Album Review: Novelists – Souvenirs

A novelist is an individual who…you guessed it; writes novels. An author if you will. They put the pen to paper to tell a story. The readers than immerse themselves in the where, when, and how of the tale and find themselves taken away by what’s been set forth. This isn’t too far off from what music can do. The lyricist puts their thoughts and emotions onto a record for all to hear. These could be anything from an occurrence that happened in their lives (good or bad), to thoughts and theories on society or pop culture. It doesn’t always have to be with words though. Instruments can tell a story all of their own. They can set the mood or tones for the words being sung, simply by the sounds that hit our ears. All this combined creates somewhat of a story. This is what makes the moniker Novelists so perfect, and exactly what their debut album Souvenirs does.

The album is composed of a whopping 14 songs, unfortunately four of those aren’t anything new for older fans of the group. Antares, Souvenirs and the two bonus tracks Twenty Years and Heartfelt were all included on their demo released only a year previous. Still it won’t be like hearing the same old songs. There are definitely subtle differences and nuances in comparison from original demo track to new. For any first time listeners though, I assure you these four songs are an integral part of what’s to come. The entire effort brings something fresh to the scene, and truly takes advantage of the term “progressive” when it comes to metalcore. Another trait the demo and Souvenirs share is both were produced by bassist Nicolas Delestrade. This only adds to the overall passion you can feel was painstakingly put into this record.

‘Inanimate’ starts of with a lone piano. The keys fill the room with an almost haunting melody that leaves you with a feeling of sadness or a sense of being unsettled. A crunching guitar riff and double-kick bass drums shortly follow snapping you out of your current lull and commands your immediate attention. Vocalist Matt Gelsomino retains that sharp focus with a scream, letting the world know “I’ve been reborn!”. The song only runs a mere 2:01, but by the end any sense uncertainty you had is quickly replaced with anger, and an urge to conquer all.

‘Earth Graver’ starts off fast and heavy. Guitarists Florestan Durand and Charly Kelevra show us some of the craftier tricks of the trade. A set of notes and chords that wouldn’t be considered the most complex, yet tricky enough and compiled in such a way that none could call it bland. Drummer Amael Durand and bassist Nicolas Delestrade add the perfect rhythmic structure that accentuates every tone and beat perfectly. The track from beginning to end shows the grittier, angrier side of Souvenirs. The album as a whole has no lack of teeth, but this sets the mould for heavy on this release.

5:12 AM is a track that could feel almost out-of-place if it weren’t for the fact that it just flows so well on its own, that it adds the prefect softer and melodic break from an otherwise aggressive and heavy repertoire. This track features a guest guitarist. Sydney, Australia’s Plini Roessler-Holgate (who is the sole writer and performer for his instrumental act simply dubbed ‘Plini’) offers up his unique, almost progressive jazz-like style of plucking and picking. This adds a new twist many would not have expected. Matt’s clean vocal abilities are best heard here. He sings at an almost hum at times that truly feels soothing, but lets his pitches reach somewhat higher points that are just as pleasing. He isn’t alone at the helm though this time around. Youtuber Charlotte Holz (a.k.a. Lotti Holz) adds her sweet voice to the mix which only exemplifies the necessity for a lighter touch amongst a slew of abrasively intense tracks.

‘The Lichtenberg Figure’ is one of the greatest songs off the entire album, hence I’m sure is the case for being one of the singles. It perfectly showcases the many talents this multi-faceted band incorporates into everything they do. It delivers the hard-hitting heaviness you hope to bang your head to, but also teems with the ambient and atmospheric elements they lace throughout so well. The songs subject matter touches on the notion of feeling alone, sad, angry. That what you have and what you do sometimes feels like it instills joy in no one, not even yourself. But having a venue in which you are able to release and vent can help to placate the so-called “demons in your head”. Admittedly after listening to this song I even felt a touch more at ease with some of the hardships I had been facing as of late.

NOVELISTS – The Lichtenberg Figure (OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO)

NOVELISTS’ official lyric video for the single ‘THE LICHTENBERG FIGURE’ from the debut album “SOUVENIRS” out November 13, 2015 via ARISING EMPIRE.

This LP brought to us from France is anything but lackadaisical or monotonous. Instead it almost feels like a breath of fresh air in a set of musical lungs that had been stale for quite some time. Upon first pressing play on my iPhone and the music that ebbed flowed from my ear buds hit every sensor in my ear’s canals, my mind and body were taken away. I pictured myself in a moshpit; punching and kicking my way to the stage. I was in a battle with my minds confusing maze of emotions and had to find my way to the prize at the end. A feeling of self-pity and sadness struck, and I had to discover a way to alleviate my woes. They have absolutely told a story of passion, anger, excitement, sadness, and at times a flicker of happiness and perseverance shines through as well. I hope this album is one of many Souvenirs that Novelists bestow upon us in what could only be an incredible career to come.

NOVELISTS – Gravity (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

NOVELISTS’ official music video for the single ‘GRAVITY’ from the debut album “SOUVENIRS” out November 13, 2015 via ARISING EMPIRE.

 

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