Warrel Dane - _Praises to the War Machine_
(Century Media, 2008)
by: Jackie Smit (6 out of 10)
When you're the proud owner of a set of pipes as capable of uttering the distinctive caterwauling that Warrel Dane has delivered across several Nevermore records, then you'd best be sure to steer well clear of anything remotely related to your day-job if you're planning on going into business for yourself. Unless of course, you're happy being labelled -- as you would in Dane's case -- Nevermore Lite, Diet Nevermore or any other variation of a rather obvious analogy.

This could almost certainly not have been lost on our Warrel, particularly given the rumours of influences as disparate as pop music and soft rock slithering on to his inaugural solo outing when news of said project first surfaced. Exactly at which point he decided to slam on the brakes, creatively speaking, is anyone's guess. But for all of Dane's notions to depart from the technically flashy sonic territory inhabited with such class by his primary musical concern, _Praises to the Warmachine_ comes off sounding remarkably insipid. Make no mistake -- it has its share of good tunes. "When We Pray" and "Messenger" both possess monster choruses that bury their tentacles deep in the subconscious and will undoubtedly be as hard to shake as a bad case of the crabs. The emotive acoustic balladry of "Feel Failure", meanwhile, is a brave and ultimately victorious stab at stepping out of Nevermore's shadow.

The real problem here is Warrel's backing band. Comprised in part of Soilwork's Dirk Verbeuren and his former bandmate, Peter Wichers, these lads possess neither the chops nor the nous as songwriters to keep up with Dane's always magnificent voice, leaving us with a collection of songs that more often than not seem to drift by without making any real sort of impact. Add to that a hideously miscalculated cover of Sisters of Mercy's "Lucretia", and this effort is hardly playing the same sport, let alone occupying the same ballpark as _This Godless Endeavour_.

Contact: http://www.warreldane.com

(article published 13/4/2008)

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