Nevermore
The Obsidian Conspiracy


3.0
good

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
June 4th, 2010 | 88 replies | 26,277 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The sound of a band going through the motions.

If you were to explore the discography of any established band, it is almost certain that you would come across at least one substandard album. There are many reasons for a band to eventually release an inferior album, but it probably all comes down to burnout. After years of following the same musical blueprint, artists are bound to feel like they’re stuck in a rut and eventually that’ll lead to complacency. Over the past sixteen years, Nevermore have released six well-received metal albums that have consistently surpassed expectations, but there has been a downside too. The problem is that the band have faithfully adhered to a certain formula in order to constantly improve on it, and that has finally lead to The Obsidian Conspiracy – proof that they have lost some of their fire and are just going through the motions.

The problem begins with the barebones musical approach. Under the guise of “opening up the music” for Warrel Dane’s vocals, everything has been simplified and restrained. With few exceptions, the music has been reduced to basic riffs, minimal solos and predictable structures. The primal thrash and quick death metal influences have largely been replaced with standard traditional metal riffs that lack any real punch or identity. This is further exacerbated by the fact that the complex, semi-progressive arrangements have been marginalized in favor of a simple verse/chorus format. Even the opening track (a position traditionally saved for one of the band’s strongest songs) fails to live up to the high standards that Nevermore have set with past albums. It begins well enough, but as soon as things are “opened up” for Warrel Dane’s vocals it all devolves into simple riffs that collapse even further when they transition to a more melodic stance for the chorus. This seamlessly leads us to another problem with the album – Warrel Dane’s vocals.

There are tons of people that love Nevermore’s music but take issue with the more traditional approach (i.e. the higher pitched singing) of Warrel Dane’s vocals. It should be obvious that anyone that didn’t like them before won’t like them now either, but even fans may take issue with his singing on this album. Much of the punch and aggression that he utilized on previous releases has been discarded in favor of a much more melodic approach that further weakens the songs. He also makes much less use of complex melodic harmonies and vocal layering which, when combined with the simplified music, causes the whole package to sound incredibly thin and undeveloped. The final observation simply seems to be that Warrel sounds completely uninspired and uninterested. There just isn’t any place on this release where it sounds like he is truly pumped or pushing his voice to its limits. Instead he almost sounds nonchalant at times, as if he were simply singing names from a phone book with an offhand detachment.

Nevermore have really done this to themselves by setting such a high standard in the first place. If this album were released by any number of other artists, it would be highly regarded and people would take very little issue with it. Unfortunately for the band, Nevermore releases aren’t judged by anything other than other Nevermore albums. When viewed as a part of the band’s discography, there is much left to be desired and very little reason to choose this over any of their past albums. Basically, Nevermore probably aren’t even capable of producing a total dud, and they haven’t done so with The Obsidian Conspiracy. The problem is that even though the album is solid when viewed as an autonomous release, I still can’t help but feel as though this is a step back for the band and that their hearts might not have been in this one.



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user ratings (274)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
StlPaulL (3.5)
In short, this album has a few very good songs on it, but is not the masterpiece that should have be...

smpc (2.5)
Frailty, thy name is Warrel Dane...

scissorlocked (2.5)
The beauty that breaks down......


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
June 4th 2010



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

The fan in me wants to give this a 2.5 but the objective reviewer part says that this is probably more like a 3.5 so..... 3.0 it is.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2010



30865 Comments


I think its a 3 and i'm a fan

Summary is spot on though

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

Willie
Moderator
June 4th 2010



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Yeah, I just can't help thinking that they really didn't want to do another Nevermore album yet. Just look at how long it took to release this (five years between albums). They also released solo albums and now Warrel is doing Sanctuary too... five years between albums, solo albums, reforming old bands, this release -- it sounds like they're not as into Nevermore as they used to be.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2010



30865 Comments


Well this does sound like a band making new music simply for the sake of pleasing their fanbase. A lot of the time I don't find the music here bad at all, but its like they're playing with no spark anymore, just going through the motions - which you said

scissorlocked
June 4th 2010



3508 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's a great review Trey!!!I totally agree with you.
The 2nd and the 3rd paragraphs are amazingly summarizing the album.

Digging: John Roberts - Ausio

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2010



18005 Comments


Damn, i was hoping this was going to be good. Oh well. Has way too much Dane and not enough of the rest of the band.

Come to think of it, Miles of Machines was miles ahead of this.

Digging: Autechre - Draft 7.30

Willie
Moderator
June 4th 2010



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Has way too much Dane and not enough of the rest of the band.
He should have made the most of it. He should have come up with some crazy harmonies and layered vocals to fill all of the space, but instead he just kind of blew it.

