Album Of The Week – July 4, 2022

This week it’s time to have a look at one of metal’s now-bygone bands. They were heralded yet quite underrated, always noticed but never quite breaking through to the heights many thought they ought to achieve. The album in question would be recognized by many as one of the best (if not the best) they have done.

Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor

Released July 26, 2005 via Century Media Records

My Favorite Tracks – Medicated Nation, The Psalm Of Lydia, Sentient 6

The album marked the band’s sixth effort. The core lineup of vocalist Warrel Dane, guitarist Jeff Loomis, bassist Jim Sheppard and drummer Van Williams would remain. They would be joined on guitar by Steve Smyth, formerly of Testament.

The band would continue plying their trade in a straightforward metal sound that often defied categorization. While they “fit in” with the power metal scene, they were not power metal. Elements of thrash would appear but Nevermore certainly were not a thrash act. I don’t think they ever got properly sub-categorized in the whole of their 20 year history, though no such sub-category may exist.

The album runs 11 tracks in just under an hour, and with one being a very short instrumental. I’ll get it out of the way now so I don’t have to mention it on every song – the guitar work is absolutely out of this world. Jeff Loomis is a world-class guitarist and he was complemented well by Steve Smyth. The guitars are always high points of Nevermore albums.


The opener goes hard and heavy, kicked up a notch even for Nevermore. The song is an indictment of the stagnant pool of beliefs that keep society pinned down from progress.

Final Product

Another brutal number in both music and verse. More about the negative aspects of the world and how they are dragging everything down. Pretty spot on and very much unimproved from the 17 years since this song first hit.

My Acid Words

Yet again with the caustic and harsh assessments, the band does not relent via instruments and Warrel Dane goes even harder with the lyrics. It is a cold and ultimately heartless conclusion rendered in the song. I had thought that Dane had said this song had to do with his brother but I imagine that would have been an interview from a print magazine and I can’t find it to confirm. I do believe my recollection is correct, though. It was obviously a tragic story.

Bittersweet Feast

A song that several cite as their least-favorite from the record but one I enjoy. There are two distinct lyrics being delivered in the pre-chorus, which takes a moment to get used to and can easily be missed. The song is a dirge about the fat and happy minions feasting on the remains of a dying society.

Sentient 6

The music turns down a notch to deliver a quasi-ballad. Of course the ballad is not typical fare lyrically – this song is about some sort of artificial intelligence being that struggles with the questions of humanity, tries to become like humans, then ultimately decides to destroy humans. All of the songs have happy endings on this album.

Also catch the Jimi Hendrix tribute, paid lyrically in the first verse.

Medicated Nation

Another of the album’s highlights for me and a track with possibly dual meanings. The literal interpretation of society being over-medicated is very real and very well discussed here. But many speculate that the intent goes beyond that and into the media, belief systems and various ways people figuratively medicate themselves from the realities of life and civilization.

The Holocaust Of Thought

A brief instrumental at not quite 1.5 minutes long. It features solo work from guest James Murphy, a metal guitar luminary who has logged work with Death, Obituary, Cancer and Testament, among many others.

A bit of an aside – in the mid 2000’s I was on a few message boards and on one of them, some guy complained endlessly about this song being on the album. Like, it’s not even two minutes long and you probably have it on CD anyway, just skip it dude. It just cracked me up because he complained about it at every possible opportunity, like maybe he was getting a dollar per complaint from someone, I don’t know. I just wanted to make sure I have that noted for posterity’s sake.

Sell My Heart For Stones

This song does stand out in a few ways. It is another quasi-ballad, so it gives a bit of a breather. It is also has a far, far more positive outlook than what has been playing so far. It’s honestly a breath of fresh air to actually have something philosophically positive for once.

The Psalm Of Lydia

This song picks the pace back up and goes into a bit of fantasy territory, at least a shade. Lydia seems to be a mythical, prophetic figure who winds up “slaying the demons.” Perhaps Lydia is slaying the metaphorical demons being chased throughout the first part of the album, there is lyrical evidence to make that conclusion. And also this song is guitar solo after guitar solo, just a magnificent work. No clue who Lydia actually is or what this song’s true composition is about, but it gets the job done.

A Future Uncertain

Heading towards the album’s close is this ponderous affair that offers a bit more introspection and hope than the savage beginning half. The song doesn’t quite arrive at its own lyrical conclusions but that’s probably surmised by the title.

This Godless Endeavor

We close on an epic, nearly nine-minute movement that questions the meaning of life and searches for answers in the void. The song does not waste its time, rather it keeps moving with more philosophical lyrical fare and, of course, more guitar.

This Godless Endeavor was a significant work for Nevermore, the work was praised by critics and the band toured with several acts during the cycle – they would open for old friend Dave Mustaine and Megadeth and would even get a support slot with Disturbed in 2006. In hindsight it is considered one of their best two albums and is often found at number one on a lot of lists. Even back in late 2009 when I was blogging elsewhere I named it one of my top five albums of the decade of the 2000’s.

Nevermore would not get to realize much greater promise from their masterpiece. Health problems beset, well, the entire band save Jeff Loomis in 2006-07. The group would record one more album in 2010, then split up. Loomis would link up with Michael Amott in Arch Enemy, while Warrel Dane would resurrect the pre-Nevermore outfit Sanctuary. Reunion talk began in the mid 2010’s but was ended when Warrel Dane died of a heart attack in 2017.

