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Album Reviews : Novelists – Noir

By on September 10, 2017

France just keeps hitting the ball clean out of the park in the heavy music arena, with just about every band they produce and just about every album produced by those bands. The French canon of heaviosity continues to grow in size and stature, and you can add the newie from Paris’s Novelists to the illustrious French discography.

Noir is this band’s sophomore effort, and it finds them expanding and growing in just about every imaginable way. Whilst their debut of 2014 Souvenirs was an engaging but relatively conventional djenty prog metal record, Noir sees the band starting to explore the outer limits of their sound, and venturing into previously untouched musical territory.

For example, you hit track two, Monochrome, and you’re already hearing some sweet, ethereal sax lines complimenting the moody ambience of the track. In fact, it’s a fabulous and very surprising song to show up at track two on a heavy album, and bespeaks of this band’s expansive spirit of adventure on this record.

In fact, this record juxtaposes celestial ambience with pounding heaviness to just about perfection. It will whisk you away to float in stasis with the heavenly bodies of the universe one moment before bludgeoning your psyche with jolting, jarring riffs and grooves the next. Arguably the best example of this is found during arguably the album’s best cut, the strangely titled Under Different Welkins.

Lyrically and thematically the band are charting a new course too. Noir is apparently a heavily conceptual piece that is split into four separate chapters. Information on what the themes actually are is sketchy at best, since the album has not actually been released at the time of writing, but many kudos to this band for being so adventurous with their lyrics and imagery as well as the music itself.

Musicianship and production show great technical skill and imagination, whilst serving the song to perfection. The clean/dirty tradeoff in the vocal department works an absolutely treat, and only adds to the compelling dynamism of the piece.

Noir is, as the name suggests, dark, luminous and dramatic, and will stand proudly amongst the best albums of 2017.

Band: Novelists
Album: Noir
Year: 2017
Genre: Progressive Metal
Label:  Sharptone Records / Arising Empire
Origin: France


Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine,, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.