This eponymous debut from Seattle's Nevermore had the right combination of traditional metal attitude and musicianship to garner significant attention in the European metal scene. The band was even awarded a much-coveted appearance at the Dutch Dynamo Open Air Festival -- the most prestigious event on the massive European metal festival circuit. Ex-Sanctuary members Warrel Dane (vocals), James Sheppard (bass), and Jeff Loomis (guitars) joined up with drummer Van Williams and second guitarist Pat O'Brien to form and record Nevermore without a record deal but with influential metal producer Neil Kernon, who had worked alongside legends like Judas Priest and Queensrÿche. Nevermore shouldn't strike Sanctuary fans as unfamiliar. Dane's vocals and lyrics are dramatic, and the musicians make a forceful power metal noise. While similar, Nevermore's music has a dynamic, progressive edge to which the straight-ahead '80s European-style metal of Sanctuary never aspired. A distinct Queensrÿche influence -- less apparent on Sanctuary discs and more pronounced on later Nevermore work -- can be heard within the clean guitar arpeggios and smooth vocal inflections on the tracks "The Sanity Assassin" and "The Hurting Words." A musical step forward for Dane and company, Nevermore launched the respectable underground metal career of its namesake via refined songcraft and excellent musicianship.
by Vincent Jeffries