Novembre
Ursa

After nearly a decade of inactivity, Novembre are back with one of 2016’s most anticipated returnsUrsa marks album number seven for the Italians and it wholeheartedly embraces everything that has made the band such a stylish international gem in the extreme metal universe. If you’ve adored the output from Carmelo Orlando and company over the duration of their twenty-three year existence as much as I have, Ursa will delight you.

“Australis,” sets the tone for Ursa, slowly moving in with waves crashing along a shore at night, and calm clean guitar notes which are soon accompanied by Mr. Orlando’s graceful croons. This song does what most do on the album and continually builds on its atmosphere, adding more layers throughout its duration. The end result is a very dense sound coupled with tremendous songwriting that is sophisticated and elegant.  This pattern continues throughout the album and there isn’t a weak track to be had.  The ocean sounds also appear in numerous tracks as well.

For me, Ursa is remarkably reminiscent of what I consider to be Novembre’s crowning achievements, Classica and Novembrine Waltz. ”The Rose” and Easterare prime examples of this and I read that “Umana” is an old song that was written a long time ago. The way this album reminds me of older material leads me to believe a lot of the songs on this album probably consist of ideas from the past. Ursa would have been a fitting follow up to Novembrine Waltz. Nevertheless, this album is an excellent balance of all that has ever been a part of the bands sound and it gracefully combines them.  The epic “Agathae,” closing in at almost ten minutes long,  is an instrumental tour de Novembre, covering a lot of musical bounds that the band have dabbled in over the years.  This band seethes Italy in their music.  It’s one of the bands defining traits in their progressive doom/death variety.  This album, much like former albums, is bathing in aural cultural influence.

“Annoluce,” featuring Anders Nystrom of Katatonia fame is the albums official single and though the harsher vocals are put aside on this track, Ursa is still loaded with Carmelo’s signature cathartic wail. The more extreme side of the vocal duties seem effortless to him but it’s a welcome part of the band that I hope they don’t abandon. The dynamic that is created between clean to harsh singing is so necessary that I feel that’s why I didn’t love Materia. Plus, let’s face it we all want to scream like Mr. Orlando at some point in our weekly routines.  I’d sure feel better.

Ursa is that good ladies and gentlemen. It’s going to last as one of the best records this year, if not one of the bands best ever, and the musical/metal world is a better place having them in existence.  Please don’t make us wait another decade for more.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shane Wolfensberger
May 16th, 2016

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