NOVEMBERS DOOM COMPOUND A SUMMER OF MISERABLE WEATHER INTO AN HOUR OF DEATH/DOOM ON INTO NIGHT’S REQUIEM INFERNAL
It takes a lot of balls to put the music you play right in your name: sometimes it works (see: Death) and sometimes it doesn’t (see: the Rockstar Mayhem Festival, which confusingly decides not to include the black metal band with whom they share a name in its roster year after year, or even Methods of Mayhem). Novembers Doom claim ownership of the necessary balls, though: they’re slow, menacing, classy doom metal with a well-integrated melodeth twist, managing to pique interest even in their most dull moments. Their latest, Into Night’s Requiem Infernal, is the sort of well-crafted metal that can only come from a band that’s been at it for two decades (albeit with a few lineup shifts), admirable even to those that aren’t affected by the material. Dark without becoming meandering and epic without overstaying its welcome, the album is a fine slab of doom, perhaps perfect for those sick of ambient post-funeral doom sludge and just want their gloomy brethren to cut to the point.
The MVPs of Into Night’s Requiem Eternal are guitarists Vito Marchese and Lawrence Roberts, packing thundering-yet-lilting doom riff atop thundering-yet-lilting doom riff. Shifting back and forth between droning chords and Scandinavian harmonizing, they manage to make the semi-bloated songs on the album (all but one range between five and six minutes) flow incredibly smoothly. Second place goes to drummer Sasha Horn, keeping sly and inventive rhythm beneath the deluge of riffery. Between the almost oceanic thrashing drums and big riffs, Novembers Doom occasionally come off as a moodier Amon Amarth, a no-bullshit alternative to a genre occasionally known for force-fed melodies and reliance on pretentious attempts at creating mood. The furious opening title track, “Empathy’s Greed,” and the last minute and a half of “When Desperation Fills the Void” perfectly illustrate what the band do right.
Of course, Into Night’s Requiem Eternal isn’t completely sans bullshit. For some (this writer included), the melodrama will bubble over the top, like in the groan-inducing ballad “The Fifth Day of March” or the unfortunate first five and a half minutes of “When Desperation Fills the Void.” The band trip over themselves when lost in their own brooding, usually signaled by the inclusion of clean singing (of course, this isn’t to say there aren’t cheesy moments with their death vocals as well). But a few listens (also assisted by the skip button in terms of “The Fifth Day of March”) allow the cheesiness to subside and leave only the monolithic doom riffs to stick, which is exactly what should. If you’re looking for a game-changer, this isn’t it. But if you like your doom acceptably slow, brooding, and (most importantly) heavy, Into Night’s Requiem Eternal is perfect rainy day music for you, you grouchy bastard.
(3 out of 5 horns)