The Obsidian Conspiracy review by Nevermore

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  • Released: May 28, 2010
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (83 votes)
Nevermore: The Obsidian Conspiracy
4

Sound — 9
There were several of us who were a bit worried when it was announced that Peter Wichers would produce the new album. Wichers and Dane worked together on Dane's excellent solo album, Praises To The War Machine. While it was a very enjoyable effort, the question-marks raised regarding how Wichers/Dane would mesh with Loomis were indeed justified. Not only that, but the simple fact that they'd again write and record as a four-piece after the departure of relative newcomer Steve Smythe. When listening to the album, it's clear that the production remains the same. Nevermore's efforts in the past decade have one constant, and that is the style of production that Andy Sneap introduced them to. It is heavy, thick and complements Jeff Loomis' accentuated and aggressive riffs perfectly. If we completely disregard the quality of playing, then I'd say Jeff hasn't sounded this good ever, his solo effort aside. He has had performances but none have been captured as well as on The Obsidian Conspiracy. Behind all of this remains the spine, the backbone of the Nevermore sound and that is the combination of Van Williams' drumming and Jim Shepherd's bass. It might not be the first thing to catch your attention, but remove it and the void is immense.

Lyrics — 8
Warrel Dane is one of the most easily recognizable vocalists and lyricists in modern metal. It's obvious that Dane feels comfortable when working with Wichers, because they have managed to retain the same relaxed and focused vibe they established on Praises To The War Machine. While it is a far cry from the Sanctuary, or even Politics-days, Warrel stays within his comfort zone and delivers exactly what the song needs, and that is his unique touch and style. It might be that Warrel used some of his best writings in recent years for his solo effort, such as Messenger and When We Pray, that would've fit nicely into Nevermore's realm. Half-jokingly, I would've liked more references to the pigs (Born) but Warrel still has his style and his way of putting things that make him stand out above other lyricists in the genre.

Overall Impression — 8
It's been awhile since Nevermore recorded as a four-piece and I'd still liken this album to Dead Heart In A Dead World, which in many ways was a watershed between the old and the new Nevermore and was a huge source of debate within the fanbase. Is The Obsidian Conspiracy as controversial? Not nearly, as it's not that much of a departure from their recent string of albums. The Peter Wichers-influence is very noticeable as it's safe to say that he has affected the direction of the band on this album, but it still sounds fresh and unmistakably like Nevermore. It is on the short side of what we're used to, at roughly 44 minutes split onto 10 tracks. In my book, that's obviously not a bad thing as there's little room for filler and the guys deliver the goods without missing a step. One of my friends said that it's a good album but there aren't that many songs where you find yourself saying now we're talking, like with riff-fests such as Born and Enemies of Reality. I'm inclined to agree, but Nevermore still know how to pen a good, catchy and heavy song. It is undeniably heavy, it's just not as riff-and-solo-centric as This Godless Endeavor was. Then again, that was one of the best albums in that department of the past decade, so trying to top it in the same fashion would almost have been foolish. The Obsidian Conspiracy will probably disappoint a few fans, but on the whole it's an extremely solid effort, that manages to bring something new to the band's sound without completely altering it. I have a hard time finding a song that doesn't have something worthwhile, as both Loomis and Dane rarely miss the mark in a song. Some songs have a vibe where Warrel takes the frontseat, and some let Jeff shine a bit more. Playing off one another on such a level and with such reliability is extremely rare, and that's one of the key reasons why Nevermore are still hugely successful, almost 20 years after their inception.

