"They shall not grow old
As we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them."

Bolt Thrower - "...For Victory"

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NEVERMORE - "The Obsidian Conspiracy" (Century Media)

The great hope for metal – with a new album! The great hope that after Maiden, Sabbath, Priest, not all will be lost for metal. This hope is Seattle’s Nevermore with their eighth studio album (if we count the “In Memory” mini), entitled “The Obsidian Conspiracy”. After the furor “This Godless Endeavor” caused 5 years ago, a long creative pause was a logical step for the band to get enough inspiration, in order to be capable of releasing a successor, at least as good as its predecessor. During those 5 years some important things happened, such as the releases of the great “The Year Of The Voyager” DVD, the Jeff Loomis and Warrel Dane solo albums, аnd Nevermore’s decision to get back to having only one solo guitar player (Steve Smyth was the other one in “This Godless Endeavor”).

So, finally it is time for a new album, and the expectations are expectedly raised sky-high. For me at least, this was the most eagerly awaited album for this year, along wit the new Iron Maiden. From the very first dense riffing of the short opener “The Termination Proclamation”, it is once again clear that Nevermore’s class is unthinkable for 9 out of 10 bands in the genre. A hitter, which is very suitable to open the album, bringing us onto the gloriously epic “Your Poison Throne”. Here, as well as in the following “Moonrise (Through Mirrors Of Death)”, the composition is developed to scary levels, with much density in phrasing and emotion. Nevermore, similarly to one of my other favourites – Queensryche, have perfected the art of concentration what they have to say into the music of 4-5 minutes, with the result being a memorable song and not a pile if technical pretentiousness. These two tracks put forward one of the main differences between “The Obsidian Conspiracy” and its two predecessors – the guitar solos of Loomis are very structured, harmonic and melodic. While there was a hint of showmanship in the previous album, here everything is subordinate to the song idea and the overall mood of the specific song. “And The Maiden Spoke” impresses with the always-so-wonderful vocals of Warrel, as well as with great lyrics and “Emptiness Unobstructed” is undoubtedly the song with the most “hymnal” chorus. Depression reaches universal dimensions in “The Blue Marble Аnd Тhe New Soul” where the musical development is composed masterfully, with a stunning climax. “Without Morals” strikes once again with a memorable chorus (perhaps a little bit too “hit-single” in mood) and the best solo in the album. The fact that the guitar melodies are built by much more than one guitar makes me wonder if the band will take a second guitar player on the road again. “The Day You Built The Wall” is probable the most unmemorable track in the album, composed by a formula that such talented musicians could use to create at least 30 more similar songs with ease. This doesn’t man at the least that the song is weak. It is just to say that this one, along with the opening track, don’t shock with originality and unexpected musical twists and are the only songs that don’t demonstrate the potential of the remaining eight to build on new impressions with each listen.

The album ends with the magnificent and most diverse in tempo changes “She Comes In Colors” and finally the eponymous composition, which is an absolute triumph of the class of Nevermore’s rhythm section. “The Obsidian Conspiracy” is the fastest (almost thrash) track in the new album, with insanely heavy riffing and virtuoso soloing, going throughout most of these 5 minutes of metal perfection.

It is too early to say whether this album will be the best in Nevermore’s discography. However, what I can clearly say is that “The Obsidian Conspiracy” is an album, deserving to be released with the “Nevermore” logo on the artwork. And this is more than enough when you have raised the bar so high that it can be reached by only you and noone else. In a world of “copy-paste” albums and less and less bright individualities, Nevermore are still a breath of fresh air, offering us the next collection of music, that can be called “art” and that will not become boring after the third spin.


Stoyan Tsonev (Z-Rock Radio)

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