on 9 June 2010
A solid effort but, as some here have already pointed out, not their best. Saying that, when Nevermore are not hitting their average, they are still miles ahead of the competition. It is not the almost classic that 'This Godless Endeavour' was and does not even touch 'The Politics of Ecstasy' (my personal choice for the top of the Nevermore hall of fame) or indeed 'Dead Heart...' (which is a very close second). It nestles safely somewhere between 'Dreaming Neon Black' and 'Enemies...' in terms of tone and quality.
There does seem to be a concerted effort to make the tracks more accessible and as a result it comes across as their least heaviest collection. This is no means a bad thing as most of the tracks are absolute corkers!
'The Termination Proclamation' and 'Poison Throne' are 4 star, riff-tangled bread and butter Nevermore and are great without being particularly outstanding. It is with the following 3 tracks that the true meat of the feast is wheeled out. 'Moonrise', 'And the Maiden Spoke' and 'Emptiness Unobstructed' are all utter classics and by far the best tracks on the album. It is difficult to pick a favourite between them as they are all equally as good as well as being very different arrangements.
'The Blue Marble & the New Soul' is not just a mouthful of a track but a bit dawdling and boring. Warrell Dane's influence as a solo artist is definitely seen here, as well as on 'She Comes in Colours' which is similar, slightly better but missing something - not sure what, passion I suppose, possibly a better, less plodding tune?
'Without Morals' is a belter and only just misses out on instant classic status, but it is one of the better tracks. As is 'The Day they Built the Wall' which can plod at times but hits all the right notes. Not perfect but not bad. The title track is a great Nevermore closer, kind of similar to 'Seed Awakening' but (yes you guessed it) not as good. The 2 covers at the end are not really Nevermore at all and not very good.
Overall it is a very good album and a good place to start if you are new to Nevermore as it is accessible and full of great songs. But if you want classic, it has to 'Politics', Dead...' or 'Godless...'
Also the packaging and extra bumff is all top notch for the price.
on 31 May 2010
I've been a massive Nevermore fan for 7 years now, and consider Warrel to have one of the top 3 best (if not THE best) voices in metal, a perfect blend of singing and aggression, and Jeff Loomis to be in the top 3 (if not THE best) guitarist in metal so I thought I'd review their latest album in an unbiased and objective way, in the hope that it will help others decide whether its' worth their cash.
This is a track by track review for Nevermore's new album The Obsidian onspiracy.
Track 1: The Termination Proclamation 8/10
Starts with quite a technical fast riff, turns into a typically dark melodic style chorus, nice guitar work from Jeff Loomis, took a while to grow on me but I quite like it now, not as immediate or as orally assaulting as "Born" from "This Godless Endeavour" but it is solid stuff.
Track 2: Your Poison Throne 6/10
Not sure on this one, it doesn't seem to fit on the album, if it had been on Warrel Dane's solo album "Praises To The War Machine" then I'd have quite liked it, its the "Rise" vocals and the riffs don't sound like Jeff Loomis' usual stuff, I don't think its' horrible it just doesn't fit with anything they've ever done before. They tried something different and it didn't really work in my view.
Track 3: Moonrise (Through Mirrors Of Death) 10/10
My favourite song on the album, very dark, complex, perfect Nevermore, could have gone on "This Godless Endeavour" and that's saying something considering how much I LOVE that album, this track is faultless stuff in my opinion.
Track 4: And The Maiden Spoke 10/10
Starts off quite power metal, turns into a dark and changeable song, with a few different sections, quite a complex main riff, my personal second favourite, again perfect "This Godless Endeavour" material.
Track 5: Emptiness Unobstructed 9/10
The one power ballad Nevermore usually have on an album, this is obviously a song a video would be made for, as their power ballads go it's very solid stuff, I really like it, very well sung and catchy chorus, long time fans would hopefully appreciate that its' everything a Nevermore power ballad should be, powerful, emotional and it sticks in your head for sure!
Track 6: The Blue Marble And The New Soul 9/10
One of my favourites, at first I didn't like it, the vocals are very much in the vein of their earlier work (as far back as their first album), its' very emotional judging by the way Warrel sings it, I LOVE it now, it just struck me as unexpected, may, or may not, take a bit of getting used to due to the vocals, musically its' slow, brooding and builds up into an epic last chorus, possibly my favourite moment on the album (I wish it lasted a little longer).
