Nevermore - _Dead Heart in a Dead World_
(Century Media, 2000)
by: Matthias Noll (
In times when one might get the impression that parodies of all the things annoying and cheesy in metal have replaced the real thing (HammerFall and the current true power metal fad), my admiration for Nevermore grows and grows. This band is one of the very few that manage to remain metal through and through, have the skill to merge old and new without getting trendy, fuse heaviness and melody, play on the highest technical level yet always remember that the result has to be a song. _Dead Heart in a Dead World_ sees Warrel Dane and co. combining the dark and progressive style of their brilliant 1999 effort _Dreaming Neon Black_, straighten it up a little bit and add some slower, darker and more melodic numbers. The production work by Andy Sneap is simply fantastic, giving every instrument the room it deserves without compromising the relentlessly heavy guitar sound. Speaking of the guitar work, I have to say that Jeff Loomis must be one of the most underrated guitarists of the last ten years. His solo work is simply breathtaking and the riffs this guy is able to come up with can't get enough praise for their brilliance. Vocalist Warrel Dane might be a love it or hate it affair with his clear and somewhat unusual voice and vocal lines, but even if you dislike his style he definitely knows how to bring across emotion and dedication. Occasionally he still uses the high pitch like on the two highly recommended Sanctuary records, _Refugee Denied_ and _Into the Mirror Black_, but never throughout a whole song, only in places where it truly does make sense. It's very difficult to name highlights as there is no weak spot on _Dead Heart in a Dead World_. If you want to get an impression before buying this CD, which I definitely advise you to do, then check out the crushing opener "Narcosynthesis", the melodic "The Heart Collector" or the Simon and Garfunkel cover version "The Sound of Silence". Before the mere existence of the latter puts you off: this is -not- a ballad anymore -- Nevermore made it one of the heaviest and thrashiest songs on the album and the degree to which they made it their own song is exactly the way I like covers to be done. In my opinion, this is the best metal album of the year, all subgenres left aside, and even though I doubt it, I hope one day this band will get all the recognition it deserves.
(article published 11/20/2000)
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