When Nevermore pull all their pieces together, they can create exhilarating metal. But their high levels of ambition on The Politics Of Ecstasy also result in glorious failures that blemish the experience somewhat.
The Seven Tongues Of God is a spectacular opener for the Seattle band's second album, announcing the band's uncompromising complexity, power, speed, accuracy and technical mastery. With its unstoppable tractor sound churning up the landscape, This Sacrament stands proudly among the best metal songs ever written. And the title track starts out as an ugly tune that can only be loved by its mother; by the time it finishes, The Politics Of Ecstasy has pummeled its way to the front of the line of barely flawed metal epics.
On the other end of the scale are tracks like Next In Line and Lost, which are pale and aimless in comparison with Nevermore at their best. And The Learning is long, complex, over-ambitious, and just too sprawling to work effectively.
With his work on lead guitar, Jeff Loomis establishes himself at the forefront of metal guitar masters, certainly in the 1990's. With Pat O'Brien in support, the Nevermore guitar sound is layered, rich, and alternating between emotional anguish, joyful brilliance,machine gun speed and laser accuracy.
Warrel Dane's unique vocals define Nevermore's sound, and he manages to teeter on the edge of theatrical overkill for the entire length of the album. Jim Sheppard on bass and Van Williams on drums create the industrial strength undercarriage that propels the Nevermore sound over all terrain types.
The Politics Of Ecstasy is far from perfect, but it is never less than interesting.
Warrel Dane - Vocals
Jim Sheppard - Bass
Jeff Loomis - Guitars
Pat O'Brien - Guitars
Van Williams - Drums
Songlist (ratings out of 10):
1. The Seven Tongues Of God - 10
2. This Sacrament - 10
3. Next In Line - 6
4. Passenger - 8
5. The Politics Of Ecstasy - 9
6. Lost - 6
7. The Tiananmen Man - 8
8. Precognition - n/a (short instrumental)
9. 42147 - 7
10. The Learning - 7
Produced, Recorded and Mixed by Neil Hernon.
Mastered by Joe Gastwirt.
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