This album absolutely blows me away. No doubt you've seen pretty much all the metal press treating this album like the second coming. I, probably like many of you had a degree of skepticism, especially as the last Nevermore album (remix not included) was such a disaster (for me, anyway. But surely any album that gains a perfect 10 from Terrorizer (when was the last time that happened for a new release, not a reissue?), as well as top marks from all other mags and websites, must be worth a look? I infact was quite excited by it, because disasterous production considered, I could tell there was a decent album under all the rubbish on Enemies of Reality. However it exceeded my hopes by a million miles. Before listening I had just read Mikael Akerfeldt talking in Terrorizer about how the "Metal scene was worthless". That comment shocked me a bit, but also rung fairly true, at least to a point. As soon as the first chorus of opener "Born" came and went, I remember thinking to myself, "he obviously hasn't heard this album then." The production on this album is, as I had hoped, a triumph, being both clean and clear, but also oppresive and heavy. Andy Sneap gets some criticism for his work with bands like Arch Enemy, but here he excels. Warrel Danes vocals benefit from this new found clarity, as well as being given a much more appropriate level in the mix. I thought nothing could top the performance of Messiah Marcolin on the new Candlemass album this year, but this has pipped it to the post for 2005s best vocals. His range is staggering, and dramatic, almost theatrical. And for this, I salute him! The musicianship took me by suprise here. The guitaring is the best I've head on a metal album probably since the last but one Dream Theater album. It outdoes in my opinion anything Arch Enemy are doing, and all these so called metal revivalist bands "Trivium, I'm looking at you" are totally destroyed here. Riffs and solos abound, the skill is quite something. The soloing is very Petrucci-ish, to reference Dream Theater once more. But the main triumph of this triumphant album, is the songwriting. Rarely does a metal album keep you gripped all the way through without drastically changing direction every song (a disadvantage all thrash metal bands have, working within pretty tight guidelines). But "This Godless Endeavour" boasts some of the best and mature songwriting this side of an Opeth album, while maintaining a wholesome old school metal vibe throughout. All 11 tracks are worthy listens alone, and stuck together make up the best metal album of 2005 so far. And a special mention goes out to "Sentient 6". Rarely does the "ballad" become my favourite track on an album, but this song, about a robot lamenting that he will never reach heaven is unbelievably moving for a metal track about a robot. When Sentient 6 tells us he "longs to be more than a machine" I nearly cried.
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