Novembers Doom – Bled White

I’ve always had a particular predilection for Novembers Doom: a little bit for the moniker containing the name of the genre I love the most, a little bit for the originality of their death, that with the passing of time has kept above all the melancholic attitude of doom, but above all because Paul Kuhr has always been, for my personal taste, one of the best vocalist in the extreme field. Let’s take a step back a few years, to be precise to the video of Autumn Reflection in which that big man with gentle manners interpreted one of the most intense and poetic songs that have ever been written; today Paul, compared to those times, is literally “halved”, in the sense that he underwent a drastic diet that only a person with immense willpower could have completed. With all this, the vocalist from Chicago has not lost, however, not even an ounce of his vocal skills, whether they are exhibited through a powerful and always intelligible growl or with that clean timbre that allows him to enhance with rare effectiveness the most intimate and melancholic moments of the songs. Bled White is the ninth album in a history now more than twenty years that has reached, probably, its highest peak on the occasion of the splendid A Pale Haunt Departure of 2005 but, from that moment on, after the valid A Novella Reservoir, came two performances objectively more opaque as Into Night’s Requiem Infernal and Aphotic; in this occasion Novembers Doom find again in toto the polish of the past and give us almost seventy minutes of absolute level, which photograph perfectly the current sound of a band that can like or dislike, but that certainly reveals itself always recognizable after a few notes, this peculiarity, recognizable to a rather rare extent. The death from the characteristic melodic outlets of the title track and Heartfelt, opens in the best way a work that gives us shortly after the first pearl, Just Breathe, a track that alternates acoustic moods to a chorus from the enormous evocative impact. No less, in this sense, are both The Memory Room and, above all, the wonderful Clear, a song that shows the teamwork of a band that would be reductive to identify with its leader, although it may seem legitimate being Paul, since the beginning, the soul and the real engine of Novembers Doom. The Silent Dark is as beautiful as particular by the band’s usual standards, with minimal acoustic parts, airy melodic openings in crescendo and a beautiful final entrusted to the lead guitar. Perhaps Bled White is a work a bit too long exceeding abundantly, as mentioned, the hour of duration: nothing that could invalidate the outcome of the album for those who already appreciated Novembers Doom, but certainly an element that puts at risk the fruition for those who approach only today the band from Illinois; in any case an important confirmation for a name that, probably, will never end up in the spotlight but that will continue to be an absolute guarantee for those who love granitic sounds associated with melodic and dreamy moments like those contained in this album.

2014 – The End Records