Novembers Doom The Pale Haunt Departure

The vast majority of heavy music aficionados steer clear of doom metal with some degree of good reason — most bands representing the genre for the masses (My Dying Bride, Tristania, Theatre Of Tragedy) are burdened by a self-defeating affinity for pomp and melodrama. Not so for Novembers Doom — The Pale Haunt Departure is a genuinely emotional and frankly beautiful record, which effectively communicates a sense of crushing, all-consuming hopelessness. The occasionally self-indulgent lyrics are a tad obtrusive, but easily overlooked in light of the record’s strong points. The production is literally flawless — the utterly pummelling drum sound and full-bodied guitar tone overtake the listener while Paul Kuhr’s effortlessly alternating croons and bellows somehow still manage to appropriately dominate the mix. The End have established themselves as quality purveyors of primarily European metal, and their signing of this premium American act proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that a group’s country of origin is far from relevant. Fans of Opeth, mid-period Anathema and Agalloch couldn’t find much better than this — in fact, neither could anyone really. The Pale Haunt Departure is absolutely essential and an early contender for album of the year. (The End)