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I'll just say it right away, this album is mind blowing. For me, this is as good as music of any kind gets. I am yet to hear a better a combination of musicality, songwriting and emotion in one album. The way the songs flow together as one story makes this album even more brilliant.
Musically, the performance on "Dreaming Neon Black" is just phenomenal. The guitarists are just all over this album, a true riffing fest with excellent lead work on top. Warrel Dane also clearly prove why he is my favourite vocalist. Well I'll go straight to the songs instead of ranting about how good Loomis and Dane are, most people already know that.
After a short intro "Beyond Within" begins with an awesome all-out thrashy headbang section and goes into a very vocally powerful verse, eventually going into a spacey a slower part that ends with the killer solo. After that the awesome mainriff comes back and just shatters everything once again. The vocal performance by Warrel on this one is exceptional. Brilliant opener.
Next up is "The Death of Passion". It's about at the same pace as "Beyond Within" but with a somewhat different approach. The bass is very prominent in this song and Warrel tries out some interesting vocal patterns.
"I Am The Dog" - Right when this song picks up you can hear something more heavy is coming, at first It's somewhat melodic before wandering into shatteringly heavy parts. The vocal performance on this one is once again brilliant. Everything I used to be has spiralled into insanity \m/
Next up is the title track, which is the ultimate Nevermore ballad. Very haunting acoustic play with another very good Warrel performance. It's also quite well placed on the album as it provides a bit of relaxation between all the riffing insanity in most of the other songs.
After "Dreaming Neon Black", "Deconstruction" starts with its dark intro. Right away when Warrel's vocals come in one can sense that there's something incredibly heavy coming. After about 2 minutes of slowness, the slaughter starts when Loomis puts the distortion on. Every riff featured in this song is killer. The verse lyrics on this one are incredible too, with great catchy patterns as well as depth. This is probably my second favourite Nevermore song after "The Learning". And I have to add that the acoustic solo on this one is one of the most killer parts I've ever heard in any song, ever.
"The Fault of Flesh" is another brilliant track with a great lyric approach. Once again the bass is very prominent and the riffs are brilliant. Warrel sounds like a total madman in places.
After that there's once again time for a slow track. "The Lotus Eaters" is very doomy and fits very well into the concept. Warrel's vocal performance in the end when he goes "Are we your childen? Are we lost?" is just mind blowing.
Right at the end of that track, "Poison Godmachine" comes galloping with maximum intensity. Warrel is just on fire during the verses and displays amazing power, the higher ranged screams in the end are simply chilling as well.
"All Play Dead" and "Cenotaph" are up after "Poison...". These tracks are more experimental and somewhat odd. They do carry a lot of emotional weight and add well to the concept though, still probably my 2 least favourite tracks on this album.
After that it's time for some more pure awesomeness, as "No More Will" comes in. A great acoustic intro is followed by a heavy melodic riff with some emotional vocal patterns by Warrel. After that there's THE riff. At 1:27 one of the most killer riffs I've ever heard just comes thrashing in and Warrel's vocals follow as he brings in his more aggressive vocal stylings once again. Amazing song.
The album ends with the incredibly sorrowful "Forever", which pretty much is Warrel singing on top of a slow, simple instrumental pattern. Very emotional and a great end to a great album.