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A Novelist - Folie

A Novelist
Folie
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 14 February 2019, 5:49 AM

Louisiana-based Progressive Death Metal project A NOVELIST is proud to officially announce the upcoming February 8th, 2019 release of their sophomore full-length, “Folie.” The band once again enlisted the talents of renowned sound engineer Jamie King to ensure the best possible production for their new album. “Folie” was mixed and mastered by Jamie King at The Basement Recording, produced by Jamie King and co-produced by Kevin King, with cover artwork by Jessica Morgan.

A NOVELIST is the creative partnership of drummer Alex Babineaux and vocalist, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist Ben Nugent. Started in 2009 between friends in Lafayette, Louisiana, they began with the simple goal of writing and playing death metal. Over time their goals as a band grew larger, driven by a bold desire to expand the idea of what death metal can be through free and uncompromised expression. While A NOVELIST is primarily composed of Alex Babineaux and Ben Nugent, they seek to have each album function as a manifestation of a cooperative society that has the singular goal of making art that they love. “Folie” contains twelve tracks.

“Folie Noire” opens the album, with soft and melancholy guitars and harmonized vocals.  It has a tender approach until just after the half-way mark, when distorted guitars and harsh vocals enter, but do not take over. “Exteriors” enters with much more chaos. Progressive elements stretch out as does the musicianship. I believe I heard a violin in the midst of the chaos. There are some Doomy elements present as well, reminding me a bit of NOVEMBRE. “Tombea” is up next, entering with some guitar dissonance and raging vocals. The guitars dance in and around the vocals, taking the track to different angles. The lead guitar parts are so very well done.

“Apparitions” has a slow and steady opening, leading to a full charge of guitar and drums, and clean and harsh vocals appearing together. The sound is somber. The dual lead guitars add some texture here. Towards the end, those descending guitar notes cut right through you. “His Kingdom is Vast” opens slowly and cautiously. When it picks up, it is both dark and dissonant, kind of like the black sheep of the album. There are some very dexterous lead guitars at work here as well. Some melodies follow here as well. Is that an accordion at the end? “Strangers in the House of Auto-da-Fe” starts out with fast picked guitars and blast beat drums, sounding like straight up Death Metal. But the guitars begin to branch out in harmonic blasts, while the harsh vocals rage. The guitars steal the show here for sure. The effects toward the end are fascinating.

“Acacia Crown” opens with keys and a darker sound, with incensed vocals. It has an old school sort of feeling to it, like BLACK SABBATH just gave birth in the modern era. Towards the end it builds a hypnotic feeling before a fade-out. “Caveat Lector” is the long song on the album, clocking in at over seven minutes. The song changes direction several times along the way, showcasing the bands sense of musical creativity. The bass guitar is featured in prominence here and I love the way it sounds. The dual harmonic cleans at the end are so very doomy. “Stockholm Blues” opens with dancing lead guitar harmonies high with melody, over a bed of clean vocal screams and harsh vocals. “Crestfallen” has a lot going on so strap in for the ride. Again, I have to point to the guitars being the main force here, taking center stage and holding everything in place.

“Learning Paralysis” is heavy and aggressive right out of the gate, with furious guitar notes and blast beat drumming. The mix in melodies perfectly here, rounding out the fervor of the Death vocals with class. “Interiors” closes the album, with a somber opening. The clean harmonies tug at you, almost making you forget the aggressiveness which is going on at the same time. The vocals soar here in an otherwise muggy and gloomy affair. Overall, what the album has is a nice balance between Proggy and downtrodden clean vocals with much harsher and sharp Death Metal passages. The way they make the balance is the key to the sound here, choosing to blend it rather than cutting to it without notice. Though, the album is very dense so you have to be able to stick with it.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Folie Noire
2. Exteriors
3. Tombeau
4. Apparitions
5. His Kingdom is Vast
6. Strangers in the House of Auto-da-Fe
7. Acacia Crown
8. Caveat Lector
9. Stockholm Blues
10. Crestfallen
11. Learning Paralysis
12. Interiors
Lineup:
Ben Nugent – Guitars, Vocals, Bass, and Keyboards
Alex Babineaux – Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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