Review by shadowdoom9 (Andi) for Nevermore - Dead Heart in a Dead World (2000)
I've already mentioned the perfection of Dreaming Neon Black, but this album tops it off slightly more. Dead Heart in a Dead World is probably the best Nevermore album yet! This album has the band's signature progressive metal sound now with more influences from other genres, from the extreme elements of thrash metal, death metal, even a little black metal, to a bit of the more traditional power metal. That's what Queensryche should've had after their Promised Land album, instead of just...grunge, though I like Queensryche's albums slightly more now.
Not only that, this is Nevermore's first album with 7-string guitars, and this was at a time when 7-string guitars were getting more popular outside a few death/progressive metal bands and the nu metal part of scene. This proves that 7-string guitars aren't just for those bands and that has inspired many newer bands of different metal genres to start expanding the number of strings and their creativity.
The opening track "Narcosynthesis" is not the best song but has the typical solid riff-wrath. The first part is filled with anger, then it disappears in a slow cleaner chorus, the anger rises back up. "We Disintegrate" is one of my favorite songs in the album. Lead singer Warrel Dane shows his vocal ability like a metal god, singing in 4 different tones, from baritone to falsetto. The chorus is just filled with passion and sorrow. Fantastic! "Inside Four Walls" is kind of an angry protest against the mind-controlling government and religion. There is some more strong complex drumming and riffing under the raging line, "Is this the American way?... NO!!" But is this the American way of metal?! YES!!!
After all that bursting anger comes "Evolution 169", a ballad full of sorrow with a wonderful chorus. "The River Dragon Has Come" is one of the more popular Nevermore songs. An "unstoppable flood" digs everyone into his grave with no shelter or salvation. The whole "River Dragon" metaphor is a good idea with its dragon theme similar to "Becoming the Dragon" by Trivium, but the chorus is too repetitive with its same lamenting tone. "The Heart Collector" is another perfect song that helps you focus on what others expect and the "Heart Collector's" song to feel the pain of salvation within temptation (wait, did I just mention a couple other metal bands??). "Engines of Hate" is a great blood-driving song so insane and merciless. It has a mystical fast rhythm but gets broken up by a strange melodic bridge towards the end. That song's a good prelude to the band's next album Enemies of Reality.
You all remember the Simon & Garfunkel song, "The Sound of Silence"? Well who knew you can turn it into a death metal-sounding thrash tune with drilling riffs and a wonderfully gloomy theme!? That's what Nevermore did here! "Insignificant" is actually very significant, one of the saddest power ballads Nevermore has done. The lyrics talk about everything breaking down into insignificance and insanity with evidence of weakness. "Believe in Nothing" is another good ballad with happy-sounding classical guitar, showing a journey ending in emptiness and strange peace. That's actually how I became interested in this band, because one of my favorite bands, All That Remains did a cover of this song. The title track has a dark intro and shows what we see and feel in a cold, dead world. The rhythm may be broken, but the solo and chorus is dark and extraordinary. Man is definitely alone, but this album isn't!
Overall, this album has amazing guitar work and solos despite a bit of repetition, excellent drumming, great bass, and outstanding vocals, not to mention the strangely superb metaphysical philosophical lyrics and Andy Sneap's brilliant production. Great job guys!
Favorites: "We Disintegrate", "Inside Four Walls", "The Heart Collector", "The Sound of Silence", "Believe in Nothing"