Nevermore - _Enemies of Reality_
(Century Media, 2003)
by: Jackie Smit (
Two and a half years separate _Enemies of Reality_ and its predecessor, the brilliant, if somewhat flawed, _Dead Heart in a Dead World_. In that time, a lot has changed in the world of heavy music. Bands like Korn no longer unload units in the ludicrous numbers they once did, older bands like Metallica and Anthrax are once again making headlines, and the metal world in general, it seems, is craving something different. And if _Enemies of Reality_ is anything to go by, then they need search no further than Seattle's Nevermore. Retaining the traditional values of heavy metal while staying unpredictable and sounding fresh would be no easy feat for any act to accomplish, but it is one that Nevermore achieves with an almost intimidating level of ease. Opening with a statement of intent in the form of the record's title track, one is immediately struck by the album's rawer and less polished sound -- provided courtesy of Queensryche / Dokken producer Kelly Gray. Not only does this bolster the band's brutality -- at times taking them to near death metal heights of heaviness -- but, more essentially, it serves to highlight and underline vocalist Warrel Dane's melodic swells with greater clarity than ever before. In further contrast to previous efforts, _Enemies of Reality_ presents a far more measured, well-rounded and well-structured album, every track moulded and shaped to perfection, stripped of any excess filler. Nevermore's succinct approach is made all the more effective by their incredible knack for balancing melody and heaviness -- a prowess they demonstrate with particularly breathtaking skill on "Ambivalent" and "Never Purify". Simply stated, the more I listen to this record, the more deserving of encomia it becomes. Essential in every sense of the word, it is one of a select few efforts to literally contain absolutely no discernable flaws, and possibly the most exciting prospect it creates lies in how Nevermore will go about creating a worthy sequel.
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