Track 7: Without Morals 9/10
A very good song, definitely Dead Heart In A Dead World material, quite a catchy chorus, always been one of my favourites, its' also the lead track from the album and rightfully so.
Track 8: The Day You Built The Wall 6/10
Not one of my favourites, the other track I just can't get into, its' got a driving chugging riff, but apart from that, I couldnt find any other vocal or riff hooks at all, another one that would have fit better on Warrel Dane's solo album.
Track 9: She Comes In Colours 9/10
One of my favourites, the first song I ever heard from the album, its' got several different sections, I like that aspect of the song, others might not, some may think the song has been thrown together and doesn't fit together, starts off like a power ballad and goes very dark then thrashy, another one that could have gone on "This Godless Endeavour".
Track 10: The Obsidian Conspiracy 9/10
The title track, the vocals for me don't seem to quite fit, however, in my opinion, this is nearly all made up for by the riffs, which are technical, and sound like something off the "Enemies Of Reality" album, very good album closer.
A very solid album overall, hopefully their next album will be one with the best bits of this album (of which I think there are quite a few) mixed with the technicality of "This Godless Endeavour". It is a more vocal based album overall, the solos and riffs are not as technical as "This Godless Endeavour", I've found that all Nevermore albums sound slightly different than the last one in terms of their musical direction, not a totally wrong move by the band at all, but not their best work (which is not a surprise considering "This Godless Endeavour" and "Dead Heart In A Dead World" are in their discography), they are my 2 favourite Nevermore albums, its very good mostly and consistent, just not unbelieveable.
Final score: 8/10
on 24 November 2010
Although usually rather listening to all kinds of Progressive stuff, I really have become a big Nevermore supporter over the years. I appreciate very much that in the middle of the 1990s they created something new, their own style. Their sound is unique and so is the voice of Warrel Dane. But there is something strange about Nevermore: A good album is alomost inevitably followed by a weaker one. Evidence? "The Politics of ecstasy" very good, "Dreaming neon black" just average, "Dead heart in a dead world" great (maybe the best album including the song which drew my attention to Nevermore: "We disintegrate"), "Enemies of reality" with only a few good songs, "This goodless endeavour" fantastic (with a 9 minute masterpiece completing the album; "Born" and "Final product" also highly recommended) and now "The Obsidian conspiracy" which again is not able to reach the level of its predecessor.
Don't get me wrong: As some reviewers have already mentioned, you get a good album with the typical Nevermore stuff. But exactly this is where the problem lies and that is the reason why I only mark the album with three and not four stars. In this album I can see no progress. I would describe it as a mixture of "Enemies of reality" and "This godless endeavor". Some Jeff Loomis riffs sound too familiar (e.g. in "Termination Proclamation", "Moonrise", "Without morals" - although this song contains a great chorus - and "The Obsidian conspiracy"). Obviously, even in the five years since their latest release Nevermore have not been able to generate many new ideas. Therefore, I like those songs most who at least are able to provide something new to the listener. There is for example "And the maiden spoke" which combines the typical Jeff Loomis guitar riffing with a weird drum rhythm and a bone-chilling chorus. Or "Emptiness unobstructed" that goes straight into your head; I dearly love this song!!! The only song that I despise (this is a strong word, I know) is "The day you built the wall". Odd time signatures (7/8 and 6/8) all very well, but Nevermore have never really been a Progressive Metal band (although sometimes trying odd time signatures, longer instrumental passages and extended song lengths) and they really should bethink of their strengths and leave the Progressive field to bands like Dream Theater, Symphony X, Circus Maximus and Transatlantic who are better qualified to play this kind of music. It comes as no surprise that "The day you built the wall" sounds very raw and not very balanced, as if they had played the song with hammers (especially the verse). "She comes in colors", by contrast, is again very good: dragging rhythm in the verse, catchy chorus.
As a résumé: For a first access to this album, I recommend "Moonrise", "Emptiness unobstructed" and "She comes in colors". For those who have not listened to Nevermore so far: This album might make it easy for them to get started and they get a really good album. But it definitely is not what Nevermore fans had expected after waiting five years!
on 30 May 2010
Nevermore return in 2010 with "The Obsidian conspiracy" a five year gap between their last undisputed prog/thrash classic "This godless endeavor" Which undoubtedly, has been a long but very exciting wait, a wait to see if the band can continue to wow us with their unique brand of dark gloomy metal. On both occasions- a first listen and multiple listens the same conclusion yields. A distinct feeling that Nevermore have produced a piece of work that does seem a little weak for a timescale of the band being away for five years, not to mention the bands history of their such great back catalogue albums, including "The politics of ecstasy, Dead heart in a dead world and their last great outing "This godless endeavor" in 2005. Though in comparative terms that does seem the case but taken on it's own "The obsidian conspiracy" is a very enjoyable Nevermore release featuring many new solid compositions.
