Job : This is it: my favorite record this month. Novelists is based in Paris, France (where else) and have been playing well developed metalcore for a few years now. Their most prominent influences are most definitely Periphery and Intervals and let’s be honest: how often have we named those two as influences in the past five years? (Hint: fucking lots). Novelists approaches their music like so many others in the genre, but for some reason just nail it every time. Try debut ‘Souvenirs’ first and see for yourself: this band just gets it.
Their sound on ‘Noir’ has evolved from ‘Souvenirs’, however, and the band isn’t afraid to take things to more melodic planes this time around. Where ‘Souvenirs’ was a djentfest that didn’t know its equal, ‘Noir’ sounds more mature, smarter and a lot of Northlane influences have seeped in. Vocalist Matt Gelsomino brings a hardcore vibe to the table through his growls but his cleans are what really hook you; while his range might not be up there, every single line he sings packs a punch through his sincerity and the will to not overdo things – a pitfall so many fall into in this genre. Because of this, he easily stands his ground among the greats in this competitive genre, and that’s not an easy feat at all.
Production value is, as expected for this type of music nowadays, absolutely top notch and every aspect in the sound is perfectly accented in the mix. A beneficial side effect of a sublime mix is that every little tidbit that doesn’t necessarily adhere to the formula jumps out at you. A great example of this are the solos sprinkled throughout the record on ‘Monochrome’, ‘A Travers le Miroir’ and ‘Lead the Light’, which all of them has me legitimately gasping for air the first time they passed by. And then there are the guest vocals on ‘Joie de Vivre’ from a singer I couldn’t quite place. Simply stupendously good.
And of course the band paid attention when Periphery released ‘Periphery II’ some time ago: the clean sound on ‘Monochrome’ instantly reminded me of the beginning of ‘Luck as A Constant’ and the electronic outro to aforementioned ‘Joie de Vivre’ shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who heard the ending to ‘Ragnarok’ but hey: I much prefer a band taking heavily from their influences but staying original than a band that tries to invent everything for themselves and failing in the process. Novelists add enough of their own flair to the mix to sound fresh, that’s for damn sure and as far as I’m concerned, that’s all that matters. It makes ‘Noir’ a behemoth of an album this year.