Novembers Doom - The Novella Reservoir
20 February 2007

01. Rain
02. The Novella Reservoir
03. Drown The Inland Mere
04. Twilight Innocence
05. The Voice Of Failure
06. They Were Left To Die
07. Dominate The Human Strain
08. Leaving This

The Chicago-based band Novembers Doom knows no musical boundaries. Mark my words. After signing one of 2005's best releases with "The Pale Haunt Departure" - acclaimed by the international press and more important by their fans - the Doom/Death combo comes back for one more with "The Novella Reservoir".

The overall feel of the album is surprisingly edging on a pure Death sound, with straightforward riffing and more aggressive vocals by Paul Kuhr than ever before. On the plus side, Novembers Doom totally captured something unique with songs like 'Rain', their greatest opener yet and the majestic single 'Drown The Inland Mere'.

Now concerning the negative aspects of this album, it cruelly lacks substance. I would love nothing more than praise those guys, who I've been following since 2002. Unfortunately, "The Novella Reservoir" falls short of my expectations while being worthwhile to check out for the aforementioned great tracks. The insipid 'Twilight Innocence' and the bordering annoying 'They Were Left to Die' are killing this listen for me.

As for the production, despite being advertised as godsend, it never reaches the one crafted on their previous release; probably because the drums should have been more present in the overall mix. If you go for a Death sound, you have to do it fully.

From what I heard so far, "The Novella Reservoir" is commended by most listeners. I just happen to be difficult, knowing their previous records. This could have been a major album for them; it turns out to be quite alright.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 6

Band profile: Novembers Doom
Album: The Novella Reservoir


Written on 01.03.2007 by
Demonic Tutor
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Novembers Doom released its landmark The Pale Haunt Departure in 2005, embracing a heavier, more aggressive sound that had been hinted at on previous discs. In doing so, the band raised the quality standard for Doom/Death metal. Everything came together on that disc - songwriting, arrangements, musicianship, and production were all benchmark quality, and the album received almost universal acclaim.
Meeting expectations after such a release is always difficult. The band's 2007 offering, The Novella Reservoir, does not surpass the quality of its predecessor, but neither does it disappoint.
Like The Pale Haunt Departure, this is a very heavy album, providing an angry, mid-tempo Progressive Death sound. The riffs are crunchy, the distortion is fat, and the tuning is low, even by metal standards. (A quick sample of guitar tabs on the Internet showed all tracks tuned down to Bb.) The vocals are emotive in the fullest sense of the word, with an interplay between clean and Death vox that expresses anger, despair, melancholy, and even a touch of hope, all with equal effectiveness.
Lyrically this album is superior to much of what has come out of the genre in recent years. This disc is very personal, and vocalist/lyricist Paul Kuhr demonstrates a greater willingness than his peers to lay himself bare in his writing. Listening to this release is like reading Kuhr's diary. He writes with a maturity that is only derived from deep personal experience - the personal shame of having let down someone he loves, the anxiety associated with becoming a parent, the despair that accompanies crippling depression. Remarkably, Kuhr is able to tackle all of these topics without degenerating into maudlin.
But the impact of this release is not solely a product of the lyrics. All of the musicians deserve credit here for creating a musicality that enhances the impact of the words. Indeed, while the lyrics are strong and can stand on their own merit, when combined with the instrumentation they achieve an impact that would be impossible if divorced from the music. Combined with the superior production quality (courtesy of Dan Swano and James Murphy), all of the elements combined make The Novella Reservoir an engrossing listening experience.
Stylistically, Novembers Doom does not deviate here much from the path that they laid down with The Pale Haunt Departure, but that's OK. The band has on consecutive discs demonstrated a professional approach to songwriting that pays attention to all of the details. These details, when taken together, produce some fantastic metal.
published 05.06.2008 | Comments (1)


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blackthor - 01.03.2007 at 09:37  
Well i think you are a bit to harsh with this album. In my opinion 8.5 would be a fair rating.
This album is full of energy and it can't be compared with their previous work.
The lack of this album in my opinion is that it's trying to preserve here and there ( very few i must say) some aspects of the past (work).
Everyone who likes metal should check this album, a great release, which tries to please death and doom listeners as well.
Asitis - 01.03.2007 at 15:53  
Compaired to The Knowing, how is it?
I havent heared it yet ><
Thryce - 02.03.2007 at 22:21  
I haven't checked this album out yet (but if I have, I'll return and leave another message of my thoughts), but I can clearly hear you're a bit disappointed...
I think it's somewhat normal after a masterpiece like "The Pale Haunt Departure". And well, to be honest, my expections towards this album are also pretty high.

So I'm looking forward to hear it. And with your commonsensical review, you've aroused my curiosity even more!
Asitis - 03.03.2007 at 16:45  
Written by Thryce on 02.03.2007 at 22:21

I haven't checked this album out yet (but if I have, I'll return and leave another message of my thoughts), but I can clearly hear you're a bit disappointed...
I think it's somewhat normal after a masterpiece like "The Pale Haunt Departure". And well, to be honest, my expections towards this album are also pretty high.

So I'm looking forward to hear it. And with your commonsensical review, you've aroused my curiosity even more!

After The Pale Haunt Departure?! That album was nothing compared to The Knowing
neverbuilt2last - 03.03.2007 at 21:31  
I actually thought Twilight Innocence was the best song on the album :-/ The lyrics and the acoustic guitar on TI are too good to pass up.

But the album is better than a 7.4. I agree with blackthor. Maybe it's just my ears but I enjoy this album more than Pale Haunt lol.
Jason W. - 13.03.2007 at 03:55  
I had to give this review a lot of thought, as I find the new CD not the masterpiece that "The Pale Haunt Departure" is, but then again, I don't feel this CD is a disappointment. Nor do I feel the production is as average as the review claims it is, as I don't feel any band "should" put drumming out in front just because that's what a band is "supposed" to do in a death metal release. The mix sounds great to me, as do the levels of the instruments. A band can do whatever it wants and doesn't need to follow in the footsteps or appeal to anyone besides their own artistic desire.

I do wish the flow of songs was better, or more that the two ballads were cut in favor of heavier tracks - as it's obvious that (as blackthor said above) the band is somehow hanging on to their past, when in fact, their talent for songwriting is for tracks like "Drown the Inland Mere," and not the ballads right now. I still prefer "The Pale Haunt Departure," but "The Novella Reservoir" is a close second, and a more than worthy follow up. Tracks 1,3, and 5 will keep me entertained longer than many things that come out this year, that's for sure.
Bitch Boy - 14.03.2007 at 03:58  
I agree with the review, this album is closer to death metal than to doom metal in some ways, and I don't like it as a like some other albums of the band.
Vulture - 26.04.2007 at 23:50  
Yes, I can agree that in "Novella Reservoir" is more pure Death not Doom, but in the same time they have kept the sadness and melodic vocals, so it is not so bad. They haven't forgotten about Doom. I like this album.
__Az__ - 11.05.2007 at 19:59  
Yeah, this album is definately more death than doom orientated. But, nevertheless is still a pretty good album. I love the way in which both dark depressing and death vocals are used in close conjunction, very good.

I reccomend... 8.0.

Good review btw.
FOOCK Nam - 25.10.2008 at 17:17  
Love best 2 songs Twilight Innocence and Leaving This, these 2 have doom element, other songs also are good but more to extreme with death influence.
that dude guy - 13.11.2009 at 20:47  

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