Review Summary: The beauty that breaks down...
There used to be a time, when a young and naïve, yet passionate metalhead picked up a record from a local cd store, called “Dead Heart In a Dead World”. A video for the song “Believe In Nothing” stood as a good argument for purchasing it. The band was called Nevermore, and the boy had heard a lot for them. They were hailed as one of the newest hopes for the metal community, for having such virtues as astoundingly heavy guitar parts and genius vocal melodies. A year later that boy was introduced to another record called “The Politics of Ecstacy”, but this time the cultural shock was even heavier.
And now, 5 years after a very successful album, Nevermore return with their latest achievement called “ The Obsidian Conspiracy”. Let alone Dane’s addiction with conspiracy theories and igneous rocks ,which usually happen to work symbolically, this record is doomed to be judged by the guitar work which is to be displayed. And Loomis is with no doubt an almost blessed musician with great songwriting skills and even better shredding techniques. His songwriting is based on a unique style which has given Nevermore their reputation, and is usually filtered smart enough through each album so as to achieve a recognizable heavy sound that not repeats itself. “Nevermore” had a sanctuaryesque feeling, “Politics of Ecstacy” were angry, “Dreaming Neon Black” was gloomy, “Dead heart in a Dead World” was tuneful, ”Enemies of Reality” was raw, and “This Godless Endeavor” was dreadfully technical. So the question is : How does “The Obsidian Conspiracy” sound like??
With their newest album, Nevermore take a step back- in order to admire what they have accomplished through all those years-,invite a Warrel’s not-very-old friend to help them with the production, and stretch their minds to come up with one of the year’s most uninspired albums. This worthless endeavor , stands as the band’s worst album and can easily be a major disappointment for fans and critics alike. But let’s take a closer look on the record before expressing more terrible words.
Nevermore’s opening tracks always used to be mindblowing. Just think of Born or Enemies of Reality. This time, the album’s opener, ”termination proclamation”, fails completely to stand next to older openers, and even if it displays decent guitar work, the riffs and the vocal melody happen to be even boring-nothing compared to what the band’s capabilities are. This mood continues with songs like “Your Poison Throne”(Rise!, Rise!-it’s somehow funny to hear Warrel singing it!!!),” Moonrise” or “The Day you Built The Wall”(Truly boring one).The most songs are built on the classic Nevermore-formula with the heavy riffing, the bridge and the recognizable -by-Warrel’s-unique voice refrains.”Emptiness Unobstructed” shines alone with a catchy and uplifting feeling -a song destined to be a live classic.”The Marble and the New Soul” is another surprise, with the almost romantic solo in the middle and the piano additions making it distinguishable between the other pieces. The homonymous track strives to be a new “Dead heart in a dead world”(the song), but eventually fails. However, it is still better than the other mediocrities. Another misstep on the album is the lyrics. Dane’s favorite words are back again, but his lyrical sharpness seems to have wore off, as many lines and phrases are stereotyped and very unimaginative-“without morals we wither ,we might as well be gone” or “Rise, rise from the poison!”-come on, this is no way compared to older works, but seems like an 80s metal band trying to sound serious with the sociopolitical lyrics!!!
But the truth is that “The obsidian conspiracy” is not only bad album for Nevermore’s standards, but it also happens to be an unremarkable album for the whole scene. The riffing techniques and the songwriting approach that the band presents us are widely used in modern heavy metal, and are also co-formed by the band itself. This is not accusable, but this time it is not filtered well enough (as it was with the previous albums) so as to reach new heights of musical dynamics. By the first few listens you expect to hear (if not any innovations),the Nevermore elements you loved so much: Brutal and fast riffing, amazing solos, inspired vocal melodies and dark lyricism. Then you realize that all these are really present, but in an uninteresting and tedious way. I strongly believe that some of the Nevermore-clone bands out there can bring us a better album!!!The expectations were higher this time, but this can never justify the quality of the album. Loomis may have written, if not so technical, more massive or brutal riffs which can easily get stuck in your head. The road he chose was neither a safe nor a risky one-and that maybe affected the songwriting. Dane should have tried to work on more memorable melodies. The rhythm section is once again very solid, and technically the band is flawless. But still the songs seem repetitive and without character.
So were Nevermore tired of all those tours and shows through these 5 years??Have they run out of good ideas??Did Warrel and Loomis played their best cards in their solo albums???Were they afraid of trying something new??Was it their time to release a not-so-good-album? Was Seattle sprinkled with any suspicious liquid?? Whatever happened to this small gang of talented musicians, their newest album, the long awaited “obsidian conspiracy” is almost disappointing. It will offer some pleasure to the hungry fans, but will try much harder to earn a place in their hearts.
Sorry for all the hating, but Nevermore, please, the next time , try harder. And I won’t be feeling hollow for so long….