Asator
June 4th 2010



39 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Good review, damn was really looking forward to this album to.



Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2010



18005 Comments


He should have come up with some crazy harmonies and layered vocals to fill all of the space, but instead he just kind of blew it.


For years Nevermore has been that band who should have been overshadowed by their past albums, such as Dreaming Neon Black, and never were. I guess it was inevitable that this would happen eventually.

Like you said, its not a bad album, it's just...lazy. I didn't like Danes solo at all, and this sounds way, way too much like that album. I blame that Soilwork guy.


multipleofone
June 5th 2010



79 Comments


I agree. There is no sense of urgency in the riffs. They just kind of plod along.

webbtje
June 5th 2010



41 Comments


Spot on, disappointing album. To give them credit where it's due, Termination Proclamation was great live.

Iai
Emeritus
June 5th 2010



3553 Comments


Surprised by the first paragraph here; they pretty much died on Enemies of Reality and never recovered imo. This is the first album by them I'm not even going to bother listening to, This Godless Endeavour made it pretty clear that they were done with as a creative force.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2010



5905 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

STELLAR REVIEW.

This is a 2.5, whether we like it or not (WE DON'T LIKE IT!)

Trey you should be stricter with your rating.

In the Hellenic Metal Hammer this record was nominated as record of the month (the latest issue released in June the 2nd 2010) and received a rating of 9/10.

OMG.......................................................

The ironic part is that the reviewer in the Hellenic MH, while trying to present white as black, gives out the record's flaws without realising it.

The fact is that in Hellas metal fans have a thing with traditional metal and the review presents this record as high quality traditional metal.

Except one significant detail.

Nevermore IS EVERYTHING ELSE BUT traditional metal.-

Digging: The Golden Grass - The Golden Grass

bloc
June 5th 2010



34667 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Trey that 3 is too generous.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

Willie
Moderator
June 5th 2010



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Surprised by the first paragraph here; they pretty much died on Enemies of Reality and never recovered imo. This is the first album by them I'm not even going to bother listening to, This Godless Endeavour made it pretty clear that they were done with as a creative force.
Really? I thought that Enemies… was the album that they started trying to push their sound a bit more after the "safe" Dead Heart… release.

Trey you should be stricter with your rating.
Trey that 3 is too generous.
I think that some of that is the disappointment talking. Try actually listening to this. There are some good songs here, and some decent sections of other songs.
Nevermore IS EVERYTHING ELSE BUT traditional metal.
How do you figure?

Zip
June 5th 2010



5312 Comments


well about half of that art is cool and not the half with the tongue

CrazyFool84
June 5th 2010



1080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice job Trey, couldn't have summed up my thoughts on this one (or where the band started to take a dip for that matter) any better. Can't say I'm not disappointed, but there are some entertaining moments that peak through.

scissorlocked
June 5th 2010



3508 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Willie, I think that Nevermore never really pushed their sound,They just tried different angles of it.This Godless endeavor is maybe the pinacle of their sound ,although their finest moments in terms of songwriting are to be found in older releases like Politics of Ecstacy or Dreaming Neon Black.And Dead heart isn't really a safe album,but one with more coherent songs and "sweet" melodies where they were able to express their lyricism at best without being mellow.



CutMan
June 5th 2010



1766 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Politics of Ecstasy was eh for me. I love Dreaming Neon Black, Dead Heart, and This Godless Endeavor.

This album feels sadly lacking in the firey emotion of their past albums. I hope they don't lose it permanently, like how I feel about Dream Theater.... Not that I'm comparing the two, I just mean that I get a similar "going through the motions" feeling from this release and newer DT.

Digging: Boy Hits Car - All That Led Us Here

Wizard
June 5th 2010



19207 Comments


With few exceptions, the music has been reduced to basic riffs, minimal solos and predictable structures. The primal thrash and quick death metal influences have largely been replaced with standard traditional metal riffs that lack any real punch or identity. This is further exacerbated by the fact that the complex, semi-progressive arrangements have been marginalized in favor of a simple verse/chorus format. Even the opening track (a position traditionally saved for one of the band’s strongest songs) fails to live up to the high standards that Nevermore have set with past albums.

This makes me so very sad.

Nevermore have really done this to themselves by setting such a high standard in the first place. If this album were released by any number of other artists, it would be highly regarded and people would take very little issue with it.

That's a tough call but I see where your coming from on this. I may be the in the minority who don't this with bands in general. I mean, if the music sucks in the first place, who's to say an unknown band who releases it would get a better reception from it? Excellent analysis though, I think I might skip over this in fear that it might taint my views on the band hahahahaha.

Digging: Monarch - Sabbracadaver



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