Wow...just wow. That was all I could say when I first listened to two songs from a This Godless Endeavor sampler. As soon as I pushed the 'play' button I was assaulted by the fast, crushing riffs, the insane guitar solos, and the tortured singing that are Nevermore. Even from a well-respected metal band - American metal especially - like Nevermore, no one would expect them to release a fantastic album every couple years. It's just unreasonable. In the past they have released albums Like Dreaming Neon Black
, Dead Heart in a Dead World
, and Enemies of Reality
, any of which could be considered their best album. So after all of that, you'd think they'd have a good reason to take it easy and slack off a little right? Not to these guys. Even though they formed well over a decade ago, This Godless Endeavor
is proof that Nevermore is an unstoppable musical force.
Warrel Dane has a little more than "a couple traumatic situations" in his life to fuel his music. Imagine your girlfriend has become part of an extremist religious cult. You try and get her out of it, but she falls into it anyway. Sometime later she disappears mysteriously and is never seen again...she is presumed dead, undoubtedly at the hands of the same cult you tried to protect her from.
I have just described for you the exact instance that happened to Warrel Dane, which went on to be the inspiration and story behind the concept album Dreaming Neon Black
. Dane has a very emotional singing style. His voice can be heavy and brutal at times, but also extremely melodic.
I suppose much can be expected from a band grouping two trash lead guitarists, a thrash bassist, and a drummer who sounds as though he uses more than just four limbs. Much is also delivered. Smyth and Loomis bring forth a fast, heavy, riffing style that is not only catchy, but technical as well! These guys also trade solos back and forth in songs like a pair of virtuosos. They also make full use of acoustic guitars and acoustic soloing, just as they in the past. Guitarists will eat this stuff up with a spork (Loomis, by the way, has also begun work on a solo project). Sheppard's bass is heard in only a select few times, but hell, I liked it. Sometimes I think metal bass should get more exposure. I have also played witness to how big of a drumming inspiration Van Williams can be. His drumming is excellent throughout the album. There's the usual double bass (and I think some blast beats) but there's much more than that. This guy is a beast behind a set.
Make no mistake; these guys have the writing ability to lead their playing. The music is just straight up American Heavy Metal, but none of that new wave metalcore sh
it. The guitars whip fast, punishing riffs that beat you into a musical pulp and rebuild you according to the book of heavy metal (no, they don't sound like Dream Evil). Songs like Born
, Psalm of Lydia
, and My Acid Words
all have great somewhat thrashy riffs. Medicated Nation
is a call to get off of your pop punk and listen to some real music.
This band is not only heavy, but they also have a great melodic side. Born
has an amazing, flowing chorus lead by Dane's voice. My Acid Words
is a container of harmonized riffs and great singing. Sentient 6
is a very soft track (for a while) with Dane singing softy until the band crashes back in full force to make it an emotional cry for help. A Future Uncertain
opens with some excellent acoustic work that really sticks in the mind.
The song lengths combined with their songwriting style is what makes the music truly impressive. Many songs on the album are between six and eight minutes long, thus showing a slight progressive side to their music. But unlike most progressive I know these guys don't get boring for a second. Many have very instrumental parts, long intros, or just packed full of riffs or lyrics. The seven-minute Sentient 6
starts out soft but becomes a long, melodic track. The title track This Godless Endeavor
, a nine-minute metal epic, is full of mind-boggling riffs and solos. But even the short songs, such as the one and a half minute The Holocaust of Thought
, make their presence known (that song is a short instrumental with great soloing).
I hope you all found this review informative. I know it's a bit toned down from my last Arch Enemy review. I love this band with a passion and tried my best to do them justice. The music is heavy, melodic, and technical - a combination that shou ld appeal to not only musicians, but any metal enthusiast.
My Acid Words
The Psalm of Lydia
This Godless Endeavor
It was so hard to single out several tracks...every song on this album is top-notch. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Final Rating - 4.5/5
A fine representation of what American heavy metal is. No matter who you are, if you're a metalhead, you owe it to yourself to check this band out. Have fun.