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Nevermore – The Obsidian Conspiracy: Review

The well-respected progressive thrash metal band, Nevermore, is releasing their upcoming album entitled The Obsidian Conspiracy on June 8. Since their eponymous debut album in 1995, the band has had a stellar track record for good releases. This one, though met with less enthusiasm as former fan favorites, is no exception.

The Music (rating: B+)

  1. The Termination Proclamation
  2. Your Poison Throne
  3. Moonrise (Through Mirrors of Death)
  4. And the Maiden Spoke
  5. Emptiness Unobstructed
  6. The Blue Marble and the New Soul
  7. Without Morals
  8. The Day You Built the Wall
  9. She Comes in Colors
  10. The Obsidian Conspiracy

This album, like much of Nevermore’s material, is very dark and heavy. In fact, the heaviness is further emphasized with the large amounts of distortion in the guitar tone. The voice focuses on power as opposed to range and control. The predominant genre is thrash, though progressive elements are present. Many aspects, such as the aforementioned, give it a very “American metal” sound. Those who are attracted to the old Nevermore sound will not be disappointed with this album.

Based on the general tone and atmosphere of the album, one would assume that musicality would be swept under the rug. However, the band demonstrates thorough musical knowledge (though not as well as former releases). A large portion of the music is atonal (as expected for thrash metal), but well-crafted to feel natural despite being unnatural. The melodic portions are also finely and creatively executed. There is not too many time signatures involved, but the standard 4/4 time does not feel forced due to incompetence. Key changes are still present and flow smoothly. In general, the songs follow the standard song structure, unlike most progressive pieces. Within songs, dynamics and tempo changes are not enforced thoroughly, though there is much diversity within the album regarding these aspects. Nevermore takes advantage of the musical features in this album, though to a lesser extent than former material.

The instrumental performance on The Obsidian Conspiracy is also rather remarkable. The driving force is the guitar, and it is highly capable. Many great riffs and solos are delivered, but the smooth, clean ballads are also well done (but not as well as the metal parts). The bass is very versatile and effective. During heavy sections, the bass is additive to the other instruments. But during softer sections, the bass is quite melodic and intriguing. The vocals, though not impressively technical, are phrased quite well. The tone of the voice is very fitting to the band’s overall sound, allowing the vocals to avoid relying on the growl for heaviness and using it for effect. The drums serve as fine support, but are not overly creative or technical. Although some instruments are more standout than others, they all work together to create something special.

The Obsidian Conspiracy is a great album, possibly Century Media’s best so far this year. It has the unique Nevermore feel to it. The musicianship and instrumental craftsmanship are both highly commendable. Though it may not be as strong as the bands older releases, it is still an album that should be heard. Do not let this one pass you by.

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