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Novembers Doom - "Into Night's Requiem Infernal" (CD)

Novembers Doom - "Into Night's Requiem Infernal" CD cover image

"Into Night's Requiem Infernal" track listing:

1. Into Night's Requiem Infernal (5:46)
2. A Eulogy For The Living Lost (6:30)
3. Empathy's Greed (6:17)
4. The Fifth Day Of March (5:16)
5. Lazarus Regret (3:06)
6. I Hurt Those I Adore (5:47)
7. The Harlot's Lie (5:32)
8. When Desperation Fills The Void (6:44)

Reviewed by on July 10, 2009

"'Into Night's Requiem Infernal' not only appeals to die-hard followers of the band, but is accessible enough to reach a wide audience that enjoys aggression with a thick slice of melody."

Novembers Doom has been a band regaled to second-fiddle throughout their career, upstaged by the Opeth’s and My Dying Bride’s of the musical world. The Chicago band’s influence on mixing the grim atmosphere of doom with the brutal nature of death metal can’t be understated. For years, Novembers Doom has tolled away, honing in their sound and finding a stable balance between the two genres. In that time, the band has released one stellar album after another, hitting their creative high with 2007’s “The Novella Reservoir.” From the explosive opener “Rain” to the soothing, darkly melodic closer “Leaving This,” there was nary a dull moment to be found.

Their seventh album, “Into Night's Requiem Infernal,” is more of an extension of their last album than a full-on evolution. Novembers Doom has found their niche and is more than content to stick to it, with a little stretching out here and there to showcase their melodic side. The album flows by at a smooth pace, even when the songs get near the seven-minute range. Even though vocalist Paul Kuhr is the only original member left, the band has a strong chemistry that makes the songs engaging and worthy of repeated listens.

The slow-burning introduction to the title track puts the listener in a false sense of security, as the song turns explosive, never letting up. No clean vocals or acoustic guitars are present on this metal monster, with returning drummer Sasha Horn fitting in with his precise double bass work and intricate fills. While the other songs have melodic elements scattered throughout, “Lazarus Regret” is the only other pure death metal track. The most intense song to date from Novembers Doom, Kuhr’s deep growls pierce through flesh, with no mercy for those expecting a clean break. It is placed perfectly in the context of “Into Night's Requiem Infernal,” as it follows the softest song on the album, “The Fifth Day Of March.”

A good portion of the material is structured similarly in the direction the band was heading on “The Novella Reservoir.” Songs like “I Hurt Those I Adore” and “Empathy’s Greed” straddle the line between acoustic bliss and destructive chaos. Novembers Doom does attempt to diversify their sound, experimenting with harsh vocals and clean guitars together on “A Eulogy For The Living Lost” and Pink Floyd-ish vocal harmonies on “The Fifth Day Of March.” None of these sonic enhancers sound forced or gimmicky, a true gauge of the band’s immense talent.

The lyrics are as downtrodden and gloomy as previous albums, arguably even more so than “The Novella Reservoir.” While that album had some hopefulness attached to it, mostly in the ballad “Twilight Innocence,” that air of positive emotions is replaced by a dark cloud of guilt, torment, and lost. Kuhr showers the negativity with a pitch-perfect performance, a prime example of a vocalist getting better with age, ala Mikael Åkerfeldt.

“Into Night's Requiem Infernal” continues the streak of great Novembers Doom albums that stretches back to their debut “Amid Its Hallowed Mirth.” While the band has changed their sound over the years, dropping much of their doom sound and embracing a melodic death metal style, the level of quality material churned out is still top-notch. “Into Night's Requiem Infernal” not only appeals to die-hard followers of the band, but is accessible enough to reach a wide audience that enjoys aggression with a thick slice of melody.

Highs: Strong balance between aggression and melody, Kuhr's best vocals to date, not a dull moment to be found.

Lows: Bass is low in the mix, a little more experimentation would have been welcomed.

Bottom line: Another stellar album from the underrated doom/death metal band and worthy of any metal fan's collection.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)