While many bands in today’s metal scene tend to sacrifice the rawness of their sound in lieu of commercial success and radio play, NEVERMORE seem to be on an opposite trend. The guitars, drums and bass pound on Enemies of Reality like nothing NEVERMORE has ever done before. Though they have never been known for being an especially angry outfit, vocalist, Warrel Dane, channels a previously-unheard amount of aggression and power into his voice, creating a vicious aural assault on tracks such as “Ambivalent.”
The title track kicks off the record and is nothing short of the aural equivalent of a kick to the groin, with riffs so caustic and frantic, they could cause a heart attack. Guitarist Jeff Loomis is in top virtuoso form here, soloing wildly amongst the backdrop of a heavy, rhythmic pulse that is definitely the heaviest and rawest thing NEVERMORE has ever crafted. “Tomorrow Turned into Yesterday” is one exception, with its smooth acoustic work melding quietly and broodingly into the album, not far off from METALLICA‘s glory days.
However, for what the album delivers in intensity, it sometimes sacrifices in originality and songwriting. The band’s previous effort, Dead Heart in a Dead World, was wonderful in every regard, containing the best thrash metal riffs heard anywhere since TESTAMENT‘s Low. It also mixed things up skillfully, with “Believe in Nothing” getting this reviewer’s vote as best power ballad ever written. That being said, it’s only fair to say Dead Heart in a Dead World is a tough act to follow, but the somewhat off-kilter songwriting found in certain sections of the disc (see “Seed Awakening” and “Noumenon“) make it a tad inaccessible, despite its frequent killer moments. The occasional problem here is you could swear you’ve heard some of this before.
Regardless, NEVERMORE have stayed true to their game, with edgy metal for serious metalheads. All others need not apply. (Century Media)