Yep, this one didn’t get by our formidable musical radars, we just didn’t get around to reviewing it due to questionable time management, manpower issues and the whole “having lives” thing. November’s Doom is hardly a band that needs to be brought to people’s attention. They’re a veritable doom metal institution with seven albums of well done, death-tinged doom behind them. Aphotic, their eighth, is more of the same and its good stuff as usual (available via The End Records). In fact, it’s very much in line with what they have been doing their past few albums. Opener “The Dark Host” has that classic mix of urgent death metal and somber, depressive moments and its quite emotional (I love the chorus in this song). Other standouts include the darkness of “Harvest Scythe” and “Buried Old” and the creepy, angry storytelling in “Six Sides” (there’s a lot going on with the lyrics in this one, very dark). There’s even a cool “Planet Caravan” quality to parts of “Shadow Play.” The highlight is the truly beautiful and gut-wrenchingly poignant “What Could Have Been” where Paul Kuhr is joined by Anneke van Giersbergen (formerly of The Gathering). It’s a ballad in the same mold as “Twilight Innocence” off their The Novella Reservoir album and its very touching and melancholy. Anneka’s voice is filled with emotion and frailty and it works damn well.
As they have in the past, November’s Doom works in some violins and try to walk the line between death and doom although there’s more of Kuhr’s clean singing and spoken word segments than on recent releases. I’ve always been a big admirer of his death growls and there are plenty of them here. His singing has also improved over time and he uses it effectively throughout Aphotic. The guitars are also impressive and pack a lot of punch whether going for heavy, crunchy doom riffs or more frenzied thrash. In essence, this is every bit the type of material one has come to expect from these guys and the quality level is high as always. This is one of those bands you can depend on to give you quality material every time and no one else sounds quite like them. Although we didn’t review it, it’s another winner and you should hunt this down ASAP. Its so November’s doomy!