The 2000s should be known as the decade of boring metal. More passionless music poured out of those ten years than any other I can remember. In purging the flamboyancy of the 80s and early 90s, metal bands lost their passion and originality. That’s why I’m so excited about albums like Aphotic. In a subtle direction shift, Novembers Doom adds a dose of creativity to its latest release.
The members of Novembers Doom have been around the block a few times. These experienced musicians enjoy total control over their sound. You get the feeling they could throw out some Lynyrd Skynyrd or Neil Young in a Texas bar or play Metallica and Slayer in L.A. just as easily as they play their own flavor of doom metal. Aphotic demonstrates this musicianship in varying the styles of music they play throughout the album. From the violin and classical guitar in What Could Have Been, to the dreamy ambiance of Shadow Play, the band shows its talents extend beyond standard death and doom.
Of course, a Novembers Doom album wouldn’t be complete without the growling vocals of Paul Kuhr. In Aphotic, he mixes in actual singing and a bit of a goth sound with mixed results. Harvest Scythe showcases his talents best, while the talking parts in Of Age and Origin – Parts 1 and 2 don’t do the songs justice. Just a little more range would give Paul one of the top metal voices out there.
Guitarists Vito Marchese and Lawrence Roberts mostly play slow and heavy, but they’re anything but boring. Along with their doom riffs, they mix in short interludes with guitar solos, picking and various enhancements that add to the overall sound. This talented duo plays well, but always seems to fit into the flow of the songs.
The biggest departure from the traditional doom metal sound comes from drummer Sasha Horn. Each song has its own rhythm. While Harvest Scythe gives us a driving beat, Six Sides, delivers more textured drums. Six Sides also includes great bass lines from Mike Feldman. It’s nice to hear distinctive bass, which is a rarity on metal albums. Just like the band’s guitarists, Sasha and Mike play within each song, adding depth and feel instead of showing off.
With Aphotic, Novembers Doom ushers out the lifeless music that characterized the 2000s, and because of bands like them, the 2010s may be a golden decade for metal. I highly recommend this album to metal fans, or anyone looking for something new and different.
- The Dark Host
- Harvest Scythe
- What Could Have Been
- Of Age and Origin – Part 1: A Violent Day
- Of Age and Origin – Part 2: A Day of Joy
- Six Sides
- Shadow Play