I don't really consider my Dark Stars (which should be equivalent to Novaks) growly or bitey - what they have is a positively massive front end attack with a quick decay, much like an upright bass. It sits great in the mix because it's super articulate but without a lot of extra sustained volume, so it really punches through and cleans up a mix. But they're more round and fat than growly or bitey.
This suggestion might be from left field, but have you considered EMG? The common view on them is that they sound modern because they're so often found in Moduluses, but they can be way more than that. The classic EMGs all had Ceramic magnets which do tend to be modern and ballsy, but I've got an EMG in my Fender/Warmoth P with Alnico magnets and it sounds exactly like a stock Fender pickup but a little cleaner and more articulate on stage. For soapbars you can get a few different magnet/coil configurations, the Ceramic seems to have a lot more bite and snarl while the Ceramic/Steel is a bit smoother. My understanding is that the active technology is pretty similar to what Alembic used for Phil's modded Starfire and custom Alembics from that period. I can tell you from personal experience that they do work with an ACG although I have it wired up in a slightly unusual way - in a P/J with an on/off switch for the ACG, and EMG volume, tone and pickup blend pots. I'm having a custom shortscale Warmoth solidbody built with three EMG DC35TWX pickups, specifically to capture the 72-78 tone... we'll see how it goes.