Nevermore: Warrel Dane (vocals); Jeff Loomis (guitar); Jim Sheppard (bass); Van Williams (drums).
Seattlites Nevermore carved a unique little niche for themselves, mixing power metal, thrash, and traditional heavy metal stylings into a heady, dark witch's brew that's as muscular as it is melodic. While previous platters Dead Heart, in a Dead World and Dreaming Neon Black were sprawling, epic concept albums, Enemies of Reality has more elements of a nasty little thrash record, clocking in at a relatively brief 40 minutes and letting rip with the pummeling aggression of the leadoff title track (which boasts typically stellar guitar work courtesy of Jeff Loomis, who carefully balances technical shredding with rock-solid, articulate riffs). Producer Kelly Gray's (Queensr?che, Dokken) mix sounds a bit botched during the maniacal tempo changes and dizzying fretwork of cuts like "Ambivalent" and "Never Purify," which would definitely benefit from a fine-edged, less muddy guitar sound; however, his knob-twisting sharpens the dynamics of stunningly effective power ballads "Who Decides" (just try prying that guitar hook out of your brain) and "Tomorrow Turned Into Yesterday," which boasts the crystalline quality demanded by the down-tempo, clean arpeggios of the verses, and explosive peaks for the chorus' rib-crunching body blows. Vocalist Warrel Dane's lyrics are, as usual, devastatingly bleak and poetic, especially when schizoid voices overlap during psychedelic, out-of-body experience "Noumenon" -- "There is no stronger drug than reality," he warbles, reprising the line over the hoof-pounding thrash gallop of album closer "Seed Awakening." While Enemies of Reality doesn't necessarily break down any new barriers for Nevermore, the album is a manic, panicked, pissed-off disc compared to other entries in the group's discography; and there's really no arguing with the band's consistency, especially when its top-shelf songwriting skills and musicianship are so willfully and skillfully on display. Even if fans long for the skills of past producers Neil Kernon or Andy Sneap, they'll still find Enemies of Reality to be a nasty little thrash record with plenty of depth. [The limited-edition import version of the album came packaged with a bonus DVD featuring three promo videos and two live clips from the band's 2001 tour.] ~ John Serba
- RSD Release Date: n/a
- Format: Vinyl
- Genre: Rock
- Released: 05/18/2018