|Nevermore - 'The Obsidian Conspiracy' (Century Media)|
|Written by David Whistance|
|Monday, 31 May 2010 06:00|
Over the last fifteen years there has been one heavy metal band that has consistently produced flawless albums, never once feeling the need to leave off any guitar solos from their albums because it was in vogue with the nu metal generation or shedding their locks in favour of adding a rap element to their musical repertoire.
This is a band featuring one of the finest heavy metal guitarists in the world today in the shape of Jeff Loomis, along with a rock solid rhythm section courtesy of drummer Van Williams and Jim Sheppard. So, whilst the UK's rock press seem content with raving about the latest so called back on form albums by Metallica and Slayer this cutting edge Seattle band got virtually ignored in favour of bands that have long since lost their momentum.
For anybody in the vicinity who are unaware that I am talking of Nevermore here, let me give you a brief history lesson. Born out of the ashes of the sad demise of Sanctuary, Nevermore were formed by vocalist Warrell Dane and bassist Jim Sheppard, (guitarist Jeff Loomis, featuring in the band's final line up). Releasing six albums of near musical perfection, and featuring the best heavy metal vocalist of his generation, Warrell unlike Samson actually gained strength when he chopped off his infamous waist length locks.
Right here in 2010 Nevermore are finally ready to reveal their latest opus 'The Obsidian Conspiracy' which is the follow up to 2005's 'The Godless Endeavour'. Produced by Peter Wichers the man responsible for Warrell Dane's sublime solo album 'Praises To The War Machine', and mixed by Sabbat guitarist and producer extraordinaire Andy Sneap.
The question I find myself asking is "Can the band create yet another masterwork to surpass their previous offerings?"
From speaking to other Nevermore fans I sense that this album is going to provoke far more 'opinions' than their previous works. Whilst some fans are claiming it to be yet another work of musical genius others claim that they have started to exhaust their musical creativity. So which way does this metal warrior see the band's career heading.
The album opens with 'The Termination Prodamation' a fantastic number immediately proving that the band are still on fire, this track along with the band's first single from the album 'Emptiness Unobstructed' both recreate former glories.
There are moments on the album such as 'Your Poison Throne' that remind me of Warrell Dane's previously mentioned solo offering that illustrate that whilst the band are proud to wear their heavy metal influences on their sleeves, Warrell is as equally unashamed to display his...umm.... more gothic influences such as Bauhaus. 'And The Maiden Spoke' displays yet more of the fantastic fret work of Jeff Loomis, proving yet again why Nevermore are considered to have one of if not the best metal guitarists in their ranks.
For any fans of the band unsure of the musical content of 'The Obsidian Conspiracy' I recommend that they should simply check out the band live, as it's in the live arena where these songs truly shine. After recently witnessing the band play a blinding set during their one-off UK date in Islington, I can honestly say the new material blew me away and proved to me that Nevermore have done it yet again.
The album finishes pretty much as it starts with a classic sounding Nevermore track, the title track of the album, but don't press the stop button on your CD player just yet, as the band tackle two covers as bonus tracks. Thankfully not going down the boring predictable route favoured by many other bands, we get treated to Nevermore's versions of The Doors' 'Crystal Ship' and the more unusual choice of Tea Party's 'Temptation'.
Like many of my favourite albums, 'The Obsidian Conspiracy' took a few listens to hook me in, but thankfully I persisted and boy am I glad I did.
Whether the album matches the works of their former albums I still cannot say right now, but when you raise the bar as high as Nevermore did with such works of art as 'Politics Of Ecstasy', 'Dreaming Neon Black' and 'Dead Heart In A Dead World' then you leave yourself a huge mountain to climb, and thankfully Nevermore are just the band to do it.