|In the '80s metal hey day the city of Seattle was put on the map mainly for the successes of Queensryche and Metal Church, and to a lesser degree for such underground names as Forced Entry, TKO and the startling SANCTUARY (who released two outstanding albums on Epic Records while achieving cult status). As we all know a different wind began to blow in Seattle at the beginning of the '90s, so that even a few of the SANCTUARY members thought they had to follow the new grunge sound, and to keep it short - you've never heard of them again. However, vocalist Warrel Dane, guitarist Jeff Loomis and bassist Jim Sheppard decided to continue their vision for a creative and multi-faceted metal sound, and so NEVERMORE were born. Three full albums and an EP later, the band have pleased the ear of thousands of metal fans and at the same time have solidified their place in the realm of modern metal's elite hierarchy. NEVERMORE's latest creation, Dead Heart In A Dead World, further explores their original ways of melding melody and rhythmic brutality, while retaining the band's integrity throughout.
The first nucleus of NEVERMORE was completed when drummer Van Williams joined the band in 1994, and soon after internationally-reputed producer Neil Kernon (Judas Priest, Queensryche, Dokken) believed in the potential of the band enough to record their debut album at his own risk. NEVERMORE signed to Century Media Records who released the self-titled debut in 1995, and the band managed to raise a good amount of interest immediately within the scene (helped in large by their touring activities in Europe with Blind Guardian and the U.S. with Death). The follow-up In Memory EP and the second album The Politics Of Ecstasy portrayed NEVERMORE on a quest for their own unmistakable sound, as the band experimented with influences from various styles and impressed many with a high degree of technical finesse that seemed to actually add to the catchiness of their songs.
After The Politics Of Ecstasy the band split with their guitarist Pat O'Brien (now Cannibal Corpse) and after some long contemplation found former Forbidden member and long-time friend Tim Calvert to fill the vacant spot. With this line-up they recorded their 1999 masterpiece Dreaming Neon Black, which displayed the perfect balance between all the distinctive components of the NEVERMORE sound. There were complex mini-dramas, super-tight thrashing ditties and quiet, emotional passages opposed to angry noise eruptions. NEVERMORE managed to create an album equipped with numerous non-metal trademarks, although still metal enough that even the die-hard purists couldn't stop listening to the magic contained therein. Seemingly endless, but successful tours followed the release, as the band rifled through the States four times (with the likes of Mercyful Fate, Iced Earth and Arch Enemy), visited Europe again and even stopped in Australia for several headlining shows.
The bold endeavor proved to be a bit much for guitarist Tim Calvert who decided to leave the band in early 2000, and rather than viewing the change as a setback or seek a replacement the rest of the band accepted this fate as part of their continuous evolution.
As a four-piece NEVERMORE did not hesitate to scribe new ground, and once again returned to Village Productions just outside of El Paso, Texas to begin the recording of their fourth full album, Dead Heart In A Dead World. The year 2000 not only shows the band with a different line-up but also a new figure at the production helm, Andy Sneap (Machine Head, Testament, Earth Crisis, Stuck Mojo). As with the suspension of any long-term relationship, NEVERMORE were a bit nervous and at the same time anxious about a Kernon-less release, but as soon as the tapes were rolling the chemistry began to flow the band knew they had made the right choice. Dead Heart In A Dead World is a bold and natural album for Nevermore, and is the culmination of many years of fevered creativity and never-ending collaboration of these veterans.
Any fears of the band's sound being less full with the four-piece line-up are not only instantly abated, but also highly surpassed. The technical heaviness of NEVERMORE is readily apparent, and even in the album's more catchy material lies the band's undeniable trademarks, including Mr. Dane's unique, gripping vocals and bizarre lyrics, Loomis' and Sheppard's complex and fluent guitar arrangements and the bombastic rhythmic backbone of Williams. The dead world that the band portray on their new album is far more scathing and arid than the Texan plot it was recorded at, a disturbing place that could only be forged in the heart and imagination of the enigmatic NEVERMORE.