Novelists - 'Noir'
Originality 6.5
Lyrics 7.3
Replay Value6.4
Instrumentation 8.1
Overall Impact6.4
What We Liked
  • Outstanding Production
  • Several Brilliant Songs
What We Didn't Like
  • One Paced
  • Unfocused
6.9Overall Score

Toning down the technical aspects of their expansive sound, the French five piece offer up an earnest collection of accessible melodic metal tracks. Beautifully constructed with a serene production, the band shimmer throughout. Not without its flaws, ‘Noir’ is a capable and engaging statement of intent.

The delay on ‘Monochrome’s guitars set the scene for a masterfully crafted pop song, with its soaring saxophone breaking up an ethereal soundscape. The first real ‘metal’ riff doesn’t actually kick in until the third track ‘Under Different Welkins’. Another luscious song that feels more like a contemporary to a bedazzling tech metal band such as ‘Intervals’ than any another metalcore acts. If the album kept up this level of quality and songwriting prowess, we could have been talking about something special.

‘Grey Souls’ is a heavier barrage of low-end thuds and Gojira like harmonic scrapes, it’s a blunt reminder that Novelists can comfortably be an apex metal band if the mood takes them. ‘A Bitter End’ continues the heaviness with another forceful riff that is intricately layered. Unfortunately this is where the record peaks, its second half takes a sharp dip in quality as each track starts to tread familiar ground.

Too many of these songs occupy the same mid tempo pace. It becomes a record of predictable journeys that feel at times underwhelming and unrepresentative of this bands obvious talent. The strong melodies can come to be unmemorable as the album drags on towards its one dimensional conclusion. An ill conceived rapped verse during ‘Stranger Self’ and the constant bombardments of sombre verses in the final two tracks are the records most jarring down points. Thankfully ‘Lead The Light’ is an inspired late track, an utterly joyous ear worm that’s armed with the best chorus of the entire album.

Ultimately this is a good record, although it’s a step down from 2015’s ‘Souvenirs’, there are still a good handful of great songs to make this an album worth checking out. The brain wrangling technical guitars are sorely missed however, whilst the band try to solidify their own identity with mixed results. If Novelists could just refine the spark that clearly resides within their sound, they could be a mouth watering prospect.

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