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Maybe I have the wrong album. Maybe someone with nothing better to do with their time went and found an infinitely inferior album and then proceeded to tag it as though it was this Nevermore album just for shits and giggles. Of course the reality of the whole thing could be that this album is just shite? I'm going with the latter because frankly, Nevermore have only made one good album in the entirety of their tenure on the metal scene, that being 'This Godless Endeavor' and Warrel Dane's excruciating vocals are unmistakable. I swear the man could strip the paint off the walls. 'Dreaming Neon Black' is probably one of the more notable Nevermore albums and their sycophantic fans circle jerk each other over the aforementioned vocals, Jeff Loomis' soloing talents and more importantly, over the story behind this dull, dull, dull album.
Did I mention it's dull? Because I can't emphasise that point any greater, even a 200ft high neon sign that flashes with such intensity that it causes epileptic seizures could not emphasise the point greater, although it would be hilariously awesome in many ways. There are glimpses of brilliance; "Flesh is the Fault" is somewhat derivative in nature but it's the most interesting song due to utilising a simplistic but fast main riff, that and I can't remember Warrel Dane being quite as annoying as usual. "Poisongod Machine" isn't bad either if only because it's four minutes long and keeps things pretty simple instead riding the tangential rocket into the realms of tedious melodic sections. That is probably the biggest offender on this album and prevents it from being slightly more bearable; Nevermore (and their fans) have this unwholesome fetish for unnecessary melodic sections or dropping the guitars entirely whilst Warrel Dane whines all over the top like dragging an enraged siamese cat across fifteen fucking blackboards. "Beyond Within" is only the second song and half way through or so they descend into a section leaving you to reel in terror, praying for salvation either in the form of a decent riff or a over-sized cyanide suppository.
I suppose that in connection with the story the music is rather dark and doesn't really have anything that could be described as fun nor upbeat; they're at least being appropriate in setting the atmosphere and more importantly they don't fall back on overtly lavish keyboards/synths/effects to achieve this. Unfortunately to create this atmosphere they basically axe the 'decent riff department' and opt for banal groove-based riffery; to their credit it doesn't always descend into an 'old motorcycle engine' chug but then once you consider that they keep the number of riffs per song to it's bare minimum and you're just further contributing to the overall dullness of this album. The lead work is fairly sparse except the obligatory solo section in each song which displays a high degree of talent but isn't really worth devoting your memory to, I mean it's quite impressive and helps to break up the monotony that the album produces but once it's over you'd be lucky to recall the solo a few minutes later thanks to the following riff battering your brain into a state of catatonia.
Lyrically the album is emotional and manages to convey a sense of hopelessness and heartbreak at times but more often than not it comes off as sickeningly whiny. Yeah we know it's about some crazy girlfriend who runs off to join a cult and is never seen again but it's just not that enthralling. In fact I'd read all the lyrics but I just can't be bothered, I start reading them and then start to consider doing assignments or lab reports rather than read yet another line that sounds as though it's lifted from the pages from a narcistic and misanthropic English major. The fact I imagine Warrel Dane singing said lyrics just makes the task that much more arduous; the man just can't seem to sing, it's as though he can only orgasm if he deliberately goes out of key, whines or strains his vocals. Nearly every chorus on this album is tarnished and impossible to find catchy because he gets his jollies off on being shit at singing but getting paid for it. However the worst is when they decide to let him sing without having a riff underneath his vocals; the magnification of his ineptitude is frightening and makes songs such as "Dreaming Neon Black" and "The Death of Passion" to be some of the worst on the album.
This album could be bearable, even above average had Nevermore decided to discard the pretentious facade of being progressive, emotional and deep; there are plenty of concept albums that are lyrically brilliant and have a powerful atmosphere whilst still rocking the fuck out; case and point being Iron Maiden's 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' and Opeth's 'My Arms, Your Hearse' (which is funnily enough, the only good Opeth album). Unfortunately Nevermore decided to swing for the fences when they opted to mix emotionally stunted lyrics with poor song writing and a severe lack of riffs; they couldn't have missed any worse even if they were blindfolded, facing the other way and had just 'subbed' four cans of Emu Export. The result is an album that moves along with the urgency of a slug after doing back-to-back gravity bongs for about ten minutes. Every song feels a good two minutes longer than it actually is thanks to the byproduct of slow tempos and repetitive riffs. The album would have improved greatly with a shaving off of a minute or two from some of the longer songs or just writing some decent riffs. Also taking Warrel Dane off vocals and 'putting him down' would not only benefit the band but probably the entire music scene and the world as a whole.
I can't say I really recommend this album to anyone because chances are that you already know if you like Nevermore or not which means you'll have already prepared to denounce me as the reincarnation of Hitler or something. To the rest of you who have been living under a large rock in the snow swept plains of Antarctica I suggest you skip Nevermore's discography, except for 'This Godless Endeavor'. Even I like that album, which is something I suppose.