49 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Pr0teZT
    Very nice review! Altough I really miss the super riffs, the songwriting is as solid as ever. I have to say I think Enemies of reality was loomis' best recorded performance (even better than his solo CD). But that's just a matter of taste.
    rebofthetemple
    travislausch wrote: But the instruments are still guitar-centered. Right? I mean, it's not like Jeff is sitting there strumming open-position major chords, right? I really don't get it when people say "there's no riffs!". Bad riffs are still riffs. It's still guitar-centered even if it's not up to standards. I've only heard the title track so far, though. But I've really liked what I've heard.
    It's meant that Loomis is taking a back seat to Warrel; while indeed there are still riffs and plenty of them, the technicality from This Godless Endeavor has pretty much disappeared in favour of--as many have pointed out--more conventional song structures.
    Psycroptipath
    Pretty kick ass album. Groovy as **** and a lot more thrash. Some of the lyrics are cheesy as, but you get that with warryl dane. Definitely worth a buy
    Deplorable
    So bad by Nevermore's ridicuously high standards, mt first listen a few song jumped out at me (ATMS, Termination Proclamation and the title track), but everything else remained bland, unfortunatley it hasn't grown on me at all and I've listend plenty of times. Those three songs are still awesome though.
    McNuttynz
    Iv only listened to a few songs but i have really enjoyed them, hopefully the entire album is great!
    IainDavies_2
    Strangely enough, This Godless Endeavour is not one of my favourite Nevermore albums, for me it goes: 1. Dead Heart In A Dead World 2. Enemies Of Reality 3. This Godless Endeavour 4. The Politics Of Ectasy I can listen and enjoy all those albums but compared to the way most people feel about TGE, it didnt quite do it for me, which is strange considering im a big prog metal fan, but songs like Born, Final Product, My Acid Words, The Psalm Of Lydia, and This Godless Endeavour (although structurally a bit weird) i loved.
    beansk8rkid
    I have heard the album. I have been a Nevermore fan since enemies of reality, and its fair to say, The Obsidian Conspiracy is the best Nevermore album, period.
    Jon777
    Dakkstar wrote: I still think Dead Heart was the best album.
    Agreed. I still need to check this out, though.
    FallenSaint
    The album is without a doubt a departure from what most nevermore fans came to expect. As big of a Loomis fan I am, I am glad they experimented more with Warrel melodies and composition ideas (If you listened and loved Warrels solo record, you can see why the album sounds like it does.) Jeff has stated several times that the band did not want the next record to be This Godless Endeavor Part deux (Love it or hate it, This Godless Endeavor is a testament of the bands progress and state of mind) The Album has tons of great melodies (Moonrise,Emptyness Unobstructed,She Comes In Colors, The Blue Marble and The New Soul) as well as aggression to spare (The Termination Proclamation Moonrise, The Maiden Spoke,Without Morals,The Day Your build the Wall, She Comes In Colors, Title Track). All I have to say is give it a couple of listens, you'll get their "Ah ha!" moment soon enough (I sure did) and truly appreciate and respect the art that it is. Disappointment? Only if you wanted the band to keep repeating themselves to obscurity and refuse to bring out their potential. Mark my words. The next album is going to be the melodies of Obsidian with the aggression of Enemies and the complexity of Godless IMO, the best song that represents this album as a whole is Without Morals.
    chelo666
    I agreed with you dude[quote]Chelo666 wrote: I'm a huge nevermore fan and I find that Loomis is one of my biggest influences in music but, I barely liked like 4 songs.It's obvious that they tried to be a bit more melodic in this album. After listening to it a couple of times I liked it a bit more. I definitely dislike Poison Throne. It's not loomis , I just hate Dane's "rise"crap lol
    trendkill-
    great review. its nice to see a well written review and not some "oh this album is perfectly amazing" type of review that is all to common.
    synths
    Good review. I think this cd is definantly a cd that will have to grow on you. But i ****in love it! Perfect blend of Loomis and Dane.
    bigtimmy
    great album, i love it. last two songs on the album are truly badass. love the main riff off 'she comes in colours'
    jrakus
    Fantastic. I can't find a single thing to criticise. A great dose of nevermore 10 of 10
    ProgJazzMath
    If I had a dollar for every time you said 'Effort', I would have a lot of money. Kidding though, I haven't listened to this yet, but I am extremely excited for it. Jeff Loomis is the man.
    travislausch
    But the instruments are still guitar-centered. Right? I mean, it's not like Jeff is sitting there strumming open-position major chords, right? I really don't get it when people say "there's no riffs!". Bad riffs are still riffs. It's still guitar-centered even if it's not up to standards. I've only heard the title track so far, though. But I've really liked what I've heard.
    EpiExplorer
    Its good, but I think Heathens Evolution of chaos just smashed its way past everything.. this came a lil' late for me.
