Rating:
5.2
Nevermore - The Obsidian Conspiracy
28 May 2010


01. The Termination Proclamation
02. Your Poison Throne
03. Moonrise (Through Mirrors Of Death)
04. And The Maiden Spoke
05. Emptiness Unobstructed
06. The Blue Marble And The New Soul
07. Without Morals
08. The Day You Built The Wall
09. She Comes In Colors
10. The Obsidian Conspiracy
11. Crystal Ship [The Doors cover]
12. Temptation [The Tea Party cover]


What do a five year wait, a couple solo albums, trying to live up to a masterpiece, conflicting artistic direction, and totally mangling a sound that needed little improvement all have in common? They're all reasons why Nevermore's last release before deteriorating as a band, The Obsidian Conspiracy, underwhelms. Severely. In 2010, five years after the raw and hate-fueled masterpiece This Godless Endeavor was unleashed upon our unprepared society, Nevermore released this nonsensical escapade, and I could hardly believe I was listening to the same band; and no, as you might have already guessed, I don't mean that in a positive way.

It would be foolish to underrate an album simply because it follows a career highlight in the discography, and though I cannot deny that my expectations were certainly high, The Obsidian Conspiracy fails simply because it isn't good. What happened to all the thrash-laden vitriol? What happened to the rough, energetic anger? Nevermore has certainly flirted with modern metal at various capacities in the past, such as the outstanding Dead Heart in a Dead World, but never has it been this bland or lacking in character. The product sounds more like a rejected Soilwork recording, and that's saying something. Its all too clean, accessible, and melodic, losing the band's unique sound and style; furthermore, even the heavier moments feel forced, almost as if they were trying to satisfy the fans' desires to receive vicious material in part without truly having their hearts in it.

Its pretty clear that the songs try to cater to the formula of Warrel Dane's solo outing (which I actually enjoyed) while mixing it with Nevermore-lite material. The problem is that it simply doesn't work for this band. The tracks are painfully structured and many parts seem plain out of place (see the awful title track and the chorus of "The Termination Proclamation"). All attempts to stuff Nevermore's songwriting into a neat, concise package have failed miserably. Warrel himself is seriously showing his age here, his talents and cold conviction quickly fading into something more akin to the mundane ramblings of a senile, old man: uninspired and uninspiring, lacking the charismatic power or depth that made past works such a treat. Loomis's dazzling guitar work has been restrained, as well.

Basically, I just really dislike The Obsidian Conspiracy in almost every way. In retrospect, it's fairly easy to see why the band fell apart shortly afterward. I can't completely condemn it, as it isn't technically horrible and I actually enjoy a few of the songs despite their relatively tame nature ("Emptiness Unobstructed" and "Without Morals" are particularly decent). However, I'd still count it among my most significant musical disappointments along with Kamelot's Poetry For The Poisoned, another 2010 underachiever. Simply weak.

Performance: 5
Songwriting: 5
Originality: 6
Production: 7


Band profile: Nevermore
Album: The Obsidian Conspiracy


 


written by strade | 16.03.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Staff review by
Daniell

Rating:
10
How does a band top a masterpiece? For example, they change a lot. South of Heaven after Reign in Blood felt shockingly slow and heavy. Or they try to copy their best release, with mixed results: see Enslaved's Ruun or Testament's New Order. Another way to tackle the post-masterpiece syndrome is what Nevermore did - and let me tell you in advance that they did it beautifully - you take what you did best and eliminate the elements that weren't perfect. Assuming that it's done by a band as talented as Nevermore, the final product must be at least outstanding. Or even brilliant, and I'm happy to announce to you dear readers, that brilliant is what The Obsidian Conspiracy is.

