterwards, I read vocalist Paul Kuhr interview in Metal Maniacs on his dealings with constant debilitating backpain, understood the importance of the cover art on To Welcome the Fade, re-read the lyrics and listened to the album for another half a dozen times – and it finally hit me. I have sold that album short, I didn’t give it enough chance. Given that Paul Kuhr and I have had similar life circumstances (living with pain, firstborn daughter arrival) I have gotten in tune with his emotions on the album and To Welcome the Fade is often used around my brain as an emotional crutch.

I have been awaiting the follow-up to To Welcome the Fade with uneasy anticipation hoping that the new album would have me hooked instantly, not take a while to sink in. The Pale Haunt Departure is upon us and, objectivity be damned, I love this album. With this album Midwesterners Novembers Doom graduated into the highest class of atmospheric doom death.

The opening title track, Swallowed by the Moon and In the Absence of Grace are, for the lack of a better word, Opethian. Relentless tribal drumming by Joe Nunez on The Pale Haunt Departure pushes forth monstrous tri-tonal riffs. This is towering music that yields only so slightly for a more atmospheric relaxed chorus and guitar interlude. Amid this hurricane of harsh, somber and serene emotions rages Paul Kuhr, his growl very comparable to Mikael Akerfeldt.

As much as The Pale Haunt Departure is consistent in terms of no wasted notes, no fat or slop on the album, it is also varied in terms of tracks put together by Novembers Doom. Autumn Reflection and Through a Child’s Eyes are acoustic and introspective. With all due respect to Mikael Akerfeldt, Paul Kuhr presents his clean vocals in a very quiet yet even more emotional manner. And how could he not, singing about the birth of his daughter judging from the lyrics on Autumn Reflection. Even though my little girl is not always an “angel” I also “thank heavens” for her, as she had me become “stronger since she came into my life”. Ethereal nature of Through a Child’s Eye which stays atmospheric throughout contrasts the funeral melody and tempo of the closer Collapse of the Falling Throe which speeds up eventually and finishes the album with truly monolithic riffs. To add another twist into the mix Dark World Burden is a dark driving steady structured rocker with menacing growl in the verse and catchy clean chorus. Such songs were the staple of the late days Edge of Sanity, and, what do you know, Dan Swano has mixed the album and contributed the lead on Dark World Burden.

With every next album Novembers Doom has been building. With a relatively steady line-up they have progressed along nicely, I own their whole back catalog. With The Pale Haunt Departure, however, the band has reached a new plateau. Congratulations are then in order to The End Records who flew the coup and snatched Novembers Doom right as they are reaching the peak of their creativity. As far as my personal feelings are concerned, I have been experiencing almost physical pleasure listening to The Pale Haunt Departure for about a week now and I am sure this album will stay with me for a while.

Killing Songs :
The Pale Haunt Departure, Autumn Reflection, Dark World Burden, The Dead Leaf Echo, Collapse of the Falling Throe
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 Novella Reservoir 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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