I have always felt Nevermore was a band that was kept a bit too far under the radar. A lot of people knew them and were into them, yet they didn’t latch on in a wider fashion. Their sound was heavy but not alienating to many listeners like extreme metal often is. And the sometimes very heavy lyrical matter is dressed in a higher vocabulary that keeps it from being just some noisy ranting about the world. Maybe the really were “just” a metal band without a way to further sub-categorize them, but they certainly were not “just” a metal band.

Album Of The Week – January 24, 2022

Last week was fun, going back through hair metal and all the stuff that happened in 1991. This week is back to absolutely no fun. I’m going back to 2005 and grabbing one of my favorite “no fun, people suck and everything is awful” black metal albums.

Naglfar – Pariah

Released June 30, 2005 via Century Media Records

My Favorite Tracks – And The World Shall Be Your Grave, A Swarm Of Plagues, Revelations Carved In Flesh

Naglfar underwent major change before the release of Pariah. The band’s founding vocalist Jens Rydén left the group after their prior effort Sheol, leaving bassist Kristoffer Olivius to helm the group. Naglfar had just gained a fair bit of momentum from Sheol and would be tested to provide a worthy follow-up.

Pariah sees an exploration of misanthropic themes, the album’s songs connected in an evisceration of the human experience. This is a level beyond being upset that Karen can’t put her shopping cart back in the proper place at the store – this album calls for the nuclear destruction of humankind in multiple songs. It moves past the need to express angst as a way to let off some steam and enters the territory of condemning civilization as a whole. We are far past the point of breaking stuff, this is all out war.

I will visit each of the 8 proper songs track-by-track, leaving off the brief intro Proclamation.

A Swarm Of Plagues

The album begins with a mission statement focusing on the destruction of humanity. It is pure textbook misanthropy – due to the wayward nature of humanity, it should perish in nuclear flames. The destruction is judgment rather than an accident. Sonically the song flies along at a frenetic pace until a mid-section interlude that offers one of the album’s few moments of subtlety.

Spoken Words Of Venom

This song embraces hatred, whether it’s of an individual or humanity as whole is unclear. The music does not let up off the accelerator through the track, while lyrically Olivius mows down his target with every negative word in the thesaurus. It is an unsettling way to dismiss the whole of someone’s existence.

The Murder Manifesto

Here the band turn the tempo down just a hair as the song’s narrator stalks his prey. There seems to be a theme of a dark cult confronting its more holy adversaries in this song rather than simply someone killing for the sake of doing so. It is a targeted, focused effort in the album’s setting of the end times of civilization.

Revelations Carved In Flesh

Another track about murder, though this time it seems this death cult is recruiting willing sacrificial lambs for its slaughter. This song stands out a bit for its melody and creativity amongst the ever-present backdrop of misanthropy. The lyrics do quite explicitly spell out the ritual murder and are in line with a fair bit of death metal fare. The grotesque final verse is especially something as easily found on a Cannibal Corpse album as opposed to black metal.

None Shall Be Spared

This song returns to the worldwide scope of things, declaring a war against the Abarahmic faiths. It is not openly stated though the lyric’s targeted aim of “2,000 years of lies” offers up the theme well enough. It is the ceremony of opposites in its final form, bringing about the end rather than existing in a perpetual state of debate.

And The World Shall Be Your Grave

It is again time to visit the ultimate expression of misanthropic leanings – the end times. Here the world perishes by way of nuclear war. The lyrics, of course, celebrate this outcome. Nothing could justify a misanthropic perspective more than humanity dooming itself with its own creation. Misanthropy is sometimes, like nihilism, a warning rather than an outlook, but on Pariah it is the perspective and the all-consuming nuclear end is the goal. It all leads to the same end regardless of what lenses one looks through things with.

The Perpetual Horrors

Heading toward the album’s close, this song begins to turn the concept of external hatred on its head a bit. Any expression of this kind of negativity will inevitably lead one to look in the mirror, and this song is a glimpse into the themes present on Naglfar’s next album. Humanity is still suffering and dying here, but the cause is looking at his own hollow, rotten core this time.

Carnal Scorn And Spiritual Malice

Perhaps conceptually, the album ends with all of the hatred and spite being turned on the album’s “protagonist.” Finding existence pointless, he brings about his own end in disturbing and explicit fashion. Still railing against the tenants of the world that irk him, mainly religion, our humble hater goes out on his own terms rather than the nuclear war prophesied throughout the rest of the album. The album’s final sound brings the point home.

Pariah is an album executed with ferocity and a fanatical railing against humanity. It does not often contain nuance and its lyrical offerings are explicit and profane. Naglfar’s sound does recall their renowned countrymen Dissection in both music and theme but is not purely an exercise in worship of that band. While Naglfar are on a prominent record label in Century Media and have had their name discussed in many circles over the years, they remain something of an underground proposition even within the structure of black metal.

I do hold that Pariah is my favorite album from the band, though there is stiff competition in the albums both proceeding and following this. Both Sheol and especially Harvest will get time here in the future. I by no means claim to espouse the intense level of misanthropy found here but I do “get” it just the same. My time not long after this album’s release was rather dark and music like this was a release. And now from what I’ve seen of humanity in the past several years I can’t help but wonder about those nuclear fires from this record. It is scary when society starts to catch up to the dark fantasy.