Enemies of Reality
posted on 7/2003
Three years later the follow up to quite possibly the finest Nevermore offering (Dead Heart in a Dead World) is unleashed. Enemies of Good Production, excuse me Enemies of Reality found the band strapped with a lower recording budget this time round so the Seattle foursome turned to Kelly Gray basically out of convenience and availability. Which you may know of his work with Queensrÿche, Dokken, and even Candlebox, now how’s that for a resume? Very apparent from the get go EOR lacks anything of production attributes that producer-extraordinaire Andy Sneap achieved with the band’s last release and basically half of what Neil Kernon has been able to contort from the Nevermore crew as well. An absolute shame and downright criminal because beneath the murky recording lies some well thought out metal which I wouldn’t expect anything less from Nevermore but due to Gray’s lack of knowledge with this particular genre the “live” aspect of Nevermore that he tried so hard to achieve falls completely short of the goal. The backbone of Shepard and Williams has been basically shut down when ultimately needed the most. Nevermore has stepped up the aggression with EOR but without the robust twunk of Shepard’s bass and the whiplash of Williams kicks busting you in the chest, the outcome proves rather unhealthy indeed. The guitar heavy mix may satisfy the home aspiring guitar freak but for those of us that need the complete package it’s quite obvious that EOR will not get the attention of spin-time that basically all releases prior have received. Call me fickle, but in today’s harsh metal environment production is everything and those that skimp and release shotty productions will eventually just fall to the wayside of great producing and engineering. Again though Nevermore are the victims here and the lack of ability and know-how to write and perform their patented breed of metal is ever apparent throughout EOR but for me I just cannot get by the fact that this album could be so much more with a certified knob twister at the helm.
Clocking in right at the 40 minute mark EOR does showcase Nevermore for the band they have become but with past releases they have stepped up to the plate with an advancement in sound and savvy whereas EOR seems a bit more of the same then of the new. With six releases under their belt and five of them moving me to the maximum I guess it was inevitable that the band come to somewhat of a standstill. You will of course find Loomis shredding the fret board with class and flare. There are beefy rhythms throughout for the boy to light the fire of the lead with mighty impact. As always Dane brandishes quality vocals and lyrics with potent finesse and grace. Dane has always had the ability to write choruses that stick and in turn have you singing right along in an instant. Williams does have the chops behind the kicks but again they are lost somewhere in the shady loom of bad production. Shepard is given bass credits but I am not quite sure where he is within this album but I have to believe he did play a few notes. Now dwelling on the “shit aspect” wasn’t precisely my goal here because within EOR there are downright good songs, the title track and very much classic Nevermore sound does get the blood pumping and is nothingless of the quality that Nevermore can achieve. In all actuality all nine tracks harness potential but at the end of the day something just doesn’t sit right with me by way of staying power and also by way of reaction. I consider myself a pretty big fan of this band but closing an eye because of that just cannot be done. So here’s to the next Nevermore album because after EOR has been lived out they will return will an album that will leave this fucker as one bad memory. Every band needs one stinker in their collection and I guess I am glad they got it out of the way.
Bottom Line: Regardless of the final outcome of EOR this album is very much Nevermore, lower the technicalities of great sounding albums and you have winner here. If you have been living under a rock and haven’t heard of Nevermore I would suggest investigating their back catalog before picking this one up. I have complete faith that once I do see these songs performed in a live environment that Nevermore will possibly make a believer out of me but until than “I still believe in nothing.”
The Obsidian Conspiracy
Enemies of Reality (Remixed)
This Godless Endeavor