One doesn’t have to look at all of the Nevermore albums as a whole so see some type of progression leading to get where they are today because each album is extremely strong on its own. What DHIADW does is combines the musical wizardry of Politics of Ecstasy with the accessibility of Dreaming Neon Black. Unlike POL, Dead Heart doesn’t take successive listenings to get into. It is at once incredible upon first listen yet musically complex and well written as to offer something new each time you hear it. I have a feeling this is one of those albums listeners won’t be able to definitively pick a favorite song from, as each has something unique to offer.
“Narcosynthesis” kicks off the album full force with a rhythmic riff that sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Inside Four Walls”, at this point my favorite track, features precise and creative riffing that would cause Fred Durst and the rest of the new metal wannabes to crawl under their beds and hide until their mothers came to tuck them in. But riff-fests do not a great metal album make, and DHIADW is much deeper than simply a wall of guitars. Jeff Loomis, who does all of the guitar work on the album after the departure of Tim Calvert, shows his lyricism and melody on the acoustic intro to “Insignificant” as well as “Believe In Nothing” and the title track, which promptly kicks into full gear to close out the album. Those somewhat wary of metal power ballads need not fear. Warrel Dane has one of the best and unique voices in metal and propels these songs well above their so-called peers. Drummer Van Williams and bassist Jim Sheppard provide a solid foundation for Loomis and Dane (who wrote all the songs, with Sheppard contributing to DHIADW) to shine. This is the first time Nevermore has worked with producer Andy Sneap and the result is stunning with a much more in-your-face guitar sound while still retaining the signature sound that makes this one of the best bands around. And if this doesn’t sell the album, check out the rearrangement of Paul Simon’s “The Sound of Silence”.
John Rovnan is a Contributing Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.