Review Summary: Spitting the truth into the engines of hate
Nevermore is one of those bands that I started listening to almost by mistake; I was on the hunt for music from a new band and my search was proving fruitless until I suddenly remembered “that cool 7-string band”, so I looked up Evolution 169, decided that I liked it and bought Dead Heart In A Dead World without either a second thought or much anticipation. When it arrived and I gave it a listen, I was...stunned. Not in a good way. I knew that Nevermore were supposedly heavy, but when the opening riff of Narcosynthesis powered itself out of my stereo, I realized that I was hearing something very different to what I had expected.
To start with, I didn’t like this album very much at all; the aforementioned Narcosynthesis seemed discordant, I hated the crazy vocals in We Disintegrate and The Sound Of Silence was simply noise to me. You may ask what happened to make me enjoy this album. To put it bluntly, I realized that it’s bloody awesome.
This is the first album in which Jeff Loomis employed a 7-string guitar and he does so with devastating effect. The riffs here are so fast, solid and mind-numbingly heavy that the album is not one that you merely listen to; it sweeps you off your feet and through the frantic, devastating Dead World that Nevermore created in this album, taking the listener by storm. This is the first aspect of Nevermore that got me hooked. As well as this, Loomis deploys tasteful shred solos that don’t overdevelop into meaningless wankery like so many prog metal bands nowadays do, which are very much welcome.
The cornerstone of the album, as with all other Nevermore releases, is Warrel Dane’s vocals, which are angry, crazy, tortured and quite possibly unique. They aren’t for everybody and take a while to grow on you, but they do, it adds the crucial element to the band’s sound that gives it most of its identity. This, along with the commendable drumming of Van Williams, was the final barrier between me merely tolerating and totally loving this album.
Now that I appreciate it for what it is, the highlights of Dead Heart In A Dead World are fairly obvious. Opener Narcosyntheis
is a brilliant way to start and contains what is probably the best solo of the album. The emotive The Heart Collector
, an accessible song in which Dane shows off the softer side of his voice, was one of the first songs that grew on me and remains a favourite. We Disintegrate
has some crazy vocal gymnastics in the verse and easily the best chorus on the album, thanks to an incredible rhythm guitar part. Finally, Believe In Nothing
is very accessible and catchy, whilst retaining all the core elements of Nevermore’s sound.
That is not to say that the album is flawless; so many of the songs follow the heavy riff plus aggressive formula that the songs that don’t (namely [B Evolution 169[/b], The Heart Collector
and Believe In Nothing
) all stand out like sore thumbs, since they aren’t grouped together. Some more clean/acoustic work like on Insignificant
and Dead Heart In A Dead World
would have made a real difference to the album. However, the strengths of the album easily overcome these flaws, and I would definitely recommend it to any fan of slightly heavier metal that is willing to try something new.
Not too long, not too short
Brutally heavy at times
More variety would have made a difference
The Sound Of Silence; not bad, but they could have done a better job
Top Five Songs
1. We Disintegrate
3. Believe In Nothing
4. The Heart Collector
5. Engines Of Hate