Rating:
8.1
Novembers Doom - Bled White
15 July 2014


01. Bled White
02. Heartfelt
03. Just Breathe
04. Scorpius
05. Unrest
06. The Memory Room
07. The Brave Pawn
08. Clear
09. The Grand Circle
10. Animus
11. The Silent Dark


When blood runs freely it can quickly result in death. Lose enough blood and you lose colour in the flesh and life draws to a close. Bled White is a loss of sorts for death/doom act Novembers Doom; it's not all speedy in its progression, but doom continues to be bled out and death draws ever closer. That's actually where the strength of their latest record lies; in its death throes.

Novembers Doom usually work their metal in varied shades, implementing the fusion of death and doom metal to make moody music which alternates between moments of aggression and moments of melancholy. At the surface what would appear to be standard melodic death/doom metal is exactly what they produce, in essence. Their consistent studio presence is the standard to which many comparable styles within the subgenre vie to emulate. There are few bands that can be said to have attained such a status, achieved through a continually creative resolve; they really are a measure for their kind.

In name, Novembers Doom have been becoming something of a misnomer over the years. They've let go of much of the doom metal in their style and more fully embraced the possibilities of a melodically rendered death metal. Prior to Bled White their identity has gradually taken on a gothic nature, as an aesthetical replacement to what the doom metal used to provide in their style, of which the band has self-stylised as "dark metal". The death metal is starkly presented here; the immediacy with which this stylistic focus hits is felt full-on from the outset, with the title-track placed upfront and punching a cavity straight through the listener's initial impressions.

However the stylistic dichotomy soon establishes itself throughout the track list, many tunes opting for a slower tempo and atmospheric sadness, as opposed to others which receive higher tempo and form clear points of contrast, such as "The Brave Pawn" or "Unrest," the latter matching its title well.

The juxtaposition really is overpowering. The death metal to this achieves the desired effect of pummelling the listener into a pulp, all with an infectious sense of melody. The drearier material of the longer songs doesn't leave as much of an impression, with tunes like "The Memory Room" taking a repetitious dredge as a slow paced death metal number with gothic overtones in the clean vocal arrangements, and it being situated between two quite punchy pieces in the aforementioned "Unrest" and "The Brave Pawn."

Doom isn't entirely absent, "The Grand Circle" reintroducing lost tones to the sound and marking it as the most identifiably "death/doom" track of the album, as well as "Just Breathe" casting a very downcast vibe within its transitions between heavier segments. Much of Bled White is oriented on the death side of the band's style, and where the tempo is reduced the song writing seems less engaging in comparison to the powerful up-tempo death segments. However effective use of drum fills and guitar licks in tracks like "Clear" manage to keep the effort from stagnation in its more gradual progressions, as well as nicely varied vocal work from both the harsh and cleans used throughout the album.

At the end of things, Bled White draws to a close with the exceptional "The Silent Dark," a strong and conclusive point on which to finish. Bled White may not stand above prior releases to any notable extent, however it is a noticeable shift further from doom and into the death metal aspect of the band's sound, and delivers the band's expectedly stable quality in their continued studio performance.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Novembers Doom
Album: Bled White


 



Written on 12.07.2014 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
More reviews by R'Vannith ››



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Comments: 4  
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ManiacBlasphemer - 13.07.2014 at 11:22  
I so fucking love this band. Never was disappointed with any of their releases, this one included. Nice review.
Evil Chip - 15.07.2014 at 22:44  
I really don't like the production on this one. The vocals seem too exposed and clear in the mix to me. The music seems fine though.
lord artan - 17.07.2014 at 18:04  
Awesome album....
tea[m]ster - 28.07.2014 at 03:37  
I kinda like this...and it's probably because of the faster, melodic pace rather than the doom elements. Its weird, I like sludge doom, not really traditional doom, and I need dirty and coarse production for it. Melodeth is almost OVER-produced. I guess what I am saying is Doom for me shouldn't have this kind of glossy and crystal clear production - I know I am gonna get hammered for that comment but it's the way I feel!

Excellent job again R' and thanks.

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