When you’re talking about quality, Nevermore is one of those bands who never fail to deliver. Their trademark sound, consisting of elements from progressive, heavy and thrash metal, is driven by the virtuoso guitar antics by Jeff Loomis and the theatrical vocal performance by Warrel Dane. Albums such as Dreaming Neon Black (1999), Dead Heart In A Dead World (2000) and This Godless Endeavor (2005) are often cited as their best works. After five years, two solo albums and a lot of touring, Nevermore is back with a new record, entitled The Obsidian Conspiracy.
At first I was disappointed by this album. Most songs were way too short and lacked personality in my book. Despite the band’s best intentions it seemed that The Obsidian Conspiracy was destined to become one of those pedestrian, middle of the road albums. One of those records you listen twice and after that you simply ignore their existence.
However after some months I decided to give The Obsidian Conspiracy another chance. It finally started to make sense to me. Songs like And The Maiden Spoke, The Blue Marble And The New Soul, The Day You Build The Wall and She Comes In Colors have the same emotional depth as Dreaming Neon Black, The Heart Collector and Believe In Nothing. Faster compositions like The Termination Proclamation, Your Poison Throne and Emptiness Unobstructed are more groove-orientated and have much in common with Inside Four Walls, The River Dragon Has Come and I, Voyager. This album is very much in the vein of Dead Heart In A Dead World and Enemies Of Reality.
Despite the overall quality I still have some critical notes here and there. Warrel Dane does a convincing job in the vocal department, but at times I miss the trademark bite in his voice. I also miss some really outstanding songs like Born, The Seven Tongues Of God, Final Product and Deconstruction.
Peter Wichers (Soilwork) did a good job sound wise, but I prefer the clinical perfection by Andy Sneap when it comes to a band like Nevermore. It’s a matter of taste of course.
The Obsidian Conspiracy by Nevermore is first and foremost a very solid affair. It offers quality in terms of song writing and the band’s overall performance, but it also lacks some real killers. All in all The Obsidian Conspiracy may not be the best album in the Nevermore discography, but it certainly has its charms and moments.
written by Raymond Westland