Wednesday, 5 October 2011

CD Review: This Godless Endeavor, by Nevermore (2005)


A strong album with peaks of brilliance only slightly diluted by a few shallow valleys of blandness, This Godless Endeavor continues Nevermore's quest for an intellectually unique metal sound that accepts no shortcuts.  In the same way that the kid on the cover of the CD may either be an instigator of the mayhem behind him or a victim of the carnage, Nevermore refuse to adhere to any predefined categorizations, preferring instead to mash together power and progressive elements with most but not all of the tracks underpinned by terrific melodies.

The band stands on the two pillars of Warrel Dane's showman vocals and Jeff Loomis' masterful guitar, and This Godless Endeavor works best when the two complement each other rather than competing for attention. They strike the sweetest spot on two tracks: opener Born and the closing title track. Born takes-off with minimal run-up, the drums of Van Williams atomizing the path for Dane's gallant "born, we are the same, within the silence, indifference by thy name" chorus, Loomis riffing away at supersonic speeds.

This Godless Endeavor is a grand, nine minute epic, Nevermore pulling off that rare feat of holding a long track together for its entire length. It is a ridiculously powerful surge of electricity that just keeps on building voltage until the 6:30 mark, when Loomis unleashes an arpeggio solo sequence that, by its sheer presence, demands that the world stop rotating. By the time he is done 65 seconds later, it does not matter whether humanity is godless or not: what matters is that Loomis is a metal god.

Adding to the strength of the album are four excellent supporting tracks. Final Product is conventionally solid, My Acid Words is among the more arresting song with continuous sharp changes in direction, Sentient 6 is robotically chilling, and Sell My Heart For Stones delivers grinding force in first gear.

Less successful is Medicated Nation, which sounds like malfunctioning machinery, and The Psalm Of Lydia which searches up and down the gearbox and finds only neutrals.

Along with The Politics Of Ecstasy (1996), This Godless Endeavor represents Nevermore's finest music: thoughtful, challenging and sometimes just pure thrilling.


Band:

Jim Sheppard - Bass
Jeff Loomis - Guitars
Warrel Dane - Vocals
Steve Smyth - Guitars
Van Williams - Drums


Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Born - 10
2. Final Product - 8
3. My Acid Words - 8
4. Bittersweet Feast - 7
5. Sentient 6 - 8
6. Medicated Nation - 6
7. The Holocaust Of Thought - n/a (short instrumental)
8. Sell My Heart For Stones - 8
9. The Psalm Of Lydia - 6
10. A Future Of Uncertain - 7
11. This Godless Endeavor - 10

Average: 7.80

Produced, Engineered, Mixed and Mastered by Andy Sneap.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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