Metal Review – Novembers Doom – Aphotic (2011)

Novembers Doom - AphoticKnown as one of the hardest working bands in metal, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Novembers Doom is still progressing as strongly as ever with their new release, Aphotic. Eight albums into their career and still as strong as ever, Novembers Doom has put together another thrill ride of progressive metal that fails to disappoint by any stretch.

I was not the biggest fan of their last effort, Into Night’s Requiem Infernal, but a lot of their fans felt let down by that one as well. I have a feeling that Aphotic will be a welcome release from Novembers Doom. With the normal crushing vocals and riffs, the songs never stop coming with fury and anger while maintaining the melodies that have been a staple of Novembers Doom’s sound for years.

The album begins with their longest track, The Dark Host, which comes at you pretty hard, but with a twist. A sullen violin played by Earthen Grave’s Rachel Barton Pine set a nice tone for this track. The next track, Harvest Scythe, is easily one of my favorite tunes from the album. The vocal melodies, whether crushing or melodic, are intertwined nicely and form a well-written song. Vocalist Paul Kuhr still can bring it with the best of them as far as the growling vocals go. His clean vocals were hit or miss previously, but that seems like a problem that is long gone after this release.

The track that I was looking forward to most on Aphotic was What Could Have Been. I knew that ex-Gathering vocalist Anneke Van Giersbergen would be on this track, but did not know what to expect. For anyone who has never heard Anneke Van Giersbergen, you are doing yourself a serious misservice. Her voice is angelic and is no different on What Could Have Been. This track ended up being a glorious ballad with Kuhr and Van Giersbergen sharing vocal duties. The song defines what an acoustic ballad should sound link in my opinion. The beauty of this track is amazing and the sense of having both vocalists in such a raw style was an excellent decision.

All in all, I would feel confident in recommending Aphotic to any Novembers Doom fan as well as any metal fan. This release has so many intertwined styles that I know that metal fans will rejoice with it.