Novembers Doom

Into Night's Requiem Infernal

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As they unveil the seventh album of a widely praised 15-year career with the release of 2009's Into Night's Requiem Infernal, Chicago's Novembers Doom have come to enjoy a well-earned reputation for delivering first-class material that has also remained largely consistent in style throughout their existence. Of course, that's not to say that there hasn't been gradual change over that period, and in keeping with the trends observed on recent efforts like 2005's excellent The Pale Haunt Departure and 2007's arguable career apex The Novella Reservoir, it almost seems as though the "doom" in the band's moniker is headed toward misnomer status. This is due to the predominantly energetic pace at which the group attacks the songs of Into Night's Requiem Infernal, including the chug-a-chug riffed grooves of the opening title track and the almost thrash-like poundings imparted by "A Eulogy for the Living Lost" and "Lazarus Regret." By comparison, somewhat more measured highlights like "Empathy's Greed" and "I Hurt Those Adore" now represent minority reminders of the group's former slothful tendencies, and yet even to call them true doom songs would be misleading. Nevertheless, all of the above boast an extremely high caliber of songwriting, marked by colossal riffs meshed with sublime harmonies and reliably memorable chorus sections, whether frontman Paul Kuhr delivers them with bowel-loosening growls or mournful clean melodies. The only time the band strikes out completely is while grappling with the year's token weepy ballad, "The Fifth Day of March," which singlehandedly ruins the album's overall batting average with its sappy lyrics and limp-wristed execution -- although its disc-closing evil twin, "When Desperation Fills the Void," acquits itself quite well and is certainly no cause for embarrassment. Even so, and not forgetting or forgiving the uncharacteristically filler-level "The Harlot's Lie," there are enough missteps here to drop Into Night's Requiem Infernal down a few grades below its near-classic predecessors, if not out of consideration for Novembers Doom's hardcore fan base, who will still thrill over the other, quality cuts on hand.

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