Read more ››
published 15.08.2010 | Comments (71)



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Sonic MrSumo - 16.03.2012 at 03:58  
Great review!
Troy Killjoy - 16.03.2012 at 03:58  
Completely agree with the score and the review. This is such a mild, tame, bland, whatever other adjective you wanna use to describe how utterly ineffective it is release it's amazing how strong its predecessor is. I'm not a fan of the band by any means and I don't even rate TGE that highly (maybe a 7.5 or 8) but this is just a dud.
strade - 16.03.2012 at 04:03  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 16.03.2012 at 03:58

Completely agree with the score and the review. This is such a mild, tame, bland, whatever other adjective you wanna use to describe how utterly ineffective it is release it's amazing how strong its predecessor is. I'm not a fan of the band by any means and I don't even rate TGE that highly (maybe a 7.5 or 8) but this is just a dud.


Glad to have your support, Troy.

I did love TGE so I felt especially betrayed when this came out. I was in denial at first, pretending I liked it despite its shortcomings. That didn't last for long.
strade - 16.03.2012 at 04:04  
Written by Sonic MrSumo on 16.03.2012 at 03:58

Great review!


Thanks.
Until the End - 16.03.2012 at 04:06  
How this album got awarded best thrash album of its year is a complete and utter joke. I'm the same, I'm not the biggest Nevermore fan but TGE is about a 7/8 out of 10 and this isn't half that.
strade - 16.03.2012 at 04:09  
Written by Until the End on 16.03.2012 at 04:06

How this album got awarded best ANYTHING of its year is a complete and utter joke.


Fixed that for you.
Until the End - 16.03.2012 at 04:10  
Written by strade on 16.03.2012 at 04:09

Written by Until the End on 16.03.2012 at 04:06

How this album got awarded best ANYTHING of its year is a complete and utter joke.


Fixed that for you.


Thanks for that, it was needed!
R'Vannith - 16.03.2012 at 04:20  
I still don't understand how some find this such a massive decline, for me this album has a very similar sound to Dead Heart. Not as good of course, but a solid offering nonetheless. I'll admit my opinion on this one never seems to stay put, sometimes I enjoy it, sometimes less-so.
It has a strange watered down feel about it, yet it's still very much engaging. There is much less bite and that's because it seems to lean more to the groove side of things.

It's a divisive album no doubt about that. The difference in the opinions here is testament to that.
Good review strade.
strade - 16.03.2012 at 04:27  
Written by R'Vannith on 16.03.2012 at 04:20

I still don't understand how some find this such a massive decline, for me this album has a very similar sound to Dead Heart. Not as good of course, but a solid offering nonetheless. I'll admit my opinion on this one never seems to stay put, sometimes I enjoy it, sometimes less-so.
It has a strange watered down feel about it, yet it's still very much engaging. There is much less bite and that's because it seems to lean more to the groove side of things.

It's a divisive album no doubt about that. The difference in the opinions here is testament to that.
Good review strade.


Thank you, my compadre! Yes, I can definitely see a reasonable comparison between this and DHiaDW. I just think this one's vastly inferior in comparison to that album's mood and feel. I like DHiaDW less with the years, anyway. In my opinion: great, yes. Amazing masterpiece? No. This has always been one of those bands where I almost completely disagree with norm on (like Stratovarius). After all, I almost dislike TPoE as much as this one, and feel total indifference towards Dreaming Neon Black.

I guess I'm just weird when it comes to popular metal bands. :-P
Apothecary - 16.03.2012 at 04:35  
Thanks for taking the time to write this review. Much better and sensible than the ridiculous 10.0 one.
This album is honestly the only Nevermore release I haven't liked. A few good tracks here and there, but the lyricism and the energy of the music just pales here compared to their previous work.
Alex Fenger - 16.03.2012 at 04:59  
I think the fact that they had to follow up such a magnificent release adds to the disappointment in many fans, including myself. More of a 6/10 from me
corrupt - 16.03.2012 at 10:14  
Pretty good review, nice job. I don't find it that bad but I can follow your reason in regard to the songwriting and especially the lyrics. On the other hand it cannot have been easy for the band to lose another great guitar player and reform again. During the Godless Endeavour tour 2005/2006 the band was so full of energy and their concerts just magical. In recent years it looked more like occupational therapy with a Jeff Loomis looking like he could fall asleep from boredom any second. The question remains though, whether they needed to release a new album under these circumstances in the first place. A split after the previous one would have made them legends. Now it looks like they tried to milk their fame for the last penny before throwing the towel even though I'm quite positive that it was an honest release. Or attempt thereof.
Zaphod - 16.03.2012 at 10:30  
I can see where you're coming from most of the times, and you have some valid points. However, I loved this album myself, almost as much as its predecessor. Yeah, weird huh?
Darkside Momo - 16.03.2012 at 11:33  
Mostly agree with your review, even if I think it's too harsh. The Obsidian conspiracy is weak, sure, but it has its moments. Even if it's not on-par almost everything in their back catalogue, that's for sure.
K†ulu - 16.03.2012 at 13:44  
I like and understand the review although don't agree with it. However, making statements like "even the heavier moments feel forced, almost as if they were trying to satisfy the fans' desires to receive vicious material in part without truly having their hearts in it" are very risky to make in a review because they are extremely subjective. To me, the album never feels like that; there is some genuine heaviness here worth being put along The Godless Endeavor itself.

