Review by shadowdoom9 (Andi) for Nevermore - Dead Heart in a Dead World (2000) Review by shadowdoom9 (Andi) for Nevermore - Dead Heart in a Dead World (2000)

shadowdoom9 (Andi) shadowdoom9 (Andi) / January 24, 2019 / 0

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"

Comments (4)

shadowdoom9 (Andi) shadowdoom9 (Andi) / August 27, 2021

I wasn't saying this was the very first 7-string metal album. Of course it was used in the mid-90s by Morbid Angel, Meshuggah, and Dream Theater, but other than the nu metal part of the scene, it hadn't reached higher popularity until when bands like Nevermore, Fear Factory, and Deftones started using those guitars when the new millennium was dawning. Perhaps I didn't make that description clear enough, I shall reword that...

Daniel Daniel / August 27, 2021

Andi, I'm aware of the link to nu-metal however my point was simply that the speculation in your review around "Dead Heart In A Dead World" being the first metal record outside of the nu-metal scene to use 7-string guitars isn't accurate. Meshuggah started using them exclusively from 1995's "Destroy Erase Improve" album,  Morbid Angel used them on a whole bunch of tracks from 1993's "Covenant" & 1995's "Domination" (in fact, when I saw Morbid Angel play on the tour for "Domination" they used a dual 7-string attack for the majority of the gig) & Dream Theater used them on a good chunk of 1994's "Awake".

shadowdoom9 (Andi) shadowdoom9 (Andi) / August 26, 2021

I understand that 7-string guitars were used in a few songs/albums by 1990s death/progressive metal bands and Steve Vai, but the usage was highly popularized by the dreaded nu metal part of the scene. It wasn't until the turn of millennium when 7-string guitars reached that amount of popularity for other rock/metal genres besides nu metal, including Nevermore and the more mainstream bands that aren't or used to be nu metal like Fear Factory and Deftones, and even Muse!

Daniel Daniel / August 26, 2021

For the record Andi, 7-string guitars were used pretty extensively in the metal scene throughout the 1990's. The trend was started by guitar virtuoso Steve Vai around 1989/90 but everyone from Meshuggah to Morbid Angel to Dream Theater were using them prior to Nevermore jumping on the band wagon in 2000.