Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Novembers Doom - Hamartia (2017)

I am not the biggest doom fan out there, but it is a genre I have taken to me more and more in recent years, and when a doom record is done right, it can be really freaking good. But for me to enjoy a doom record, I need some melody put into it, or a lot of emotions that comes through in wave after wave, making me feel the despair deep within me,and that is something that I think is really hard to accomplish. Somehow though, Novembers Doom seem to know their shit, because they keep releasing great stuff time and time again.

In 2014, they ended up on my top 20 list with the album "Bled White", an album that had a lot of speed for a doom record, but was still gloomy as hell, while also incorporating some great melodies. It just hit all the notes just right for me, so the expectations for "Hamartia" was obviously high, and wouldn't you know, they lived up to the hype, delivering another stellar record.

"Hamartia" is a slightly different record for the band, yet very familiar. We do not get as much of the death part of their music, and the clean vocals takes a greater role, but the sound is still undoubtedly Novembers Doom, as always filled to the brim with raw emotions that will leave no one untouched. Most of these emotions are created by the vocalist and only remaining original member Paul Kuhr, mixing his harsh and clean vocals perfectly to set the mood he wants, giving the songs extra depth and weight.

It is a pretty lengthy album, but the 57 minutes goes by fairly fast actually, not only because the quality here is so high, but because the songs are in just the right sized chunks, except for the last song "Borderline", the only track that goes over the 6 minute mark. Even with fairly little time per song (for a doom band at least), Novembers Doom manages to pack in a lot in each track, details that truly elevates the music, whether it be flawless execution from the rhythm section, or just a great build up. It also helps making "Hamartia" very diverse, never becoming stale and boring.

As stated before though, the fewer amount of death metal elements here might put off some fans, but the moments that are in here are pure awesome sauce. The opening track "Devils Light" has a great engaging intro, and a haunting chorus that will surely give you the chills, and "Apostasy" has some great speedy instrumentation by guitarists Marchese and Roberts. These songs are fantastic when put together with the calmer song as a contrast, like the title track and "Ghost". We can also add the epic "Miasma" and the curve ball known as "Zephyr", where bassist Michael Feldman steals a few tricks from early Muse, as great tracks that helps making "Hamartia" really special.

In the end, this is just an astounding effort that Novembers Doom is presenting us with, a heavy album in both spirit and soul, mixing death with beauty in an amazing manor. The ending of the album could have been a little more polished, but there is enough high quality music in "Hamartia" to make it a contender at the end of the year. The band continues to evolve while staying true to their unique melodic death doom sound., and the way that they bring out the emotions is just so god damn good. Just go listen to it straight away, and let the emotions take over.

Songs worthy of recognition: Apostasy, Devils Light, Hamartia, Zephyr

Rating: 9/10 Ghosts


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