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Shock And Awe - 99%

Erin_Fox, October 28th, 2006

Over the course of their considerable history, Nevermore has evolved into one of metal’s finest outfits, releasing albums that test the limitations of aural supremacy without fail. On “This Godless Endeavor”, this faction refines a masterfully domineering sound even further, giving this album a tone that is the by-product of duly dark harmonies, rich dynamics and often, overwhelming force.

Warrel Dane has grown gracefully into his role as glum sonic ringleader, his highly impassioned singing revealing a plethora of overcast emotions. Projecting a haunting aura during the paralyzing weighty “Bittersweet Feast”, the frontman displays an extent of control that surpasses his past performances, while infusing the ideal amount of foreboding nuance into his perpetually omnipotent vocal attack. Dane has the facility to convey a kaleidoscope of moods with his distinctively authoritative voice. His affecting delivery during “Sentient 6” reflects the veteran’s skills well. This track is one of the best the band has ever put together, with the doomy, mammoth riffing of both axe-wizard Jeff Loomis and new member Steve Smyth (Testament, Dragonlord) giving the track remarkable depth.

Of all the output that Nevermore has offered to date, “This Godless Endeavor” is the most self-assured and focused. Nevermore hit on all cylinders with wicked sounding anthems such as “My Acid Words”, a track that bears the progressive Seattle metal sound, but also lapses into comprehensive thrashing chaos. Alternating between gloominess and sonorous majesty, this song unquestionably stands out as a gem, as the pulverizing beats of Van Williams lend muscle to the group’s sullen harmonies with taut, punchy pounding emphasized by the crushing bottom-end provided by four-stringer Jim Sheppard. An extremely captivating performance by Dane highlights yet another immediately enthralling cut, “Sell My Heart For Stones.” An expert arrangement keeps this track entertaining as well. Here, Nevermore move through a variety of stylistic phases that give the song an intriguingly dramatic atmosphere.

Hands down, the most riveting track that you will find on this highly significant effort is the blustery, intensely melodic “Final Product”, a track that is surpassed in its sheer relentlessness only by its muscular, dramatic chord structures. Dane spills out emotions like a river, imparting his patented theatrical antics as the band instrumentally weave a web of intense grooves complemented by mighty technical superiority.

A definitive release from a band that stands in the prime of their recording career, “This Godless Endeavor” is a crowning achievement from one of metal’s most consistently brilliant bands.

From the book "Weapons Of Mass Destruction" by Erin Fox