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It's amazing that such raw emotion and depth can be contained in the one disc. It seems so calm and tame until you put it in your CD player and then get pummeled in the face by Beyond Within.
From start to finish this album features plenty of great riffs, plenty of great solos, and plenty of amazing songwriting skills. This is probably Nevermore's most diverse album. The slow songs are REALLY slow, and the fast songs have a LOT of thrash riffs. The riffs on Beyond Within and Poison Godmachine remind me (tone wise and writing wise) of something that could have come straight from the era of Bonded By Blood and Reign In Blood. I wouldn't say they're of equal quality, but they're certainly similar sounding. Dreaming Neon Black doesn't sound very identical to the riffs you'll find on This Godless Endeavor or Enemies Of Reality, instead it's a more classic metal sound.
The guitar solos are highly appropriate and tell the story of the song. Jeff Loomis can shred his fucking NUTS off but chooses to sacrifice that quality (for the most part) to write quality solos. Choice well made, says I. I fucking love shredding, but it's only good when put to tasteful use. Thank God Jeff Loomis knows just how to do that.
The vocals here are Warrel's most emotional to date, and it's easy to understand why. The faster thrash songs here feature angry and distorted vocals, and even epic Rob Halford screams, while the slow ballads feature the most sorrow I've heard in a human voice to date. Dreaming Neon Black and The Lotus Eaters feature Warrel at his most vulnerable vocally. Mind you the singing itself is very very powerful, it's just the desperation he sings the lyrics with that give it that vulnerable feel.
The songs here (as always when listening to Nevermore) vary tastefully. Nevermore have always been good at differentiating songs while keeping true to the theme of the album and to their own sound as a band. This album is certainly no exception at all. Every song has it's own unique vibe. This is the kind of trait that Nevermore (when at their best) excel at, which is why Dead Heart In A Dead World is fairly mediocre compared to their other work.
This album is full of creepy and haunting undertones. They seem to be trying to add a horror movie factor to their writing. They certainly have uneasy chord progressions and eerie guitar passages throughout. Dreaming Neon Black has a haunting introduction, a haunting climax, and an eerie chord structure. No More Will has creepy guitarwork and vocal melodies throughout, and the whole album seems to be designed to fill the listener's head with thoughts of despair and pain. This is NOT a happy album, and it's NOT faking at evil like a lot of metal tries to do. Honestly, they're fucking musicians, they're not evil at all.
Nevermore's above acting evil, instead they exude true misery with this album. Whether they're miserable people or not, they sure brought out all the misery and pain possible to create this album. That's the mark of great musicianship.
Buy this album. Sit in a quiet room and let the experience take you. These songs require full attention. The more attention you give, the more chills you'll get back.