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Novembers Doom - The Pale Haunt Departure

I remember about four years ago, a friend of mine tried to get me hooked on a band called Novembers Doom.  He was starting a band and Novembers Doom was one of his big influences.  I checked out some of their older material and I just really couldn't get into it.  A couple years later though, I gave them a try again.  I had a change of heart and really started digging the music I heard off of To Welcome the Fade.  I even went back to The Knowing and found a few songs off of that album that seemed interesting.  However, it was when I heard The Pale Haunt Departure that I all of the sudden fell in love with this band.  From the first time I heard "Swallowed by the Moon" on their website, to the time I downloaded the incredibly large video for the title track off of their site, to the time that I listened to the entire album for the first time, I knew that this band had finally reached the level that had lifted them up as one of my favorite current bands out there.

Starting with the opening drums on the first track, Novembers Doom will captivate you and enthrall you with one insanely brutal metal album that is huge and monstrous.  Many out there compare this band to Opeth and while there are some strong similarities, they are no copycat band.  The death vocals that the band utilizes are very close to Mikael Åkerfeldt's vocals, and they do use clean vocals as well, but those are much different sounding.  They also make a habit of punishing you over and over with their intense metal sound, then shifting to a mellower, calmer feel and then back again the way Opeth makes frequent use of.  But that is hardly a reason to call them copies.  Novembers Doom sounds like Novembers Doom and that is a good thing.  They seem to craft each song perfectly.  And whether the song calls for heavy electric or soft acoustic guitars, keyboards, death growls or clean vocals, Novembers Doom pours emotion into every note.

And if the music wasn't good enough, the band made sure they gave you the works.  The album cover and inside artwork is very well done and really enhances the listening experience.  The production is full and powerful.  And the lyrics are also a high point.  The band seems to convey passion in their lyrics as they reflect on the good and bad times in life in a somewhat magical, yet honest way.  They seem to take any subject, whether it be death, faith, love, regret, or hate and give it a life of its own...one that you can feel and experience.

The Pale Haunt Departure is a fabulous crafted album that will mesmerize you and captivate you.  Whether it's the massive opener, "The Pale Haunt Departure", the moving "Autumn Reflection", or groove-laden "Swallowed by the Moon", Novembers Doom is in complete command from start to finish.  While this is not some super-groundbreaking, original album, The Pale Haunt Departure is a mixture of dark, haunting beauty and brutal death/doom metal that is executed magnificently.  This is not only Novembers Doom's best album yet, but one of the top albums of the first half of 2005.

(One side note...my wife is not much of a metal fan at all, but she loves this album).

Rating: 96/100

Review By: Matt Morrow

Label: The End Records

Total Songs: 8

Total Time: 51:43

Tracklisting: 1. The Pale Haunt Departure, 2. Swallowed by the Moon, 3. Autumn Reflection, 4. Dark World Burden, 5. In the Absence of Grace, 6. The Dead Leaf Echo, 7. Through a Child's Eyes, 8. Collapse of the Fallen Throe.

Best Songs: Tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8.

Band Lineup: Paul Kuhr - Vocals, Larry Roberts - Guitar/Keyboard, Vito Marchese - Guitar, Mike LeGros - Bass, Joe Nunez - Drums & Percussion.

Band Website: http://www.novembersdoom.com