Nevermore
Enemies of Reality (re-release)

I was excited on so many levels when it was announced a while back that Century Media was allowing Nevermore to have Enemies of Reality remixed and remastered by none other than Andy Sneap himself. You see, the original release of Enemies of Reality was a strange one indeed because the release prior to this one, Dead Heart in a Dead World had an excellent Sneap production. However, due to either scheduling and/or money issues they settled with Kelly Gray for the initial release of Enemies of Reality. This really upset the momentum of the universe because nobody could understand how a band can go backwards in production values. I use the analogy of comparing the original release of Enemies of Reality to that of falling in love with an endlessly charismatic and caring lover but one whose face is covered in unsightly pimples: do you see past the imperfections to appreciate the inner beauty and innate talent?

Suffice to say, the initial release of Enemies of Reality wasn’t up to par; the guitars were muddy, the vocals sounded out of time the drums were hollow — it just sounded bad. Which is why I was looking forward so much to the new Enemies of Reality so I could answer the question: how much does production affect/enhance the music? Short answer: apparently a lot. This remixed version is almost an entirely different beast to the original which is really amazing when you realize that absolutely nothing was re-recorded; presumably all Sneap had to work with was the original performance tracks. And it’s marvelous what he has done with the place. Everything is clear with a nice sharp bite and it no longer sounds like you’ve accidentally left carpet draped over your speakers. Jeff Loomis’s maniacal solos ring with a new-found intensity and sound even faster because you can hear absolutely every note played to perfection. His layered rhythm guitars chunk, groove, slice and plough their way through vicious and memorable riff after another. Following suite and not to be outdone, Sheppard’s sterling bass work sounds excellent and really comes to the forefront in tracks such as the vicious finale, Seed Awakening. Van’s drumming is phenomenal; it’s like suddenly realizing your ostensibly unattractive cousin is suddenly hot or something and that kind of thing isn’t illegal in your state. His impeccable sense for matching his drumming to the mood of the song is on full display, be that using precise double bass and tom rolls with artistic flair or going all kamikaze on our asses with his ninja blastbeat attacks. I think Warrell Dane’s vocals suffered the most from the original production and it really had me questioning his vocal skills after such an impressive performance on Dead Heart… but he sounds ten times better now. Originally on some songs he sounded a little ‘off’ in regards to pitch and on others he sounded slightly out of time but somehow Sneap has managed to tighten his vocals up beautifully and they’re now a perfect complement to the songs, whereas originally a few vocal sections had put me off slightly.

Now this review is assuming that you have all heard the original Enemies of Reality. If I am mistaken in my mass generalizing than please be so kind as to prove me right and immediately obtain a copy/song/mp3 ASAP. Nevermore is just one of those bands where it really is a proverbial crime to miss out on them; their sound caters to a wide audience and nearly all their songs have generous amounts of song-writing, catchiness and emotion; not one is forgettable. Not to mention their penchant for being extremely diverse song-writers, flawlessly executing genuinely emotive, beautifully poetic music one minute and then smashing you in the face the next. And let me tell you, for a more classically-orientated thrash/metal outfit, Nevermore certainly do know how to bring the heaviness like a fat kid on Dr. Phil. In summation: if you already have Enemies of Reality then I highly recommend you check out this new version, it is well worth the time/money/effort to track it down and this is really a much better album.

I think Century Media are supposed to be doing some $5 deal or something if you already have the original where they send you out the new disc or something, go to their site I guess. And for those of you who haven’t checked this out, or heaven forbid, are not familiar with Nevermore at all, fix it. Do it quickly or else I’ll unnecessarily draw out this review with more time-worn reviewing clichés by sprouting more inane phrases such as the previously mentioned “artistic flair” and “It would be a crime not to check this out”. Consider yourself warned.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Damien Boorman
May 7th, 2005

Comments

  1. Commented by: Lucas Kuhn

    It sucks that the Original Mix is almost hidden by now, I heard only the Remastered, FLAC, and some of the original that is on youtube (but sounds like bad quality audio, like it is compressed in 128kbps, not as production only but as if the uploader compressed the audio to send).
    There’s no place to buy the CD, no place to download, legal or illegal. Sad for me, I was trying to research why an album had to be remastered in 2 years from its release and I can’t find the original album that was so slammed for production reasons. If you hear the originals on YouTube or if you find anywhere I can get them online can you please send me an e-mail?
    Thank you, and from the bad compressed audio on three songs I found on YouTube I agree, the vocals seem VERY, VERY off time and sometimes the overlap between the backing vocals and the main vocal creates an burst on volume that is sad to hear on anything released by a major label.


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