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I have heard of many albums that have achieved perfection, most of them in the melodic branch of metal (where power metal or progressive metal fit in), as well as a few on the extreme metal branch, which I don't listen to a lot but there are definitelly various masterpieces on it. Out of all extreme metal bands I've heard, I decided to pay a bit more of attention to it, since it pretty much got me, and I got into Nevermore eventually. After listening to a few songs by them, I decided to get 'This Godless Endeavor' and it eventually became my favorite band in the whole extreme metal, as well as my favorite album.
This album is pretty much a summing up of all Nevermore's previous releases, mixing into it every single quality that has made them an icon in metal. Dane's voice is amazing. In this album, he often alternates his types of singing from the melancholic voice to growls or harsh vocals and he makes it fit in perfectly, placing it exactly where needed, the perfect example would be "Sentient 6", a song that is overall slow, but in the end becomes heavier and Dane's vocals start to work out with hostileness. Jeff Loomis is a god, any person that listens to metal knows that. His expert-level shredding cannot be compared to that of any other. He uses extreme sweeps in the solos, a bit of tremolo picking (not to overuse it), and some tapping that is always right were it has to be. His management of diverse scales during the solos is also acknowledgeable, mainly the appropiate manage of diminished runs he does that actually don't sound too incongrous but make it have the needed terrorific sound to the solos, of course, if that is the purpose. Both Loomis and Smyth do an outstanding job with the riffs, they will get you headbanging and breaking your neck in no time, I would like to give a highlight to "My Acid Words" in this case. The rhythm musicians, Sheppard and Williams, also get a spotlight in here. While many don't pay attention to them since the guitars may overshadow their instruments, I pretended to do it to describe the sound better. Van Williams, the drummer (as you may know), is really talented, to be honest. Most of the drum lines here are pretty odd, since they may sound dissonant or even improvised at times, but this adds technicallity and progressiveness to the overall sound. His work with the double bass drums is one of the best I've heard (if not the best). Bass lines are just adequate. They do not stand out too much, since it is not what is needed, after all, Nevermore has always payed much more attention to the guitars, but you may listen to a few interesting stuff if you pay close attention to it.
Nevermore lyrics are among my favorites. I really like the way this album criticizes the shitty society we live in with the lyrics, using great comparisons and metaphors, and explaining how there is almost no way to get out this fucked up world, "not even suicide", as 'My Acid Words' says. I think Dane did a really good job in here, he deserves recognition.
"This Godless Endeavor" is an excellent album, it compiles the whole Nevermore essence, and also works as a perfect introductor for anyone who wants to get into the extreme metal world, collecting into it stuff from all the extreme metal genres, making it perfect and even having all of this, it is really digestible for most of listeners.
Highlights: "Born", "Final Product", "My Acid Words", "Sentient 6", "Sell My Heart for Stones", "The Pslam of Lydia", "This Godless Endeavor".