Released: 2005, Century Media
A large improvement from ENEMIES OF REALITY, Nevermore’s latest album gets the band back on track after what I thought to be a disappointing derailment. I hear similarities to DEAD HEART IN A DEAD WORLD all over this album, which I always considered to be their best. This one is surely a close second.
Every song is so heavy; Jeff Loomis’s deep distortion tone reigns over it all. The drumbeats are hardly ever just a straight rhythm, Van Williams’s constant use of the snare giving the music a real chaotic feel to them, especially in “Bittersweet Feast.” The chaos is almost too much to bear, but they make up for it in other songs.
“Sentient 6” is where they slow it down, but even when they bring down that massive heavy factor, they never lose their power. Warrel Dane’s unique, almost lamenting vocals are perfect for the classic dark undertones Nevermore is known for. He puts a lot of passion into his singing, especially heard in another slower tune, “Sell My Heart For Stones.” Dane’s lyrics are often sad and painful, but there’s nothing painful about hearing them. His voice may be an acquired taste, but to me it’s what belongs in this type of band.
Their single, “The Psalm of Lydia,” has one of the greatest opening riffs I’ve heard in a long time. It’s unfortunate that we don’t hear it anywhere else in the song, because that’s what truly makes it. Well, that and Loomis’s killer shredding solo. The man has some serious skills.
To me, “A Future Uncertain” is the highlight of the album. They really mix it up, perhaps a hint of progressive tendencies. It starts off with an acoustic melody and soft vocals that slowly blends into an awesome heavy onslaught, a moment very reminiscent of Opeth. About halfway through the song, it slows a bit to showcase a great guitar solo that focuses more on melody than shredding abilities. It ends with a section that’s an up and down passage between heavy riffs and smooth coasting ones.
The title track, at almost nine minutes, follows this same progressive style. It’s like they’re taking the listener for a ride that ends so far from where it began. Their songs just don’t come full circle, but I think in the case of Nevermore, that’s where the talent lies. They string together their ideas so well that you hardly notice where you end up. THIS GODLESS ENDEAVOR may not top DEAD HEART in my book, but the real Nevermore is back.