Seeing the highlights of their discography together showcases the distinct sound that they have created over the years, while still showing their progression.
After a brief introduction, The Novembers’ first live DVD opens with vocalist/guitarist, Yusuke Kobayashi, alone on stage producing a wall of noise from his instrument. Through this noise, his voice eventually cuts through. The opening brilliantly shows what The Novembers do best: create brilliant noise alongside beautiful melodies.
The majority of the setlist is made up of The Novembers’ latest album Rhapsody in Beauty. However, almost every major body of work is represented in one way or another, with the exception of To (melt into). Seeing the highlights of their discography together showcases the distinct sound that they have created over the years, while still showing their progression. Unlike many other bands, their older work does not sound dated alongside their newer songs.
The Novembers know how to pace their setlist, since their sound spans from relaxing to heavy to harsh. They show off this skill well here, moving effortlessly from the calmer waters of “picnic” and “Flower of Life” to the heavier sounds of “dnim” and “236745981” and back again. Disk one ends at a heavy note, with disk two continuing that tone after another brief opening.
Having seen The Novembers in concert a number of times myself, the video captures their spirit and energy well.
As far as the video itself, the concert was artistically shot and a pleasure to watch. The cinematography is unique while being natural. The editing helps enhance the music, bouncing from wide shots to well-placed closeups. Even though the focus shifts constantly, it does so in a way similar to how a person would dart their eyes from one band member to another during a concert. Having seen The Novembers in concert a number of times myself, the video captures their spirit and energy well.
The only complaint I have of the DVD is that throughout the concert, there are cutaways to discussions with the band members. While native fans most likely greatly enjoy this commentary, foreign fans who do not speak Japanese could find these cutaways annoying or disappointing. Having English subtitles would remedy some of this; however, that is unlikely to happen, since foreign fans make up a small percentage of their fan base.
Overall, this live DVD has the rare quality of being extremely re-watchable. Many times a live DVD will be watched once or twice and then find itself sitting on a shelf collecting dust. Since the recording accurately captures what The Novembers are like live, I find myself reaching for this DVD to not just watch this concert, but to relive and remember the times I’ve seen them in person myself. Considering the artful beauty that goes into their work, I can confidently say this live DVD is a delight to watch. (9/10)
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