I am quite convinced that NEVERMORE can do no wrong. They have released another masterpiece of an album, in one of the most stellar discographies in Metal (even the much maligned “Enemies Of Reality” sounds INFINITELY better with Andy Sneap behind the mixing board). This album is also the best within that discography. Better than masterpieces like “Dreaming Neon Black” and “Dead Heart In A Dead World”, you say?
Oh, yes. NEVERMORE has taken every single thing that makes them probably the best band in Metal today and improved on it tenfold. If you’re unfamiliar with NEVERMORE’s music, they play…umm…Progressive Power/Thrash Metal? Progressive because they manage to incorporate ‘outside’ influences, odd time signatures, classical influences and strange chords. Power because, Warrel Dane sings (more on that later) and Thrash because of the heaviness. Even then, NEVERMORE still manages to forge their own sound, classifications and genres be damned. If you know what NEVERMORE sounds like, just scroll to the bottom of the review. For those not certain, read on.
The music is heavy, melodic, technical, intense and full of emotion. From unmitigated hatred (“My Acid Words”, “Born”, the last part of “Sentient 6”) to sorrow (most “Sentient 6”, beginning of “This Godless Endeavor”) to very tragic tone (“Bittersweet Feast”, “Sell My Hard For Stones”), everything is accomplished here. The guitar work is such that will leave you breathless in both its catchiness and utter technicality. It’s not to say that it’s a shredfest all the way through, but the amount of musicianship displayed is very tasteful. The guitars pump out melodic riffs that tear your face off (for the most part. They can be quite mellow and sometimes, even, (gasp!) upbeat) while the rhythm section, with the beastly drumming and subtle bass, provides a very mechanical (the good kind) and impressive backdrop for the former to shine through.
I’m sure Jeff Loomis sold his soul to some deity (or the devil) for his guitar skill. The man’s composition talent is absolutely off the charts, not to mention his freakish soloing ability. Not to take anything away from Steve Smythe (new guitar player, who’s worked with TESTAMENT & DRAGONLORD, amongst others), but his holiness Loomis has a knack for making the most ridiculous guitar lines sound tasteful and not overbearing. He put a fucking sweep picking pattern in the chorus of “Born”! And it doesn’t sound like it’s just to display Loomis’ ability! Not to mention his soloing which is equally impressive. Ah, you’ve probably read pages of pages of accolades bestowed upon this man; you don’t need to hear more from me.
The factor that makes NEVERMORE *that* much better than the other bands is the singing. Warrel Dane can not only show anger, fear, hatred, sorrow, etc, like so many other (great) singers, he is probably the only vocalist that can convincingly convey madness, terror and madness while still singing clean (just listen to “Sentient 6” for his range. The latter half feels like the Apocalypse). His emotion range is uncanny and his delivery is very passionate. Also, he somehow manages to come up with memorable vocal lines to Loomis’ sick guitar work (he manages to sing over that damn sweeping pattern in “Born”!).
Although I’ve held “Dreaming Neon Black” in very high regard over the past 5 years and always said that it was their best album, “This Godless Endeavor” is better. Album of 2005, ladies & gentlemen!
Every song on this album is a masterpiece. Even songs I’m not particularly fond of sometimes manage to sneak up on me and provide another jaw dropping moment. The best songs include “Bittersweet Feast”, “Sentient 6”, “A Future Uncertain” and “This Godless Endeavor”. The last one is the best song NEVERMORE has written so far and is also a good synopsis of the band’s sound.
Yea, get this album. It’s really good. (Online February 5, 2006)