It’s always refreshing when a band can revisit influences and alter their style enough to show both intelligent evolution of their sound and competent understanding of where they came from. This is exactly what NOVEMBERS DOOM did with their most recent release, The Novella Reservoir. Both longtime fans and newcomers alike should be delightfully surprised by this release. NOVEMBERS DOOM has long been known for their prowess as a doom metal powerhouse, but the doom aspect of their songwriting takes a vacation for this release. Instead, this album features some straight up death metal with melodic interludes, some clean vocals, and only a couple of lighter tracks reminiscent of their usual style. Overall, this album is a heavy road less traveled by this talented band. The opening track “Rain” quickly establishes that this album is far different than what your typical NOVEMBERS DOOM expectations would lead you to believe. Paul Kuhr’s growling vocals establish a menacing mood that persists throughout the album, and the overall heaviness of The Novella Reservoir should please fans all around. The title track and “They Were Left to Die” contain a greater balance between heavy and melodic elements, while “Drown the Inland Mere,” “The Voice of Failure,” and “Dominate the Human Strain” are the heaviest tracks of them all. The softer songs, “Twilight Innocence” and “Leaving This,” provide a nice break to the heavier tracks, although they do seem somewhat out of place on this album.
Fans of recent OPETH and MY DYING BRIDE releases should find this album quite tasty on their musical palette. However, some long time fans may find this change a bit too drastic. Either way, none can deny that this is an excellent and very mature metal release, and it is worth noting that The End Records offers a version of the album accompanied by an 84-page book detailing photos from every era of the band plus the lyrics of the new album. (The End Records)