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Neverborne - "In Absence Of Fear" (CD/EP)

Neverborne - "In Absence Of Fear" CD/EP cover image

"In Absence Of Fear" track listing:

1. Without Fear
2. Neverborne
3. Cycle Of Existence
4. Misery Curse
5. Gone, Bye Tomorrow

Reviewed by on July 15, 2011

"Neverborne doesn't do anything particularly new with the melodic death metal genre on 'In Absence Of Fear,' but what they do, they do well."

The opening track of Neverborne's "In Absence Of Fear" sets the tone for the rest of the album. We start with a melodic — often quite beautiful — instrumental section before descending into death metal howls. Then, we alternate between melody and savagery for a while (sometimes with a killer guitar solo) before the end of the song. In other words, it's melodic death metal. And, though Neverborne never quite manages to bring anything new to the genre, it's more than competently played and quite well-produced.

The EP's best track, "Neverborne," shows the band's strengths off well. Guitarists Jacques Fourie and Stuart Manicom show considerable versatility, with an opening section that almost feels like jazz before turning on a dime and launching into a brutal riff. Even when things are at their most savage, Manicom and Fourie manage to keep a sense of melody present, with some excellent lead guitar work. The two even blend in some acoustic strumming that somehow manages to not feel out of place.

Warren McManus' vocals are the typical death growl, with some minor interruptions of clean vocals on "Neverborne" and "Gone, Bye Tomorrow" performed by guest vocalist Pete Morten. Vocally, the best track on the disc is "Without Fear," which features McManus and female bassist Sharne Manicom playing off each other quite well.

On the negative side, the formula I described in the opening does start to wear a little by the disc's end. That said, the EP's one bum track is "Misery Curse," which relies overly much on a single riff, which has the effect of making the track feel longer than its four-and-a-half minutes.

Neverborne doesn't do anything particularly new with the melodic death metal genre on "In Absence Of Fear," but what they do, they do well. Some more risk-taking on future releases could be what it takes to make this good band great.

Highs: "Without Fear" and "Neverborne"

Lows: The band's approach sometimes feels formulaic.

Bottom line: A good melodic death metal EP that shows some hints of greatness possibly to come.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)