I agree that Warrel Dane sometimes sounds underwhelming here, but otherwise, I am quite satisfied with his performance. Yes, the record is somewhat simpler and more melodic, but that's what they were aiming for if one believes them. Loomis's performance is still on par with everything before, especially in soloing.

By the way, what do you think of "Blue Marble and the New Soul?"
thehondo - 16.03.2012 at 16:13  
Once again we see that after a masterpiece, anything that falls short following would be labeled a disappointment. Its really not that bad.
!J.O.O.E.! - 16.03.2012 at 16:25  
While I too disagree with the rating I'd have a hard to time making an argument for why it should be higher, bar 'Emptiness Unobstructed' and 'Without Morals' (as you correctly identified) this is a dreadfully average release.
strade - 16.03.2012 at 20:51  
Written by K†ulu on 16.03.2012 at 13:44

I like and understand the review although don't agree with it. However, making statements like "even the heavier moments feel forced, almost as if they were trying to satisfy the fans' desires to receive vicious material in part without truly having their hearts in it" are very risky to make in a review because they are extremely subjective.

By the way, what do you think of "Blue Marble and the New Soul?"


I always review albums that people have probably read a million objective summaries about with more subjective statements, since I don't see the use in repeating things everyone knows about them yet again. It is subjective, but that's as it meant to be. Ratings are subjective after all.

As for "Blue Marble and the New Soul," I do kinda like that one. Probably my third favorite track.
strade - 16.03.2012 at 20:54  
Written by thehondo on 16.03.2012 at 16:13

Once again we see that after a masterpiece, anything that falls short following would be labeled a disappointment. Its really not that bad.


Nope. I'm pretty sure I addressed that in the fact that I said it's simply not good. Also, I'm not even a heavy duty Nevermore fanboy. I like three of their albums, two a lot. That's it.
Milena - 16.03.2012 at 23:51  
I love the little .2 you added to the basic score

This was my humble contribution to a thread for a good review where everyone talks about the score.
nb - 17.03.2012 at 08:02  
I actually enjoy this album, as I do the other Nevermore albums. It is not as complex as This Godless, which is an awesomely complex piece of art, but it is still a good listen.
strade - 17.03.2012 at 21:47  
Written by Milena on 16.03.2012 at 23:51

I love the little .2 you added to the basic score

This was my humble contribution to a thread for a good review where everyone talks about the score.


Haha, thanks Mora. I was considering just giving it a 5.0, but I didn't want to keep giving perfectly even scores that seem generic. Also, 5.2 just seems kind of right.

Thus concludes me commenting on a score in reply to another comment concerning everyone talking about the score of my own review.
corrupt - 19.03.2012 at 13:41  
Written by strade on 17.03.2012 at 21:47

Thus concludes me commenting on a score in reply to another comment concerning everyone talking about the score of my own review.

Since I already commented on the review, I would say that the score is a subject of so much discussion because it appears to be worse than what your review says. Had you given it a 6.2, the numbers would appear closer to context. Yet it's OK. Daniell's score was way too high, yours is more on the low side. If I didn't know the album and just came here for the first time, I'd look for the score somewhere it the middle. And that sounds about right to me.

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