Nevermore
This Godless Endeavor

Talk about being kicked into a bleeding pulp. I didn’t see this one coming, even though I had some kind of an idea of what to expect. This Godless Endeavor‘s sheer brutality and power of the contact left me gasping for air, down on my fours, begging for forgiveness in front of a much higher being; a well crafted element that walks without faults of the flesh. I was waiting for This Godless Endeavor — but I wasn’t expecting this!

After the scandalous Enemies of Reality, that in the end turned out quite well once the songs were given more air with the new mix, Seattle’s Nevermore have clearly set out to prove the naysayers wrong. The band deploys a tour de force that even shadows the destruction caused by a full wing of B-52s. In the act of war, it’s disastrous to rely solely on aggression – a lesson well understood compared to the previous effort. On This Godless Endeavor, devious psychological warfare has raised its head in the form of twisted compositions.

The songcrafting is simply stunning as the music goes from some of the best shredding heard in years to beautiful melodies; only to paint those nice images black with full-on adrenaline-soaked thrashing. It’s just dumbfounding to hear the pure, magnifically orchestrated and executed vision come together. All this without a single failure in the machine. And all this with such self-awareness that the result cannot be anything but damn near perfect. It’s as if the band was having a laugh at the poor listener’s (in)ability to keep up with the whole picture as it takes many, many listens to pick even the most evident details ? and I’m positive that there’s still plenty of rocks to be turned and lucky charms to be eaten.

In a move completely unexpected, Nevermore takes a turn down the ‘melodic death metal’ -road. Just as the listener is starting to wonder the sanity behind the band’s actions, they slam the pedal to the metal with such a force as if it was to say (in the classic Paul Hogan accent) “That’s not a riff; now this is a RIFF!” And that’s just what they do, make it all sound their own and breathe life and freshness into something that has been beat to death and sucked dry. Songs like “Born (The Retribution of Spiritual Sickness)” and “My Acid Words” should be made school examples of how the metal magic can happen without having to resort to dumbing down the sound nor compromising the approach in any way. Most of all, they display that even when you have one of the catchiest choruses invented, you don?t need to make the rest of the song sound any lighter (I hope you’re taking notes, Soilwork-son.)

The trademark Nevemore ballads return in force (even though I liked “Who Decides” on the previous effort quite a bit.) “Sentient 6” starts out calm, giving Mr. Dane plenty of space and time to tell the kids a tale before giving room for couple of chapters worth to Loomis to paint the visuals with his, once again, touching solo work. At the end of the song, the kids are sent to sleep with nightmares traumatizing their feeble minds. “Sell My Heart for Stones” follows similar path and trots despair into the listener’s mind.

Greatest picks are hard to choose as the 57-minute whole is probably the tightest Nevermore has bound together. While some songs are clearly better than others, there’s not a single song that shouldn’t be there. Dull moments are next to none. Besides the aforementioned songs (especially “Born”), one also has to recommend the 9-minute spectacle carrying the same name as the album. “This Godless Endeavor” gives a perfect closure to the album, summoning the threads together and displaying the final product in holy light.

Musicianship is, once again, top notch and Warrel Dane delivers another dose of highly captivating, neurotic and cynicism-filled gospel, sounding somehow trustworthy and vicious at the same time. Despite everyone doing more than what’s expected from them, getting equal time in the spotlights, there’s one person whose presence reaches almost messianic heights: Jeff Loomis, the mastermind behind the six stringer. The way he shapes, molds and alters the songs on-the-fly, while adding meaningful with such ease and flow, is simply nothing short of divine. The riff is the master, the shred we obey.

If I was cautious, I’d probably remind how it’s too early to decide whether or not this is the band’s best effort to date. After all, Dead Heart… has already been cast into stone and its status has only grown through the years. At the same time Enemies of Reality wasn’t the band’s best effort, but it deviously lowered everyone’s guard for the finishing blow. In my spine, however, I have a feeling that I can safely bet my money and the lives of my unborn children in favor of This Godless Endeavor, as it remains with you like the need for a new fix; making attempts to return back to normal life completely void.

After thorough exposure to the album at hand, it looks highly doubtful that there could be a single person in the metal kingdom who would find a rejuvenated Nevermore disappointing. Heed my words. This Godless Endeavor is simply a force to be reckoned with.

This biblical character approves.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
July 6th, 2005

Comments

  1. Commented by: faust666

    Probably the finest metal album of the decade. An absolute masterpiece and essential listening for any self respecting metalhead.


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    title track is the best thing they’ve ever done. epic as fuck.


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