NEVERMORE - DREAMING NEON BLACK - CENTURY MEDIA
Here it is, the long-awaited, much hyped new full-length from Century Media's heavy hitters Nevermore. What is there to say about an album conceived by the talents of former Sanctuary members who could do no wrong, yet simultaneously could get no respect from their record company of the time? As has always been the case, the vocals of Warrel Dane bristle with confidence. On the down side, his range has been shrinking as he gets older, and here on Dreaming... one hears less and less from the higher-pitchd and Geoff Tate-inspired screaming. The vocals might ultimately be winners, but the clear ace up the band's sleeves nowadays are the twin guitar playing executed technically by Jeff Loomis and the newest addition and ex-Forbidden man Tim Calvert. The combination gives birth to a rhythm and a lead guitar marching forth to the tune of classy heavy metal. There is little to complain there. The drumming, however, sadly falls apart, not because of Van Williams' handicraft, but rather because of Neil Kernon somehow leaving little power in those hands. A pity, but so goes the disc. Overall then, Dreaming Neon Black falls in the recommended category, complete with the dreary pitfalls that a concept album entails: the effects, samples, acoustic moments and all the trappings that the telling of story require. These are challenges which are more than compensated by the strength of the individual songs. - Ali "The Metallian"
NEVERMORE - ENEMIES OF REALITY - CENTURY MEDIA
Nevermore number five, Enemies Of Reality, is an awesome album of contradictions. The leaner line-up has gotten meaner, bigger and louder and concocted an album that could have gone either way. On the one hand, the downtuned guitar slashes like a blade out for blood. The rhythm guitar sound has the sound more often attributed to Korn (and perhaps even Meshuggah) in an apparent attempt to veer towards modernism. Panic is not necessary though (although we did!) for Nevermore has stuck hard to heavy metal and instead leveraged the grind of that sound to concoct a superb album. Songs like Enemies Of Reality, Ambivalent, Seed Awakening and I, Voyager are why I got into metal in the first place. And those who have followed this site know that we do not use the word 'I' here often. I think Enemies Of Reality is that good. Beside the heavy rhythm, the solos bruise. Each and everyone of the lead guitar parts attacks with talent, dexterity and power - even the Arch Enemy-inspired one on I, Voyager. The voice of Warrel Dane is still in top form, and as a matter-of-fact leaves his work on Dead Heart In A World in the proverbial dust. Come to think of it, everything about this release makes Dead Heart... a fading image in the rear view mirror. Add to that, the concept behind the cover artwork/CD artwork, the motif of reality and fantasy and a hefty production courtesy of Kelly Gray and the summation is nothing short of every reason ever needed by any metal fan to purchase an album. - Ali "The Metallian"
NEVERMORE - THIS GODLESS ENDEAVOR - CENTURY MEDIA
Good ol' Nevermore. It's hard not to respect Warrell Dane's crew, as the Seattle band has been throwing out quality records for longer than the lifespan of most (mid-tier) metal bands. Anyway, whereas 2003's Enemies Of Reality was an incredible album shackled in a horrendous shell (thanks for wrecking a potential classic, Kelly Gray), This Godless Endeavor finds Nevermore retreating back into the protective coating of old. A lot of the high-flying thrash and out-of-this-sphere solos from Enemies Of Reality are gone, replaced (mostly) by the mid-pace rock-out of Dead Heart, In A Dead World or Dreaming Neon Black. But while those records exuded a kind of timeless, already-classic attitude, This Godless Endeavor acts more as a summation of where Nevermore's already been. Sure, there's still fast thrashing and aggressive tendencies, but the Nevermore fan in 2005 is left mostly with exquisitely, meticulously, cleanly produced sheen, the kinds of songs that work and work well, but are also safe. I guess Nevermore's to be complimented for putting out another solid album, but at the same time I lament the loss of Enemies Of Reality's all-encompassing ferocity (or even the vitriol/passion found on Dead Heart's title track). Then again, I guess good (but only good) records are the way you build catalogue. - David Perri
WARREL DANE - PRAISES TO THE WAR MACHINE - CENTURY MEDIA
Warrel Dane is the brilliant singer for Nevermore. Here he appears as a solo artist with help from friends like Peter Wichers, Matt Wicklund and drummer Dirk Verbeuren and the results are surprisingly good. In fact, this is fantastic.
Praises To The War Machine is a more personal record for Warrel Dane who spends his time in Nevermore dazzling fans. The album is a more simplified and pensive album than any of the man’s previous body of work, but luckily for the fans Warrel’s introspection is the pursuit of cerebral topics like war, politics and religion. The multi-layered, multi-character, multi-emotion vocals of Dane paint the songs with a brush of wonder, while the inspired and motivated instrumentalists behind him also rise to the occasion to deliver a deep album of solid songcraft. The heavier songs, When We Pray (“Now ask yourself do you feel betrayed? Because nothing ever changes when we pray”) or Equilibrium balance songs like Your Chosen Misery and the Sister Of Mercy cover Lucretia My Reflection is giving the album a unique metallic character. The high-pitched vocals, melodies and emphatic enunciations are always present as is the perpetual feeling of class.
Solo albums are typically silly and people associated with Soilwork are usually sillier, but apparently two negatives can make a positive. Praise be to Warrel Dane’s convictions and talent. - Ali “The Metallian”