NEVERMORE’s 1995, self-titled debut is one of three of the band’s albums to receive a much-deserved reissue. Rising from the ashes of SANCTUARY, vocalist Warrel Dane, guitarist Jeff Loomis and bass player Kim Sheppard took the Thrash-influenced, Heavy Metal sound of their previous band, and beefed it up considerably. Thus, NEVERMORE was born. And the band wasted no time in leaving its mark, with the debut album showing a new band quickly forging a unique identity during Metal’s mid-nineties dark age.
For a debut, “Nevermore” is a very strong offering, greatly hinting at what the band was to become with ensuing releases. The songs are heavy and intense with many Progressive leanings. The lyrics are deep and thought provoking, you won’t find any nursery rhymes or fairytales here. The debut basically defines all that NEVERMORE stands for to this day, and features some real classics (at least in my book) in “The Sanity Assassin” and “Timothy Leary”.
Here on the 2006 re-reissue the real treat for fans will be the inclusion of five tracks from the “Utopia” demo. The sound quality, and to a lesser degree, the songwriting, isn’t up to par with the rest of the disc, but that’s to be expected. But it’s still great to hear NEVERMORE at its earliest stages of development. The promo video for “What Tomorrow Knows” is also thrown in, which is nice, but nothing special.
So, whether or not you should spend your cash on the reissue of NEVERMORE’s self-titled debut depends on a few things: If you don’t already have the original, then it’s an album worth checking out. And if you’re a longtime NEVERMORE fan like myself, the demo tracks are worth the purchase.
(Online November 29, 2006)