Novembre - Materia (Peaceville Records) - Back
The excellence of Novembre has again prevailed on "Materia". Although there seem to be virtually no death-styled vocals (aside from about 3 tracks), the maturity behind their melancholic dreamscapes have certainly escalated on this release. So here is the ultimatum...are these guys still anywhere near the caliber of Opeth or Katatonia? YES!!!!!!! You would be a total waste of space in the metal world to not promote Novembre to the level at which these bands triumph. Matter of fact, this is a bit more progressive and beautiful than the aforementioned. I won't say that this is better, it isn't, but "Materia" is very different and definitely the equal of the more recent Opeth IMO. Kill me now people, Opeth is absolutely awesome... I know! Novembre are more of that "equal to Opeth" quality because you have to sorta just sit there and listen ("Novembrine Waltz" may be a better description... not sure 'cause this album is tough). Remember the earlier Opeth releases when you had to more-or-less just space out and enjoy the musical qualities? Opeth is still that, but Novembre is more like the earlier Opeth with the more doom-laden, beautiful sound. Sorry about such strong comparisons (well, not really!!), but they are certainly noteworthy. Now if you really want to, you could call this album "Arte Novecento" part II for the lack of death metal vocals (also meaning this is something they have similarly done before). I will say that the clean vocals are done tenfold to what that album pulled off (...and Arte Novecento wasn't bad at all). The acoustic guitars and altogether atmosphere on "Materia" is exceedingly extravagant to all of their previous releases. Novembre have found the equilibrium of great metal riffs / beats and melancholic atmospheres. Things like the beautiful and harmonious twin-guitar medleys (much like the first 2 Opeth releases) by Carmelo and Massimiliano, the wonderfully technical drumming schemes of Giuseppe, the awesome clean vocals & occasional rasps from Carmelo (not to mention the powerful lyrical themes, in Italian or not), the perfect bass lines I'm assuming done a bit here and there by everyone in the band?..., and then the ultimate atmosphere! I just wish the death vocals were more present. They make the clean ones sound better!!! Think of a band caught in a web of Gothic rock and Doom metal = Novembre! This is a band that may take some listeners some getting used to, but will take most people no time at all getting into the personified style of music that is displayed herein. As with Opeth, this is very unique and probably is not really the greatest of comparisons because of the far more "melancholic" approach. However, Novembre may be the only REAL competition Opeth has at the moment (which I believe has a lot of validity). Now all they need to do is - tour more!!!! The rating here is based on a dozen listens, but is probably worthy of something higher... need more of those raspy vocals, dammit!!!!

Rating:
90

Reviewed By: Thomas Mitchell