"Into Night's Requiem Infernal"

(The End)

01. Into Night's Requiem Infernal
02. Eulogy For The Living Lost
03. Empathy's Greed
04. The Fifth Day Of March
05. Lazarus Regret
06. I Hurt Those I Adore
07. The Harlots Lie
08. When Desperation Fills The Void

RATING: 8/10

As far as developing and refining a sound is concerned, Chicago old-timers NOVEMBERS DOOM seemed to really hit stride with 2005's "The Pale Haunt Departure", maintaining that quality level and upping the death metal ante with 2007's "The Novella Reservoir", a more aggressive outing that came with even more memorable songwriting. They had truly found the sweet spot between doom's melancholy and death metal's crushing aggression, all of which came with songwriting that never forsook melody.

"Into Night's Requiem Infernal" continues the consistency streak, yet is something other than what many would assume to be a logical extension of "The Novella Reservoir". The music is written in a way that allows a pinch more breathing room and comparatively more restraint, while keeping the affair moving along even during the most somber/mellow moments.

But before one jumps to conclusions, "Into Night's Requiem Infernal" is still most representative of the band's skillful blend of DM crunch and doom's weightiness fused together with class and elegance. In addition to Paul Kuhr's behemoth growls (though always intelligible) on the mid-paced chug of the powerful title track (one of several that showcases an increased percussiveness accompanying the monolithic riffs), "Lazarus Regret" (the album's fastest track), and the tight, punchy "The Harlot's Lie" (where Kuhr also employs menacing spoken sections) the big man's best melodic/clean vocal work to date is heard on "A Eulogy for the Living Lost" (where lightly picked guitars and busy percussion alternate with quick-rolling chug), the incredibly catchy "Empathy's Greed", and "I Hurt Those I Adore". In all three cases, his chorus patterns are as addictive as they are haunting.

Moving onto more contemplative terrain, "The Fifth Day of March" is a brilliant display of dreaminess that borrows heavily from PINK FLOYD's strongest melodies, albeit crossed with a touch of KATATONIA. Closing the album with "When Desperation Fills the Void" is fitting, its blend of soft acoustics and electric dirge serving as a slow, dismal end to a strength-sapping journey of thought and emotion. In this case, Kuhr's OPETH-esque singing is breathtaking in its beauty.

"Into Night's Requiem Infernal" is further proof that NOVEMBERS DOOM is anything but tapped out. I wouldn't call it a better album than "The Novella Reservoir". It's just a different album that works for somewhat different reasons, a point that should be taken only as praise for a band that understands its sound and still manages to steer clear of the pigeonhole.


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