Distributor/label: Dream Demon Recordings
Band Website: www.neverworldmetal.co.uk
Mike Vaughan – Drums
Ben Colton – Guitar/Bass/Keyboards/Vocals
Gary Payne – Bass
Jack Foster – Guitar
Daniel Potter – Keyboards
Christina Gajny – Guest Backing Vocals
1 – Tempus
2 – Visions Of Another World
3 – They Live
4 – Blood And Romance
5 – Ghosts
6 – The Wheel Of Misfortune
7 – Eminent Reprisal
8 – Salt Water Bandits
9 – This Fire
It’s well known that pacey power metal doesn’t sit too well against themes of the boring and mundane, so it’s no surprise Neverworld’s 2014 release seeks to treat us with ‘Visions of Another World’.
The tone from the outset seems to be one of something familiar that seeks to disorientate you. Opening the album with random percussive sounds, which built into soft piano before gradually exploding into something between Children of Bodom and Final Fantasy, threw me off the pace immediately. If the aim was to confuse you before reeling you, I’d say that was a bold strategy indeed.
The powerful, prog-standard vocals are the obvious forefront for a driving metal machine that transitions between scatterbrain insanity and drapes of cosmic elegance. The album shows great imagination in sustaining a wealth of diversity within quite a narrow spectrum. I found it to be an achievement of being able to blur your preconceptions of what your classic heavy metal record is all about. Listening to this, you’ll be gliding through galloping rhythm heavy sections and then all of a sudden open your eyes and you’ll be somewhere else. Somewhere you don’t recognise. Back and forth but always forward, both feel quite comfortable as different strands take precedent. There is a fine line when writing something with the linearity of a dream sequence, and not having it sound rubbish.
What’s always good to hear is something that feels alive. At times, the bands performance becomes this shape-shifting meld that each segment has a turn at coming to the fore. The guitar solos and the vocals take centre stage most of the time, as you’d expect, but special mention must also go to the guest vocals on ‘Blood and Romance’ and the keyboards throughout, as they both added a prominent layer of depth that stands tall in its own right.
This ‘other world’ on the most part is an adrenaline fuelled fairground ride; it’s that waltzer that won’t stop spinning and turning. As you’re knuckles turn white and you realise your haircut may never recover, then the mood dies down a bit. But these guys won’t leave you behind. They pick you up, dust you off, hand you a comb and a cup of tea and you are ready to roll again. This pattern plays out really well time and again because it doesn’t ever sit still long enough to become tiresome. It’s the kind of music you can see pleasing a lot of people and you can tell that they’ve really taken their time to put together.
It’s hard to tell which end of the spectrum between anthemic and relentless they sit because it’s crafted well from a number of angles. Wherever it is, it’s an uplifting mix of heavy and harmony that makes a big impact and in a variety of different ways. While the core sound might feel like something we’ve heard before and are comfortable with, it transitions through a variety of atmospheres that allows you to peer at something beyond the ordinary that demands to grab your attention. If you believe you’re listening to something you can tell they’re really proud of, then it’s easier to get swept up by it. I wouldn’t listen to it forever but when the fair comes by once a year, then why not.