Nevermore - Dreaming Neon Black
Century Media
Atmospheric Heavy/Thrash Metal
13 songs (65.59)
Release year: 1999
Nevermore, Century Media
Reviewed by Aleksie
Archive review

*HEALTH WARNING/DISCLAIMER*
---This reviewer does not recommend that the album in case here is listened while any person within hearing range is in a depressed and/or burnt out state. Despite the musical mastery concealed inside this album, it has an ominous power of bringing dark and perhaps even self destructive thoughts to the listener. Although it is highly unlikely that a mere review of the same album can have that same effect on a person, the reviewer excludes himself from any responsibility of any incidents that this review alone might cause upon a reader.---

Think I am clowning around? Buy this album and make up your own mind. Because this album here, Nevermores Dreaming Neon Black, is one of the most unique records I have ever heard. First, I cannot name another band that would sound exactly the same as Nevermore. They have a truly unique sound. Second, the atmosphere of this record is almost unmatched in metal, with maybe the exceptions of The Crimson Idol and Operation Mindcrime. And third, the atmosphere is not only impressive, it is downright scary. One of my friends said it best once: “I sweat every time I listen to this record”. Gloomy and murderously dark music has never sounded better than Dreaming Neon Black.

I have had much discussion with my friends whether this is a fully-fledged concept album or not. I would say that it is. It tells the story of a man and a woman in love. That may not sound so frightening, but the lady of the story has a peculiar hobby. She practises odd, satanic cult activities, and every so often, leaves home to take part in gatherings of the same kind of people. Then one night, she does not return from the most recent gathering. Right after the disappearance, the man starts seeing eerie nightmares, where the woman is calling to him from the bottom of a dark lake, asking him to join her. After frequent similar nightmares, the mans sanity breaks completely and he ends his own life, joining his loved one. The most interesting and at the same time the most terrifying point of the story is that is said to be reality based. Based on the life of Nevermores singer, Warrel Dane. Sounds hard to believe, but that does not seem so far fetched after listening to the album. The lyrics are very personal and Danes singing is so heartfelt and emotional that it is not even funny anymore. Some reviews have even said that this is a stone cold fact. Who has the guts to go to Dane and ask for confirmation? I sure as hell don’t!

After a short intro of hospital noises, Ophidian, Beyond Within grunts out a monstrously heavy statement that is a microcosm of this album. Heavy, melodic, soaring, and haunting. The calmer interlude in the song makes the heavy parts seem even more brutal. Van Williams drums like a veritable machine. The Death Of Passion and I Am The Dog are two more masterful tracks of mayhem. Loomis´ and Calverts riffs and solos pound very efficiently, both on the crushing and melodic side. The mesmerizing title track begins with gentle acoustic guitars and Danes touching crooning until the slow, oppressing trash riffs charge in and Dane alters his voice to an extremely dark and low bellow. Christine Rhoades provides some really enchanting female vocals on top of classic acoustic and clean electric guitars that are guaranteed to bring chills to any spines that care enough to concentrate on the album. Deconstruction is another chilling "calm parts-heavy parts"-track that shows off Danes unbelievable range. Dark, almost growling shouts, psychotic screaming, beautiful balladeering, Halford-esque shouts, the guy can do it all. I can only think of Matt Barlow as another vocalist who has impressed me with such a range. The Fault Of The Flesh is my own favourite track off the record, with Williams going all guns blazing with the drums, but with remarkable taste, not overdoing it on the double-bass. Dane is at his most psychotic on this song, which is not easy to say, as his “psychosis-voice” has so many colours and extremes of expressing itself. The guitar riffs pummel the senses like The Undertaker in his prime (BURY EM DEEP!) and the harmony solos sound just as insane as Dane himself. The Lotus Eaters is simply depressing, and that is depressing in a good way. That if something is an acronyme. The slow tempo and the-surprise-surprise-unbelievable Dane make the track really sound like the ode of a person about to kill himself. And I´m not joking. Poison Godmachine and All Play Dead round up the really heavy side of the album, in very moshing and neckbreaking fashion. The final trio of Cenotaph-No More Will-Forever is something out of this world in emotional standards. They all begin with slow, acoustic pieces, with the two former picking up a heavy, distorted pace at parts as well. Forever closes the story with the clean guitars, bass and Danes jaw-dropping emotion. This guy is simply unbelievable. You must hear him first to believe it. The final three songs represent desperation and a sense of the final journey in ways that I have not heard anyone be able to do before. Beautiful, but at the same time painful. I usually don’t enjoy extremely gloomy and dark music. Nevermore is the biggest exception to that rule.

I would not say that this is one of the best metal albums ever made. In my view that would underestimate this record. I would say that this is one of the most unique metal albums ever. Usually if a studio album crosses the one hour mark in length, it is too long, when compared to the quality of the material. There is no filler to be found here. This album does not let the listener out of its grip till the odd delayed ending haunt of Forever hits the speakers after the nine minute mark. If anyone ever matches the atmosphere and emotion of Dreaming Neon Black, even Nevermore itself, I will do nothing more and nothing less than drop my jaw again, and salute in awe. In ten, fifteen years, this will be a metal classic, definitely. At least it should be.

Killing Songs :
Every damn one of em!
Aleksie quoted 99 / 100
Jeff quoted 84 / 100
Alex quoted 87 / 100
Dylan quoted 95 / 100
Other albums by Nevermore that we have reviewed:
Nevermore - The Obsidian Conspiracy reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 96 / 100
Nevermore - In Memory reviewed by Aleksie and quoted no quote
Nevermore - This Godless Endeavour reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 98 / 100
Nevermore - The Politics of Ecstasy reviewed by Brent and quoted 90 / 100
Nevermore - Enemies Of Reality reviewed by Marty and quoted 92 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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