Novembers Doom

To Welcome the Fade

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The greatest compliment one can pay November's Doom is that, upon hearing their eclectic and expressive fourth album, To Welcome the Fade, one immediately starts looking -- rather fruitlessly -- for possible comparisons. Swedish progressive death metal geniuses Opeth eventually come to mind thanks to the tense marriage of beauty and brutality present on "Not the Strong" and "The Spirit Seed"; but so do British death/doom pioneers like Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride (witness the gothic despair conjured by "Within My Flesh" and "Dreams to Follow"), and even the more restrained, perfectly textured guitar interludes of a Tool (see the mid-section of "Broken"). Fact is, the veteran Chicago metal band has gradually honed their influences into a unique and unpredictable formula (or non-formula, as it were), and not even a few lingering shades of their somewhat less inspired death-doom works of old (still visible in the female vocals on "Torn" and the irresistibly morbid "Dark Fields of Brilliance") can detract from their newfound balance and confidence. All of which amounts to a bona fide classic of a heavy metal album on To Welcome the Fade.

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