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Novelists - Noir Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 09 November 2017, 11:49 AM

French quintet NOVELISTS are a relatively new band in the Modern Metal/Metalcore scene today, a style that has been established but continues to morph and evolve. As well, France has really been making a name for themselves in the Metal scene today. We all know GOJIRA, but there are plenty of other great acts arising from this country these days. “Noir” is the band’s second full-length, and contains twelve new tracks.

“L’ Appel Du Vide” leads off the assault. The mellow verses are quite intoxicating, while the chorus is full on with a big melody. Some of the heavy rhythms are weighted and crunchy, holding down that aggressive bottom end, while ambient piano notes provide the beauty on the other side. “Monochrome” has a light and airy entrance, with graceful vocals and clean, bright guitar notes. Falsetto notes often come off as cheesy, but not here…they work very well with the tone of the song. Saxophone notes help to push a melancholy feeling that seems to flow through you, while a wonderful guitar solo really connects with the melody. “Under Different Welkins” has a groovy rhythm that sends an automatic signal to your feet, as they life to tap along. The harsh vocals work great with the alternating cleans and what results is pure allurement. I have said many times before that composting a memorable melody line is much harder than creating something overly aggressive, and this is a fine example of that. But don’t think that it doesn’t have teeth however because it very much does.

“Les Nults Noires” translates to “dark nights” in English. The heavy Djenting rhythm makes for a punishing sound that swirls with anger and dark emotions. On the more weighted side of the spectrum, it does a good job of delivering those shadowy thoughts that exist deep in our subconscious to light. “A Bitter End” was one of the first official videos released from the album. This is one for the mosh pits. The instrumentation is mechanical and ultra-tight, while the varied vocals can make you feel anger and resolve as well as moments of levity and peace. One of the best features of Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore is how well two contrasting elements work together…the dark and the light…the yin and the yang if you will. In “Stranger Self” that feeling is fully realized, with pure aggressiveness that is tempered by beauty and emotion. “The Light, The Fire” might be the track that brought it all for me on the album. It has an inflection that you can easily connect with, sweet and pretty passages of euphoria, and a fierce and tenacious quality that is cathartic.

Speaking of melody and sweetness, “Joie de Vivre” translates in English to “exuberate enjoyment of life.” In this song the scope is mostly on connecting harmonies and tugging at your heart-strings in a display of passion that gives you goosebumps. “Lead the Light” talks about the chance to move forward from past mistakes with the strength that is inside you. The guitars build absolutely stunning beauty in this song and if doesn’t fire up your courage you might want to check to see if you still have a pulse. When I think they have successfully run me through years of ups and downs emotionally, “A Travers le Miroir” rolls in like a thin mist of clouds, enveloping me in warmth and vibrant colors of nature that turn the smile on my face ever pointing upwards. The elegance of this refined sound is just undivided. “Heal the Wound” closes the album. It burns hot with energy and enthusiasm, ending the album on a positive and spirited note. It’s easy to just hear the serenity of the melody here but if you miss the intricate guitar work here, give it another listen.

Grace, beauty, charm, fervor and aggressive refinement abound on “Noir.” It’s one of the best albums in the genre I have heard this year for sure. They have a knack for fantastical songwriting that satisfies your primal Metal needs on that heavy front, as well as songs that straight up hit your feelings like an exposed nerve, making you ache and long for more. The balance they achieve between the two is the magic that makes the album so special.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. L’ Appel Du Vide
2. Monochrome
3. Under Different Welkins
4. Les Nults Noires
5. Grey Souls
6. A Bitter End
7. Stranger Self
8. The Light, The Fire
9. Joie de Vivre
10. Lead the Light
11. A Travers le Miroir
12. Heal the Wound
Matt Gelsomino - Vocals
Florestan Durand - Guitar
Amael Durand - Drums
Charly Kelevra - Guitar
Nicolas Delestrade – Bass
Record Label: Sharptone Records


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