The album kicks of with "The termination proclamation" A typical but by no means straight forward Nevermore creation, the song is classic Nevermore in both the sound and the songwriting and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Unfortunately however, next up is "Your poison throne" which succeeds in disappointing the listener with it's predicable and uninspired twists and turns and a very irritating chorus, (featuring a chant of RISE-very creative!) fortunately however this small and brief dip in form is quickly expelled and outclassed by the trashy and riff-haden "Moonrise" The song is simply a winner, with its dual heavy riffing, a confirmation of Loomis's supreme raw guitaring skills and - a real treat for headbangers. Without a doubt "Moonrise" represents some of the best slices of the album, then onwards into "And the maiden spoke" show Nevermore at their most thrashy and that GUITAR sound is to die for!!! The chorus is particularly strong and confirms this as a great track - an unmissable one at that. And as usual Warren dane's unique vocals provide a good decent enough effort to ensure the vocals actually compliment the music rather than just provide an addition.
"Emptiness unobstructed" - a near Nevermore ballad leers slightly towards commercialism, openly lacking the usual Nevermore technicality and possessing a really accessible mid section, A good effort from the band never-the-less but the song is definitely is more uplifting than the rest here, it seems a bit of an oddity. The follow up song is much better "The blue marble and new soul" which is an excellent dark, gloomy and haunting song, featuring a beautiful but at the same time a harsh and dark sound featuring another great solo from Loomis once again! "Without morals" Brings the album back to familiar heavy territories featuring a great background riff and "The day you built the wall" is a truly fantastic song and very haunting once again, it's a very interesting and different song especially with that unexpected sledge hammer riff - that certainly does knock down the wall down you just built!! Easily a five star song, it's been a song I have been visiting quite often over my three or four whole spins of conspiracy.
The acoustic sound of "She comes in colours" represents an another accessible piece though just as you are thinking - ("This is too quiet for my liking") another winner of a riff hits you over the head with a mallet, (Quite literally!!) Songwriting wise it's really not that great but the heaviness just makes it. Finally with three songs to go Track 10 comes-in in the form of the title track "The Obsidian Conspiracy" and is easily one of if not the best song here. It features some highly technical and dense prowess from Loomis Unfortunately for them that solo at the start between 0:10 -0:20 sounds too much like the opener of "Children of bodom's - Needled 24/7" for my liking (Check it out!) So, cutting the guys a little bit of slack, The title track then is a really enjoyable four minutes and shows just what they are capable of. "Temptation" shows the band experimenting with some middle eastern music elements, and a very strange middle section. "Crystal ship" finishes the album on a high note and confirms this as a really good album.
The album as you would expect is dark and hardly uplifting- In the vein of "This godless endeavor" particularly lyrically. But overall; however, I don't think it's as heavy, as technical or been as experimental previous albums. "The obsidian conspiracy" is a more melodic, catchy and straight forward affair for Nevermore, especially in the choruses in many of these selections, but it's certainly not a sellout by any means - far from it. I think it's fair to say the band have done the tried and tested formulae on "This godless endeavor" to death and I think the boys just wanted to be a little more experimental, nothing wrong with that. And i also think that some of the songs here are if sometimes a little unexpected are overall very strong, Only "Your poison throne" and "Emptiness unobstructed" could be identified as the album's throwaways, letting the side down. But the rest are all uniform and stand mighty tall. This gives "The obsidian conspiracy" a recommended rating of 4 stars and an essential purchase (Of course) to fans of the band.
The special edition comes in an open top Digi-box with 12 postcards and a bonus CD with guitar video's with Loomis and a guitar play-along session, a worthwhile extra indeed if you play the guitar! Ultimately "The obsidian conspiracy" Is a good, if not great album despite a few obvious flaws, but if someone was to ask me in comparison with "Dead heart" and "This godless endeavor" Did i think that "conspiracy" was better?, the answer would be a solid NO. But as the saying goes- A solid album is a solid album and that is better than a bad one, and fans I think should be happy with that!.... 7.5/10