Novembre - _The Blue_
(Peaceville, 2007)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8.5 out of 10)
Ever since these Romans debuted back in 1994, they have produced a number of promising records that often made them seem on the verge of some elusive breakthrough -- only for the next record to leave you indifferent. _The Blue_ is their seventh full-length already, and having been left somewhat underwhelmed by its predecessor _Materia_, I wasn't exactly expecting that breakthrough to suddenly come out of the blue (sorry for the pun) after all these years. Yet as it turns out, much to my surprise, _The Blue_ has grown into my favourite Novembre album and would have been added to my top 10 of 2007 had I found time for it a couple of months ago.

_The Blue_ welcomes back plenty of those growls that contributed to make people compare Novembre to Opeth in the past. While it is likely that Opeth fans will find plenty of reasons to enjoy _The Blue_, continuing to compare the two bands is neither warranted by the music nor relevant to the quality of this album. The music is consistently progressive and melodic, with some acoustics but also sufficient bite on the excellent guitars and a very strong rhythmic backbone. Thanks in part to the successful reincorporation of growls, but also the songwriting itself, _The Blue_ is a more aggressive album than its predecessor. The melodic side remains fundamental to the band however, and is helped for the most part by the quality of their emotional clean vocals on this release, while the guitar work is top notch as expected.

Despite a lingering tendency to write a few meandering passages here and there, which contributes to a somewhat less captivating second half, _The Blue_ is still considerably more focused than _Materia_. It is also expertly played, and to top it all strongly produced. _The Blue_ shows Novembre at the top of their game and places the band firmly as one of the main players in their genre.


(article published 11/3/2008)

8/1/2006 C Flaaten 7.5 Novembre - Materia
3/5/2000 P Schwarz 8 Novembre - Classica
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