    khujo1023
    Good review, I was initially one of the people disappointed with this album. But by the third listen it was salivating at all the controlled chaos forming melody of madness.
    Quantonyne
    That was a good review, i have been waiting for this CD for a long time. Nevermore live is a sight to see, they can deliver the goods up to studio quality. Hope they tour for this album.
    drawnacrol
    Great review, I've been a nevermore fan for about 5-6 years now and "This Godless Endeavor" is one of my fav albums so I'll defintly check this one out
    espalexi666
    Just finished listening to the album...it`s great,loomis has some great riffs in this record specially on the title song..and dane`s vocals are just impecable...love the record...they just seem to get better and better thru time
    bastardsodecent
    It's far from the best thing they've put out. My new order- Dead Heart in a Dead World This Godless Endeavor Enemies of Reality Politics of Ecstacy Dreaming Neon Black The Obsidian Conspiracy Nevermore In Memory Not to say the albums bad...I just can live without the songs on it, they don't inspire me that much (bar most of the title track), too vocal orientated for my taste, needs more guitar work Loomis!
    reignofrock
    This album is probably my biggest disappointment of... the last 5 years? Usually any first listen of a Nevermore album I love like 80% of the songs. I think after this one I liked 2 out of the 10. Maybe it will grow on me, but so far I am really bummed.
    FFChris
    I was initially underwhelmed, but after a few listens, I absolutely love it. Definitely an album that will grow on you.
    Magero
    ^Vocals first, duh. Jeff said that this album was going to have more focus on Warrel, and I reckon that was a bit of a stupid move. The album isn't bad, but it's pretty evenly split between tracks that rule and tracks that just don't go anywhere. There's definitely a lack of serious riffage on the album, too many soppy chorus' with terrible lyrics.
    dave1Mustaine
    i dont know what people are bummed out about. because loomis isn't shredding all over the place this time. the songs are solid and its a sick record. its definitely a grower though. listen to the album 3 times and youll find yourself listening to nothing but this album for a long time.
    rebofthetemple
    The lack of a guitar-first focus on this record definitely made me go 'meh' upon first listening to it, but after a few listens this album easily grows on you. Once you get past the fact Loomis is not dominating the entire record, it's easy to see the shear awesomeness of The Obsidian Conspiracy. The Termination Proclamation is probably one of the catchiest things Nevermore ever created.
    Dynamight
    I didn't have high expectations for this album and I'm still disappointed. The song structures come off as either formulaic, convoluted, or both. Some riffs even sounded like they came straight from Zero Order Phase. Basically, some interesting riffs but not one fully enjoyable song.
    illuminatiano
    Severely disappointed in this. If I wanted to listen to Warrel Dane's solo music, I would. This album is intensely boring.
    G.9
    illuminatiano wrote: Severely disappointed in this. If I wanted to listen to Warrel Dane's solo music, I would. This album is intensely boring.
    Did you give it several listens? My first run-through was pretty disappointing as well. Currently, the only song that I dislike is the title track; vocals seem tagged on. While not "intensely boring," the album had few crazy moments that were characteristic of the "Enemies of Reality." The signature riffs of "She Comes in Colors" and "Moonrise" were pretty much it as far as the all-out mosh pits moments were concerned. And the intro of "Termination Proclamation," but things sludged after that. I feel as if the solo efforts of both Warrel and Jeff were misplaced. There were certainly some places where I felt like Loomis wanted to pull off a solo from Zero Order Phase... and "Blue Marble and New Soul" definitely drew from Warrel Dane's "Brother." As far as solos are concerned, the only thing that got me high as something like "This Godless Endeavor" or "Engines of Hate" was "Without Morals." Probably the best vocal performance among Nevermore's discography, however. About song structures; yeah, a little more conventional and formulaic than usual. But overall, a pretty catchy alb.
    Edika
    Haven't listened to it yet but I am no expecting much. After Dreaming Neon Black I have not enjoyed a full Nevermore album.
    COBHC728
    This album sounds more like Warrel and Jeff's solo albums combined, not Nevermore. Really simple and boring song structures throughout, no awe-inspiring guitar work... Pretty disappointing guys.
    Carl_Berg
    Yeah it is really boring... guitars are exceptional though... but where are leads like Born??
    RocknRollRay
    yeah loomis isnt goin crazy because he didnt want another solo album featuring nevermore, the band isnt just loomis, its everybody. but since your a guitarist, you only focus on the guitars. vocals are solid, the drums are awesome, thank the gods loomis didnt just wank solos everywhere.
    travislausch
    rebofthetemple wrote: The lack of a guitar-first focus on this record...
    So what's it got? Bass-first? Keyboard-first? Accordion-first? Kalimba-first?