Dreaming Neon Black


Century Media, 1999


REVIEW BY: Riley McDonald


The metallers from the deep south (well, Seattle, but that's deep to me) return with their most experimental album to date.

I've always been a big fan of Nevermore, and this was the album that really opened my eyes to their musical and lyrical intricacy.

The album starts on a strange note. The 0:46 intro track is comprised of whirring helicopters, a heart monitor flatlining, and a strange voice saying "We've been waiting for you." Finally, we're hit with an exploding riff by lead guitarist Jeff Loomis, and the supremely powerful vocals of Warrel Dane. From then on in, we're taken on a wild ride in this semi-concept album. From what I've been able to piece together through painstaking hours of research (or, more correctly, five minutes on a search engine) was that this album tells the story of a man who's love drowns in a lake, and he slowly goes mad, and starts to blame things like religion and politics. Finally, in the haunting finale, he commits suicide, by throwing himself in the same lake his love fell into.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This entire album is very complex, both musically and lyrically. Dane's amazing voice can turn from melancholy lamenting over his lost love, to his stern vocals, usually affiliated with cursing something, to his fantastic falsettos, all within a matter of seconds. Jeff Loomis continues to create some of the greatest, most multilayered solos ever imaginable, and also making some ingenious riffs.

Of the many highlights of this album, one of the main ones would be the interesting "ballads". I call them that simply because they are not spine-shattering metal assaults. The two on this album would be the title track, adeptly showcasing Dane's vocal range, and Loomis' guitar virtuosity, and 'The Lotus Eaters', a tear-jerking track, seemingly about a plea to God, with down-tuned guitars, and Dane's heart-wrenching singing over top.

But to balance out the album, we'd need to blistering metal! This comes in almost all of the tracks, but the greats of these would be 'I Am the Dog', a fast-paced track detailing the main character's descent into madness ("And everything I used to be/has spiraled into insanity…"), and 'Poison Godmachine', a track sounding very similar to their previous album, The Politics of Ecstasy, with powerfully anti-media lyrics.

Much like all concept albums, Dreaming Neon Black ends with the epic, haunting track 'Forever', in which the character decides to "join his love" by "swimming through her". His last words are the echoing "I'm dreaming neon black". Followed by a seven-minute silence. Finally, just as the album is about to end, we here the helicopter blades, and the sinister voice, saying triumphantly "We've been waiting for you". Simply majestic.

This is by far one of the better metal releases out their. Loomis' amazing guitar skills have placed him on many a metal fan's top 10 lists, while Dane is a marvelous vocalist. Nevermore does no wrong with this CD, and by picking it up, you shall do no wrong either.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2003 Riley McDonald and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Century Media, and is used for informational purposes only.