Nevermore – The Obsidian Conspiracy (Century Media Records)

Monday, 18th March 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

Watching an act grow from infancy to headliner status without compromising their ideals or songwriting ethics remains a rarity in the metal genre. So often we hear the sounds of bands once living for the glory of those club crowds now suddenly eyeing the big- time through commercial hooks or hopping on the current trend in search of a bigger payday.

Seven albums in, Nevermore could easily re-write 2000’s Dead Heart in a Dead World – their blueprint album in terms of showcasing all sides of their progressive, thrash, speed and groove sounds – and no one would miss a beat. Yet Warrel Dane, Jeff Loomis, Jim Sheppard and Van Williams wouldn’t accept less than continual, incremental improvement upon their previous discography.

Five years seems like an eternity to hear The Obsidian Conspiracy, but as expected, Nevermore deliver 10 distinct tracks that pulsate, illuminate and cause you to activate all parts of the mind and body. “And the Maiden Spoke” sharply takes Warrel’s atmospheric doom-meets-power melody and pits it squarely against buzz=saw precise Loomis riffs and Williams’ one of a kind drum groove.

The title track represents their closest foray to death metal – once again Loomis’ speed-picking coupled with the Sheppard/Williams rhythmic backbone convey such deep despair and sheer evil in their conviction and execution. “Your Poison Throne” appears perfect for crowd sing-a-long action, the persistent “Rise! Rise!” careening in my head much like a pinball against the bumpers.

Nevermore aren’t rewriting their textbook, and yet they continue to mold new stories that push the parameters just a touch further. I think it’s why so many musicians and fans across the world wish to emulate their career – they never rest on their laurels, exploring depths of sound, tone, plus dynamics and in the end, produce albums that stay with you forever.

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