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"Enemies of Reality" was not a bad album, but by Nevermore's lofty standards it was downright weak and uninspired, not to mention poorly-produced to boot. "This Godless Endeavour" very much annihilates that CD and buries it deep to be forgotten. The band sounds like it has newfound energy and passion, most evident in Warrel Dane's outstanding baritone vocals as well as the rest of the band simply nailing it down with conviction. Andy Sneap's trademark speaker-brutalizing production is taken to a new level of ambient destruction here, too--this is his best production and mix to date, to my ears.
New guitar recruit Steve Smyth slots in so well right alongside guitar diety Jeff Loomis that Arch Enemy had best watch their backs. The array of amazing, amazing guitar work they cram into every bit of this CD is unreal in its diversity and intensity, utilizing a wide selection of tones, styles, and feels to create amazing dynamics. Mind-boggling leads, textured background chords, the customary crushing 7-string riffs, flamenco-flavored acoustics, tricky harmony parts, and clean chorused parts all combine into a guitar tapestry of such breathtaking execution that you finish this CD thinking that mere mortals could never have done all this.
Jim Sheppard benefits from a much more authoritative bass tone that growls beneath the guitars like an angered lion and Van Williams' anvil chorus pounding has never sounded better. (This guy must buy drumsticks by the gross or something.) His sound is not as obviously triggered as it was on the last album, but there are some obvious clickety-clack parts like on certain segments of "Final Product".
Standouts? Oh, boy...lots of those!
Opener "Born" is a scalding thrasher with creepy effected/layered vocals on the high-speed verses that segue into a classic Nevermore melodic and uplifting chorus to forge a metal beast of monstrous proportions--and this is just the first song.
"Final Product" has an irresistible sense of forward motion throughout its length, and the likes of Hatebreed had best be taking notes when that thundering breakdown kicks in at the 3-minute mark with Jeff Loomis cranking out one of his patented ridiculous harmony leads over the top of the lot. It ought to give these new school metalcore/stomp rock dweebs a lesson in how to make a breakdown both brutally powerful and musically able too.
"My Acid Words" starts out with more thrashing riffage and a pronounced nod to the Gothenburg sound that has infiltrated modern American metal as of the last several years. Only Nevermore pull it off far better than most of the bands who are milking that style to death. It goes into more mid tempo territory for the verses with slinky/funky syncopations--with a monster like Van manning the kit with his sense of time and letting a beat breathe, this is inevitable.
"Bittersweet Feast" is slower and more deliberate, with some particularly vicious lyrics dealing with the government and the media conspiring to dumb down America's population--there is an overall concept behind the lyrics of this album along those lines, and Dane pulls no punches in his snarling sarcasm and bitterness. An otherworldly whammy pedal-soaked solo section takes this one to a whole new level courtesy of Mr. Smyth.
"Sentient 6" is my favorite song on the album. It starts off in a poignant vein, the tale of a computer yearning to be human and progresses into heavier territory as the computer realizes that humanity is not what it was hoping it would be and is in fact rather not worth looking up to at all. At roughly the halfway point it shifts gears into an incredibly oppressive grind that feels like a tank flattening all in its path inexorably as Dane snarls "Sequence activate, trip the hammer to eradicate/I must exterminate/I will spread swift justice on their land!" He sounds evil as all get out on this part and I love it. It segues into an emotional ending that suddenly turns stark and naked, and you are left murmuring "WTFO?" after being razed and burned by this monstrous track.
"The Holocaust of Thought" is a short and sweet little instrumental that fades in with a catchy little bass riff and features some incredible soloing from guest axeman James Murphy.
The rest of the CD is outstanding too, but those are just my picks.
In truth, this will be the album to really push Nevermore into the top tier of American metal, if you ask me. I truly hope it gets them some headlining action, because these guys so well deserve it after all these years of striving and working. This is the real deal, not any of this stupid metalcore stomp rock garbage passing itself off as metal these days--spend your money wisely, kids.