Saturday, July 2, 2011

Novembers Doom - Aphotic (2011)

Chicago's Novembers Doom has released a monstrous new album this year, entitled "Aphotic." This is the band's eighth studio album. It's pretty clear what kind of genre they are, seeing as how it's in the their name. The band is known for its slow and depressive doom style mixed with death metal tones. It's full of electrifying guitar solos and thunderous drum patterns as tempo's constantly fluctuate from quick and aggressive to slow and melodic.

"The Dark Host" jumps from dark and demonic to fast and violent with tremendous double bass pedaling. The drumming in this track is absolutely bone crushing as each fill is played with such detail and perfect timing. It is impressive to hear the vocals go from harsh and devilish to mellow and depressive all without notice within the transitions. So much energy is put into the lyrics as they are full of anger and rage. This is definitely the perfect track to set the mood to this dark album.

Tracks like "Harvest Scythe" and "Buried Old" offer murdering guitar riffs that surround you with pure evil right off the get. Clean singing is mixed with deep growling all throughout. Lead singer and founding member, Paul Kuhr, has come along way with his aggressive doom growls and was really able to establish a solid sound in this album. As harsh as they are, its great to be able to clearly hear and understand what he is saying as well. This definitely pulls you closer to the songs. Even his clean vocals are outstanding. He hasn't really shared to much of this aspect of vocals in any of Novembers Doom's older albums. It adds a great mix to the album and keeps each song diverse.

Taking a break from the explosive drumming, "What Could Have Been" glides through the shadows with dark acoustic notes, eerie strings, and magnificent vocals from Annake Van Giesbergan, who is the former lead singer of the Dutch progessive metal band The Gathering. Her angelic voice moves through the air with impeccable performance. Its great how the band is able to include such a beautiful song in the album while it is surrounded by deafening riffs and heavy drumming in the other songs. "Of Age And Origin" follows afterwards and goes right back to the ominous guitar melodies and crashing cymbals. This song is actually split up into two parts, track 5 and 6. "Part 1: A violent Day" has more of an edge to it with its rapid kick and snare actions mixed with growling and clean vocals. The double bass work is phenomenal. "Part 2: A Day Of Joy" slows things down to a single guitar in the beginning with catchy riffs and blaring distortion layered over top. The vocals are clean and sung beautifully but Kuhr still keeps it depressive and mellow at the same time. These two parts together definitely give you that "beauty and the beast" feel.

Overall, "Aphotic" has so much diversity as it throws all different types of elements at you from all angles. This is definitely one of Novembers Doom's best album of their career and I cannot wait for a live show.


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