Having been peddling their crushing, morose doom metal since 1989, it’s no surprise that Bled White, the ninth album from Chicago doom heavyweights Novembers Doom, is as flawless as you’d expect from a band well into two decades of gloomy poetic heaviness.
Majestic and brutal are two words often seen bandied about when discussing the sound churned out by this quintet and, as the rumbling riffs of the title track wash over you, there aren’t two more suitable words to describe what you’re listening to. Brutal enough to appeal to fans of the more grinding, slower death metal sound, the likes of “Heartfelt” creak and groan under the weight of the riffs pouring out of the band while “Just Breathe” sees the Chicago doom merchants take a walk down a more traditional and serene yet still suffocatingly heavy doom metal path.
Weighing in at over an hour, Bled White is piece of work by a band who are clearly masters at straddling that line between the grinding, turgid heaviness of the doom metal scene and the brutal, uncompromising extremity of the death metal scene. You see, while the band can spew out wall-flattening riffs until the cows come home, it’s the hooks woven into those riffs and those mammoth-sounding vocals that give this record an accessibility that will open up the doom metal genre to that audience who like their heavy music to come with some kind of neck-wrecking hook to grab onto.
Going into this album, I have to admit I didn’t expect to enjoy Bled White as much as I ended up doing but, by the time the band were ploughing through “The Grand Circle”, the hypnotic power of their elephant-heavy riffery proved to be too much to ignore. Bled White is a gloriously heavy piece of work so, if like me, you’re a fan of the heavier side of things, may I suggest you take a punt on this one as you won’t regret it.
01. Bled White
03. Just Breathe
06. The Memory Room
07. The Brave Pawn
09. The Grand Circle
11. The Silent Dark
Run Time: 68:20
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Check out the song “Just Breathe”