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Coming off of their mild success and good reviews of their self-titled debut, Nevermore released "The Politics of Ecstacy," an album that finds Nevermore at their angriest, and also their most political. This album was rhythm guitarist Charlie O'Brien's last with the band, before he left to join Cannible Corpse. O'Brien's guitar sound reminds me a lot of Jon Schaffer's on "Burnt Offerings;" as Nevermore had not yet incorperated the 7-string into their sound. Except for "Seven Tongues of God" and "42147," Jeff Loomis plays a very limited role; his soloing is pretty simple and short.
The lyrics are very political, but not really anything great. "The Tiananmen Man" starts off well; I thought it would make some great point about that whole incident, but really all it says is that the guy in front of the tank knew that he wouldn't be killed because the media was watching. "The Learning" is actually only about ten minutes, then a few minutes of silence, then a short semi-song that seems pointless. The song itself is decent, good riffing, but nothing great. The same goes for the title track, which is long, but does not leave much of an impact. "The Passanger" could be classified as doom metal, not because it sounds as much like Candlemass, but it's slow and the riff is so depressing, and the guitar solo is so emotional. There is a feeling on this song unlike anything Nevermore has done before or since. Great song. "Next in Line" is a favorite among many fans, but while I will admit the song is good, I don't see what is so great about it. Good chorus. "The Seven Tongues of God" has great tempo changes, and the guitar solo is probably the best on the disc. I'm still not sure what the title "42147" means, but nevertheless, this song has the best instrumentation on the album; the guitar work is so addictive, it stays in my head every time after I listen to it.
This album is has about the same amount of thrash/power metal feel as does Iced Earth's "Burnt Offerings." Not really the best album to get if you are getting into Nevermore, but with out a doubt this is a good album, although they would top this with every successive album afterwards.