Band Photo: Nevermore (?)
From: Seattle, WA, United States
Last Known Status: Active
Seattle, Washington is a city well-known for being the rain-ridden suicide capital of the U.S., but to many others, Seattle is known as the epicenter in a dark abyss of emotion that fuels the creative disposition of Nevermore. Joining a variety of musical sub-genres that were never meant to be mutually exclusive, the band successfully emblazoned themselves with a grey aura of enigma that has become their legacy.
Intelligent men who held no preconceived notions of what they should sound like, NEVERMORE launched themselves in 1994 and have never forsaken the histories of their varied backgrounds. Providing a backbone of resilience are ex-members of Sanctuary: the charismatic vocalist Warrel Dane and steadfast bassist Jim Sheppard, who survived their major label experience by the strength of their integrity when the world all-too-willingly embraced the grunge movement. Lending a modern influence to the band’s blueprint was guitarist Jeff Loomis, whose classically trained background added an unmistakable depth to song composition and whose death metal heritage supplied ample vehemence. Drummer Van Williams solidified the nucleus of the band with his undulating, propulsive rhythms. Drawing inspiration from the darker things in life, it became obvious the strain of their collective creation defied categorization.
Nevermore’s impressive self-titled debut - which began their five-year collaboration with internationally renowned producer Neil Kernon of Judas Priest, Queensÿche, and Dokken fame - surfaced in 1995 and landed them a U.S. tour with Death and a European tour with Blind Guardian. The band soon welcomed ex-Monstrosity guitarist Pat O’Brien into the fold and 1996’s In Memory EP soon proved to critics that volatile melody and aggression could be successfully intermixed. But it was The Politics Of Ecstasy (also released in 1996) when Nevermore came into their own by showcasing the higher degrees of their technical musicianship. When Pat O’Brien left to join Cannibal Corpse, the band quickly recruited ex-Forbidden guitarist and long-time friend Tim Calvert who contributed to the songwriting in 1999’s conceptual masterpiece Dreaming Neon Black, a morosely dark and articulately beautiful exploration of the peaks and valleys of human emotion. Puncturing the underground with its sanctity was the bleak storyline that followed a man’s descent into madness and ultimate suicide after the mysterious death of the only woman he loved. Metal Maniacs hailed it as “a concept album that rivals Queensrÿche in its ambitiousness and perhaps even the mighty Iron Maiden in execution.” A rigorous touring schedule through the U.S. with Mercyful Fate and headlining shows in Europe & Australia led Tim Calvert to re-evaluate his commitment to the band, and ultimately he opted to leave.
Forced to return to their original four-member configuration, the band’s resilience and bold resolve to top themselves kicked in as they headed to the desert with new producer Andy Sneap (Machine Head, Testament, Kreator) and to the haunted Village Studios in Texas. The result of their fevered creativity was the extraordinary, ‘must-have’ record of 2000: Dead Heart In A Dead World. Audiences around the world were phenomenally receptive to this infinitely complex musical maze crowned by the massive sounds of Jeff Loomis’ seven-string guitar, Jim Sheppard’s five-string bass, the maelstrom drum work of Van Williams, and the arresting poetic power of Warrel Dane. Metal Maniacs praised it as “a collection of songs that summons forth a boldness that sounds ‘epic’ while never giving in to pomposity. NEVERMORE’s biggest achievement yet.” Outburn Magazine simply called it “perfect.” Throughout the worldwide press that year, the astute, darkened luminosity of Dead Heart dominated “Best Album” lists, and fans in every country celebrated the amazingly emotional balladry and the unforgiving sonic bludgeoning Nevermore masterfully refined. Live, they became known as “The Chaos Bringers” and held audiences of thousands at the Wacken Open Air, Dynamo, and With Full Force festivals in the palms of their hands. The band was constantly on the road, sharing stages with Arch Enemy, In Flames & Shadows Fall, Opeth & Angel Dust, and had their 2001 tour with Savatage cut drastically short by the events of September 11th.
For two years, Nevermore’s superbly crafted and complicated versatility has been brooding. Thanks to the assistance of Queensrÿche/Dokken producer Kelly Gray, we are once again invited into the band’s dark subconscious with 2003’s Enemies Of Reality. Warrel Dane’s visceral, clarion calls leads the band to more limitless heights armed with the indestructible backbone of drummer Van Williams and bassist Jim Sheppard while venom, foreboding, and poignant despair continue to be born from the hands of Jeff Loomis within the confines of one song. The title track pummels you with its ferocity and cerebral aggression; “Never Purify” is a forlorn lament of the dismal reality we’ve surrounded ourselves in; and the emotionally evocative “Who Decides” exudes the insightfully mature observations through hindsight of a life lived in extremes.