Release Date: 8th September
Label: Sharptone Records
The Parisian progressive metalcore band Novelists are back with their second full-length album, Noir, after their 2015 debut ‘Souvniers’.
The album opener, “L’appel Du Vide” (which for those of you who haven’t spoken French since your schooldays means “The Call of the Void.”) It’s a good enough track; it’s well-produced, melodic with the some atmospheric synths, nice riffs as well as a solid vocal performance from Gelsomino.
The next song ‘Monochrome‘ much like the opening track is also melodic with soft clean vocals, with even the appearance of a soothing Sax solo. They seemed rather odd choices to open the album with, it’s not as heavy or intense as I expected it to be.
Next on the album is ‘Under Different Welkins’. This song starts to move in a different musical direction and closer to the direction I expect. We see the appearance screamed vocals for the first time and it’s clear why they have focused on clean vocals, Gelsomino clean vocals are simply far more enjoyable and memorable.
However, this album also showcases the biggest flaw on the album: the lack of dynamics. In Metal, dynamics are often an important big part of the vocal and instrumental composition. Novelists haven’t implement dynamics as often as perhaps they should have as it does lack the belligerence of others in the genre.
The middle of the album starts to feel a bit more familiar, it’s starting to feel a bit more like a metalcore album. At times, slightly generic but there moments which grabbed my attention. Such as saxaphone sections spread throughout it, and the nu meta; Some of it felt slightly generic There’s nothing that demanded my attention in this segment of the record. While there are some interesting elements, like a saxophone on several tracks and the nu-metal style rap section “Stranger Self”, which reminded me of Jacoby Shaddix from Papa Roach. However for the most it seemed fairly middle of the road.
It picks up again with “The Light, The Fire” though. It’s no wonder this song was picked as one of the singles. It’s a great combination of metalcore, progressive and alt-rock with great hooks and a stunning chorus delievered by Gelsomino.
‘Joie de Vivre’ shows us a new aspect of Gelsominos’ vocals and creates a little raspier which is used almost perfectly to create the most emotive song on the album.
They inject a little more energy and intensity into the last two songs ‘À Travers le Miroir’ and ‘Heal the Wound’ which was perhaps missing in some of the earlier tracks but they didn’t neglect their softer, more melodic side evidenced mostly towards the end of ‘Heal the Wound’.
This is a decent album, not mind blowing good but decent.
I imagine ‘Noir’ will come into some criticism for being a little too ‘paint by numbers’ and maybe that’s fair. However, it’s clear they have pulled away a little from ‘Souviners’ and have at least been original enough not to make the same album twice.
Is this a ground-breaking album destined to change the world? No.
Is it a solid album worth a spin or two? Yes.
Recommended track: The Light, The Fire
You can order the album from http://www.novelistsofficial.com/
Don’t forget to check out our interview with frontman Matt Gelsomino!