Nevermore is quite an interesting band. Formed around 1992, the band has recorded six albums, with many of them being very well received. Albums such as Dreaming Neon Black, Politics of Ecstasy, and This Godless Endeavor, have all been met with very positive reviews. But despite those albums being very good (my favourite would be This Godless Endeavor), the Nevermore album that first got me into the band was 2000's Dead Heart in a Dead World. With this full length release, Nevermore's fourth, the band experimented with only one guitarist (Jeff Loomis of course). To make up for the lack of an axe partner, Jeff picked up a seven stringer for extra heaviness. Quite an important part of the album I must say, but I'll look into that later.
Dead Heart in a Dead World is a very strong effort. As I mentioned earlier, Nevermore has been a very consistent band, and this album does nothing to change that. With face melting solos, crushing riffs, and pounding drums, this Seattle based metal band would bring a tear of joy to the eyes of any metal purist disgruntled with the NWOAHM. The opening track, Narcosynthesis, is a very good example of the sound found on the album. Both the album and the song features a very heavy, and at the same time, deep sound. This is where the seven stringer helps define the sound. At times, the album sounds very somber, while at other times it has a furious aggression. In a way they remind me of another American metal band, Iced Earth. Both bands maintain a melancholic element in their music, which is very effective. Musically is where Dead Heart in a Dead World excels the most, with songs like Narcosynthesis and Inside Four Walls Being particularly effective.
Vocally, this band again compares to Iced Earth. Nevermore's singer, Warrel Dane really reminds me of the ever so popular ex-vocalist Matt Barlow. While they do not really sound alike upon first listens, they both have a melancholic vocal style that fits both bands' music very well. Dane generally spends time singing in a lower range, and has a very effective technique. Though again, similarly to Barlow, Warrel's vocals are not always fun to listen to. At times, the low pitch he uses can be quite depressing to listen to, especially as you get farther into the album. That is really my only complaint with the album, or even Nevermore in general. Perhaps my favourite performance of the album is in the opening track. It's in Narcosynthesis where Warrel's vocals are at their catchiest, especially during the pre-chorus. Good stuff. Anyways, he still does quite a good job for what he's trying to accomplish, and I feel that it is a vital part of the album's sound.
Lyrically, Nevermore's themes match up both the instrumental aspect of the album and the vocals. Lyrically, the band is not very hard to figure out. Just a casual glance at the album's title can tell you that. Like many of Nevermore's lyrics, the writings on Dead Heart in a Dead World are very bleak. Much of the album is spent commenting on the negative aspects of the world. One song with a message that is particularly effective is that of Inside Four Walls. It is here that Warrel Dane angrily blasts the government, and its judicial policies. Nevermore's lyrics are not really all that fun. They're angry, hostile, sombre and tortured. But they do offer up a different point of view, and this can get fairly interesting at times.
Nevermore's 2000 effort, Dead Heart in a Dead World, was not my first album from the Seattle band. But along with This Godless Endeavor, the album is definitely one of my favourites. What makes Nevermore's fourth full length release stand out the most is by far the solid, heavy riffing and well constructed guitar solos from Jeff Loomis. The aggressive sound is also very effective and another selling point of the band's sound. Once again, Nevermore delivers with a very consistent album. Dead Heart in a Dead World is definitely an excellent album for new listeners of the band to get into, especially fans of deep, melancholic music.
Inside Four Walls
Engines of Hate