Praises To The War Machine (Century Media)
Pre-release nattering had everybody thinking this would be a huge departure from Nevermore, and thankfully, it's still a heavy metal record through and through, even if Warrel goes for a rhythmic, mostly mid-paced loud/soft dynamic throughout. What this does is allow space for Warrel's apocalypse-shaking vocal performances, which peak near beyond comprehension come chorus time. Production is of the crunchy, crackling modern hi-fi sort, neither here nor there, another similarity to Nevermore. Soilwork and Himsa guys form Warrel's band, and what they do is chug like Zakk but all shiny-like with lacerating, classy riffing that mirror the drama and personal anguish in Warrel's voice. Best of the lot are the angular and energetic 'The Day The Rats Went To War', the quite similar 'Patterns' and the smeary and In Flames-ish 'Equilibrium' all surprisingly to the end of the album - this ain't front-loaded, but balanced, level-headed, resolute, with dimension revealing itself over time and time to percolate with the damn thing as it reveals its dividends.