Forming in 1989, the doom/death metal hybrid that's November's Doom has taken the long route to reaching my ears. As so many bands in recent years, this group of immensely talented musicians are brand new to me. The frequency with which this happens has made me question my fandom of metal. Still, I guess we all have to start somewhere and late is better than never. It may even help me to bring a new perspective to the table, without the years of baggage a life steeped in the genre would accumulate. In any case, November's Doom is a strong group with an equally strong focus on what they want to create.
You may not want to listen to this if you are depressed, as it would likely push you over the brink into despair before yanking you into a state of awe over the solid musicianship, creating an emotional yo-yo that would threaten anyone's grip.
As I listen to the eight tracks that comprise Into Night's Requiem Infernal Night, I could not help but have a strange sense of deja vu. I knew I hadn't heard them before, but there are moments throughout that reminded me of something. I wracked my brain as the quintet burned with a dark fire through tracks like "A Eulogy for the Living Lost" and "Lazarus Regret." Then it hit me: I was getting flashes of Opeth and Solitude Aeturnus blended with a little Tiamat and Pink Floyd. All of these bands swirled in my head while the band played on with great intensity, somehow retaining a fresh sound.
The crossing over of doom and death metal seems like a natural combination, and while there are a number of bands practicing it, it is not a genre that has ever or will likely ever burn up the charts. Despite that, I am thankful for the tastes I have gotten and I have a growing desire to investigate more. It is an intriguing blend of in-your-face heaviness and darkly delicate melody. Attempted by a lesser band and the result would likely be disastrous. In the capable hands of November's Doom, though, the result is captivating and just a little depressing.
The album opens with the title track, an explosive blast of heavy death metal complete with brutal riffs, driving drums, and some growled lyrics that deliver a different perspective on the child king born two-thousand years ago. I cannot claim to have heard all of the lyrics, but the subject certainly is a little on the dark side. That is followed by a faster, slightly more upbeat riff filled "A Eulogy for the Living Lost." This track begins to mix things up by introducing some clean melody and singing, while retaining the dark lyrical content.
As good as the opening three tracks are, it is the third one that really opened my eyes to their talent and versatility. The song is called "The Fifth Day of March" and it is almost as if Pink Floyd took a trip to the dark metal side. The song is not fast, brutal, nor in your face. Rather, it slows everything down to a crawl, turns off the distortion, tones down the drums, and is sung in a clean and melodious voice, all this while still sounding like the band that had just burned through "Empathy's Greed." A truly beautiful track.
And so it goes, November's Doom delivers a strong collection of songs that work as a great example of what a doom/death metal act can do. The album features strong production values and has a timeless quality that makes this a keeper.