Novembers Doom are one of those bands that have always skirted the more popular metal circles, a band that has always been great, but never really been pushed onto the world at large. A shame really, because everything I have heard I have enjoyed.
This album is dark and heavy – crushingly heavy at times when it counts the most. Kicking the album off in complete death mode is ‘Devil’s Light’; sounding like the big red guy himself, vocalist Paul Kuhr summons something from deep within with his death growl theatrics. Quickly switching up and unleashing the much more doom orientated ‘Plague Bird’ straight after shows the diversity November’s Doom have always been good at, skirting the death/doom sound they helped create many moons ago.
It is the clean vocals that really add weight to this band’s sound, very dark and brooding, bringing visions of some kind of witchcraft ceremony in every song that is driven by Kuhrs’ almost quiet delivery. Check out the track ‘Ghost’ for reference, a very melancholy doom driven track, without almost no hint of the death metal brutality the band can switch too.
This is the first time in a while that November’s Doom has had the same personnel across two albums and you can hear it in the tight playing. Drummer Gary Naples in particular deserves a mention for the way he drives the album, weaving solid blasts and fills throughout while given room to display his great ability particularly on the intro of ‘Ever After’, a quiet build up allowing the song to breathe and displaying another mix of the darkness and aggression the band shows off so well everywhere.
As Hamartia travels forward, it becomes apparent that the band are trying to have the crushing weight of their doom side be the biggest part of this album, and although it can feel like a depressing listen at times it helps show their strengths, and why they have been for as long as they have. Finishing as strongly as it began on the haunting epic ‘Borderline’, this album is a musical journey well worth taking.
1. Devil’s Light
2. Plague Bird
4. Ever After
9. Waves in the Red Cloth