I have become overwhelmed, entranced if you will by the musical wizardry created in This Godless Endeavor
. Melancholic, dramatic, and poetic dark lyrics recreate the vivid emotional nightmares of vocalist Warrel Dane's hardships through his life. By no means does the music overshadow that, and by no means do the lyrics overshadow the music. This is what amazes me by this album. From start to finish Dane makes you feel his anguish while guitarists Jeff Loomis and Steve Smyth, bassist Jim Sheppard and drummer Van Williams provide a dark, dazzling soundtrack to Dane's musings.
I will use the word "melancholic" a lot throughout this review due to the fact that this is the impression the music gives me, overall. Dane's vocals have always reminded me of a melodramatic Shakespearean moan. It takes some getting used to, but like James LaBrie to Dream Theater
, it fits. Nevermore is one of the few metal bands these days who can really use clean singing to their advantage. Sure, they can be like every other band coming out these days and growl throughout the music, but you can't really FEEL what the singer is saying. As I listen through this album, I can really get a sense of the emotion in Dane's vocals.
From the get-go, I must say Loomis has got to be one of the most gifted songwriters I have heard. To be able to shred throughout songs but still keep the focus on the music is amazing. Williams' drumming is versatile and mind-bending and Sheppard's bass playing keeps the rhythm section flowing naturally, though he doesn't stand out as much as the other musicians.
Predictability is never a factor here. It seems that each song will leave your jaw dropped. As far as technicality goes, the band is top-notch. They just also happen to be great songwriters. Loomis and Smyth also make a wonderful guitar duo, and the opening track, Born
, makes that known. Smyth is an excellent addition to the band. I shudder to think the damage the two could have done on albums such as [i]Dreaming Neon Black[/b].
Woe, irony, hatred, passion, confusion, frustration, discontent, depression...all are emotions that Dane displays in his lyrics. Final Product
, the album's leadoff single, is a song describing Dane's hatred with the hypocritical, immoral media. What an attack it is. The brilliance of Dane is he does not make many of his issues obvious in the lyrics. Anyone can write "I hate the media, I hate Bush, I hate Republicans, Die Die Die" and use it as a lyric for a political song, but rather take the easy route, Dane is brilliantly poetic, and strangely the music is too.
Back to my drooling over Loomis and Smyth. The fluid, versatile musicianship these two display is so refreshing to hear. Through songs like Psalm of Lydia
and My Acid Words
the duo creates vivid riffs and trade-off leads like it's nothing. The clean guitarwork in songs such as Sentient 6
and A Future Uncertain
make this a refreshing listen. Not a bad song on the album.
This Godless Endeavor
seems like the perfect way to end this album. Like every song on this album, the title track leaves you begging for more. Rarely does an album make repeated listens mandatory for me, but This Godless Endeavor
certainly has. All hail Loomis, Smyth, Dane, Williams and Sheppard!
This Godless Endeavor
Psalm of Lydia