Here’s to an album that was described to me as the epitome of metal wizardry. The cream of the cream of all things you can expect from anything metal. The steel-clad mountain any metalhead must vanquish before they can claim to be adepts of trve metal. Well, there you go. That’s a standard to die for.
Or is it, now?
And let me tell you some truth to go with that. I am not a die-hard fan of thrash metal. Much of it goes along with mindless screaming and jerking about the stage. Never mind the lyrics or any story that would fuel the tune. Or something deep that drives your shit. Anything actually. Only fast, furious and loud – the nirvana of the gods of thrash. Right, Hetfield?
In this light, what on earth made the RockmusicRaider deck crew vote for This Godless Endeavor of the now seriously defunct band Nevermore?
Without a doubt, the tortured and menacing approach to the story they like to tell played a major role in the decision-making process. And their sometimes startling closeness to early Queensrÿche. This starts straight with Born – track #1. At first, you get some real Thrash Metal, just to descend into a painful chorus that influenced more bands than one.
Then, adding to the album’s fascination factor are its attributes. No kidding, right?
This Godless Endeavor comes across as loud and scratchy. Screamy and totally fucked up. Dramatic and scorching, but also melancholic and haunting. And this – with all the faults it sports – jacks up the level of interest of this album like there is no tomorrow.
Also, let’s not forget that this band had a lot of character.
First, the sadly departed Warrel Dane, the charismatic lead of Nevermore, stands out like a sore thumb in a sea of disturbingly dark metal. The band also nourished Jeff Loomis at its bosom. The very same Jeff, who now works the fretboard at Arch Enemy. And a score of others that – this time – shall remain unnamed. All of them human influences add to that animal magnetism that This Godless Endeavor exudes so well.
A lot of the stuff on This Godless Endeavor can be associated with Thrash Metal, no doubt about it. Yet, once the thick of things starts, the purity of this idea dilutes more and more into some sort of primordial style soup. Progressive Metal starts to mingle with Alternative undercurrents and then some. You’ll even get a few bits of Hard Rock out of this record.
Many gallons of ink were spent on opinions, if or if not Nevermore – in part or mainly – qualifies as Progressive Metal, too. Well, just listening to Bittersweet Feast drives this point home beautifully. If this is not a primeval version of modern-day Haken gone totally awry, then I don’t know what that should be.
The excellent Sentient 6 gets you all the drama Kansas never mustered and navigates far out there in the Alternative multiverse. Oh, and let me mention the stellar solo at about mid-point. This one sounds as if Arjen Lucassen had a hand in it. Or take Sell My Heart For Stones that gets you a melange of sludge and progressive all in one go.
The record even descends into Carach Angren-esque storytelling without the growling. With a sometimes uncanny closeness to modern-time bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse on song structures and arrangement. Looks like the Italians from Fleshgod Apocalypse seem to have taken a tiny bit of their bearings from Nevermore. Because this particular band came into existence only in 2007, so this would actually make sense.
The fact of the matter is, you can’t throw Nevermore into a style box and forget about them. This record strides about many styles and will be dominated by none. And that is another cog in this fine-tuned mechanism that leads to This Godless Endeavor‘s undoubted allure.
In conclusion, This Godless Endeavor indeed stands out of this sea of metal like a lightning rod with a storm approaching. A beacon that many other bands undoubtedly used for their bearings on today’s modern offerings. Nevermore created a haunting atmosphere of almost pagan proportions. An underlying menace that will finally get to you once you progress into its murky depths.
True, the metal is harsh, abrasive, scratchy and mean. But this is more than made up by the stellar musicianship and this deceptively haunting heap of emotion that you will find – at times – difficult to digest. And the sum of all these grinding and moving parts forms an album to reckon with for years to come still.
Record Rating: 7/10 | Label: Century Media Records | Web: –
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