Novembers Doom are one of the United States’ continuously running doom bands. They have been at this game since 1989 and the release of “Amid It’s Hallowed Mirth” shortly thereafter. The line-up has changed several times with only vocalist and founder, Paul Kuhr, remaining from the original lineup. Their latest lineup is made up of Kuhr, Larry Roberts (guitars), Vito Marchese (guitars), Mike Feldman (bass), and the latest addition Garry Naples on drums. Garry joined right after their last release “Aphotic”, and even appears in the video for ‘Harvest Scythe’. “Bled White” is their 9th full length release, following two previous releases that were very heavy, let’s see where this one lands.
“Bled White” has a vibe that goes back to some of the early releases of the band, most notably “To Welcome the Fade” and “Of Sculptured Ivy and Stone Flowers”, all three left me introspective rather than emotionally exhausted. Contrast “Aphotic” and its predecessor “Into Night’s Requiem Infernal” both heavy slabs of doom, leaving me trying to headbang and keep up with the lyrics, a rather exhausting process to be honest. Through time Novembers Doom have managed to strike a balance of heavy as hell music and a certain universal contemplation like few other bands have done. They have continued this right through number nine, “Bled White”.
Roberts and Marchese have managed to lay down some heavy riffs and rather soulful solos this time out. Not that “Aphotic” was absent of these elements but this outage really shows a certain growth and development in the combination and stylings of riffs, notes, and solos. The best examples for me on this release are in ‘Heartfelt’, “Just Breathe’, and ‘The Memory Room’.
Kuhr has never sounded better to be honest. To me, he really hit the highlight of vocal work on “Aphotic” and then I heard “Bled White”… His melodic work is spot on and his growls are as good as they have ever been. Lyrically, we see the next level growth in writing for Paul. Always haunting, always cognizant of balancing anger into beautiful words. The living breathing example on “Bled White” is ‘Just Breathe’, give those words a read, and think about them for a bit, sheer poetry.
Backing up the album beat are Naples and Feldman, both seasoned craftsman executing near perfection on this one. The title track shows rapid fire, staccato style work from both men, whereas ‘Just Breathe’ shows a slower approach. Both Garry and Mike show how versatile they are moving between speeds and styles with ease and grace. In the end I think it was this aspect that really sold this album for me, the ability of singular and collective variation and versatility in deliverance of the metal. Fast and heavy, slow and contemplative, Novembers Doom execute with precise music and spot on lyrics.
Confession time, this is one of my favorite bands, and maybe some will take this as the ramblings of a fanboy. Just listen to the album, look at the lyrics, listen to the album again. There is pure quality in here, execution, writing, mixing, mastering, it has it all on “Bled White”. All of these musicians have been around quite a while, honed their respective crafts, and put forth their creative juices for this release. The results are top shelf doom metal. Just listen, you wont be disappointed.