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Nevermore Enemies of Reality

By Eden Capwell, Contributor
Friday, August 29, 2003 @ 11:48 PM

(Century Media)

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This band has yet to create a bad release. They define metal, yet defy labeling. Call them what you will, power-thrash, progressive. Love them or hate them, you’ve gotta respect them. Simply put, it’s the excellent musicianship that makes this band the metal machine they are. Which in part, is what makes this such a tight, focused, cohesive recording. While Warrel Dane himself said prior to recording: “It’s time for Nevermore to get as vicious as possible,” an unexpected outcome has been the result. This is their most accessible, catchy, infinitely memorable recording to date. And the buzz surrounding the band has been ever escalating, to insane proportions. It seems this is the “in” band to be all over like a cheap T-shirt. While it started with Politics of Ecstasy, and hit a high point with Dead Heart in a Dead World -- Enemies of Reality is the combination of those two releases. Enemies has humongous menacing balls, and is most certainly a high point as to what the band can do.

Warrel Dane has recorded his most restrained, yet uncompromising, vocal delivery to date. Simply outstanding. Highs are not as high, the lows are not as deep. Smooth as silk, highly emotive, genuine, heartfelt, and beautiful. I could argue it’s his best to date, but I cannot discount the power of Dreaming Neon Black. Jim Sheppard can be heard distinctly -- you finally get to hear all the tricky rumblings he’s been doing all these years. As per usual, “Vanimal” earns his nickname with tight, expressive, open (listen to the center section of “Create the Infinite”) drumming. He shows incredible balance when adding his tracks, but shows the master he is, particularly on “I, Voyager.” Loomis is a bit more restrained than on any other release thus far. His leads and rhythm work have such purpose. With authority he lays them down, one after another, but carefully, spaciously. His solo’s aren’t because he can, they are because they fit. The same applies for this recording as a whole. Lyrically there is a pervasive theme, woven throughout the whole disc. There are hidden whisperings, only heard with headphones, waiting to be discovered. Thematic ideas of reality, truth, and who the enemies really are, interlaced in all the songs. The puzzle is there for you if you want to delve into it. Truth is always subjective given ones personal experiences, so I’ll refrain from going to far into the lyrics (I just did though). A little mystery with your metal if you want it, if not, you’ve got the rest of the music to enjoy.

Each song stands alone, but with they all tie together nicely.

1) “Enemies of Reality” -- Slow, menacing fade-in starts this bastard child off. Sweet solo, excellent breakdown after that. Catchy chorus, “Open wide and eat the worms of the enemy…” And we all know that worms only eat dead shit. Enunciated as only Warrel Dane does.

2) “Ambivalent” -- Head swirling guitar intro. Headphones reveal the hidden whisperings, and vocal punctuations that I mentioned. So sinister with the guitar leads that create this spectacular groove lying under the solo. My pick of best song on the album - pure Nevermore magic. And a word about their CD release party. They played a total of 5 cuts from this album live, and this song was my favorite.

3) “Never Purify” -- Track two merges right into “Never Purify” with no mercy. Vocal delivery is quite powerful, and restrained for this singer. Loomis creates another one of his free for all solo’s, while Vans drum fills are outstanding.

4) “Tomorrow Turned into Yesterday” -- Particularly emotional and reflective song. Smooth vocals. Exquisite slower tempo song from Nevermore - while retaining the power and balls of any of their works.

5) “I, Voyager” -- Ever had a menace to society type dog put his whole mouth around your head? And bite down hard? Warning and threatening you to get the fuck off his street? I have. And this song is just like that messed up Doberman that tried to palm my head like a basketball! Van is just a psycho freak on this song, and Loomis and Sheppard take turns bashing this song around, morphing it constantly. 6) “Create the Infinite” -- Another song like “Ambivalent” that takes a life of it’s own on at the two minute mark. Hidden whisperings, open drumming, understated rhythm guitar work. Sophisticated.

7) “Who Decides” -- Extended intro with the guitar slowly fading in. Highly reminiscent of “Chances Three” to my ears - although the whole band is involved in this one. Delicate and beautiful guitars, vocals, with the punctuation marks put on by the rhythm section.

Your track listing may be reversed like mine. If you care, either of these songs may be out of order, but this is how my disc is:

8) “Noumenon” -- Psychotically mesmerizing with a powerful moral/societal message. Sitar sounding guitars complement this song in its intro and fade out. Truly a beautiful song.

9) “Seed Awakening” -- Fast tempo song, and you’ve probably not heard Nevermore like this before.

There are production/mixing issues with this recording. I can’t lie about that. The only way I can describe it is as a shroud, that’s muffling it to some extent. There is little clarity. It’s very dense, leaving the listener to strain to hear some parts of it. Drums are blunted--for example the bass and cymbals. The vocals aren’t as clean as they have been on previous recordings. Significant distortion. Guitars may come in to loud at some points, sounding stifled overall. But, the only advice I have if you feel like I did, is to take the disc and put it on every set of headphones you have, and all other stereo’s that you can get a hold of. Use your EQ, dial it in the way you like it -- you may need to tweak this one to suit your taste. I can tell you the music is there, though. It’s a diamond in the rough that you may need to polish up to get the optimal sound out of. I had this one in four different stereos and two sets of headphones, trying to find the sweet spot. I find this to be a solid, strong recording, with excellent as usual, song writing. However, I can’t put a higher rating on it, although I really would like to. The two-dimensional flatness squashes the sound.

Music: * * * *

Production/mixing: *

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