Always a band unencumbered by the usual cliché's that clutter less magnificent albums, Nevermore's long-awaited "The Obsidian Conspiracy" barges in grooves galore with the rollicking "The Termination Proclamation." Its tempo infectious and lyrics acidic, it's here that Warrel Dane and the three other warm bodies in the band still prove they have a fire burning inside them. Apparently five years of solo albums and hiatus time hasn't blunted their edge. Even when a particular track isn't a masterpiece (i.e. "Your Poison Throne"), it still stands a cut above the rest of the dross out there.
A considerable amount of heft gives "Moonrise (Through Mirrors Of Death)" a thunderous verve that steamrolls our misgivings and easily bags the trophy for the album's heaviest, thrashiest, and most glorious song next to the edge-of-your-seat title track that appears at the end. As "The Obsidian Conspiracy" creeps toward its middle, Warrel and co. pull a 180, spinning a supernatural yarn whose complexity belies Nevermore's considerable imagination. If "Moonrise" is the hardest track on the album, "And The Maiden Spoke" is the most progressive. In fact, together with "She Comes In Colors," the emotionally charged semi-ballad "The Blue Marble and The New Soul," and the gloom that wraps "The Day You Built The Wall" in a cloud of gray, almost half of Nevermore's latest is dedicated to gratifying the band's quest for—much as this scribe hates the word—progressive finesse.
Since Andy Sneap is no longer working the knobs as producer, "The Obsidian Conspiray" does have its own polish and expectant fans may take it two ways: either they appreciate the quartet's new 'streamlined' sound or hate how much of the grit present on their last album has been left on the cutting room floor. On the musical front, Nevermore's abilities are a no brainer. Guitarist Jeff Loomis is impeccable, Warrel Dane even more so in his lower register wails, though the former's incessant grooves do get tiresome. Let's not forget the rhythm section looked after by Jim Sheppard and Van Williams; they're a tight unit whose efficiency on drums and bass allows for the other 2/4ths of the band to shine. A satisfying album that in no way diminishes Nevermore's broad appeal. After this, expect Seattle's resident metal titans to enjoy a lengthy and hallowed dominion over their loyal fanbase.
1. The Termination Proclamation
2. Your Poison Throne
3. Moonrise (Through Mirrors Of Death)
4. And The Maiden Spoke
5. Emptiness Unobstructed
6. The Blue Marble And The New Soul
7. Without Morals
8. The Day You Built The Wall
9. She Comes In Colors
10. The Obsidian Conspiracy