Nevermore: The Obsidian Conspiracy

It's been five years since the release of Nevermore's last album. The Obsidian Conspiracy is the result, and it was entirely worth the wait.


The Obsidian Conspiracy

Label: Century Media
US Release Date: 2010-06-08
UK Release Date: 2010-05-31
Label website
Artist website

Nevermore is one of those rare bands with an unbeatable track record, the kind of band that somehow always manages to impress fans with each new release. Over the course of their 16-year career, the Seattle natives have defied every standard and bucked every trend in the metal world, while still maintaining an enormous following and garnering rave reviews. In the five years since their last studio album, This Godless Endeavor, Nevermore has released their first DVD, The Year of the Voyager, and also seen solo releases from lead singer Warrel Dane (Praises to the War Machine) and lead guitarist Jeff Loomis (Zero Order Phase). With anticipation and expectations running high, the band is finally back with The Obsidian Conspiracy, an album that displays the full spectrum of Nevermore's capabilities to great effect.

Vocal performance is extremely prominent on The Obsidian Conspiracy, with Dane at the top of his game throughout the album. His massive range is used to its fullest extent, displaying incredible highs on the title track and dizzying lows on "The Day You Built the Wall". Of higher notice, though, are the subtle techniques Dane uses to enhance his delivery. The slight rasp in his voice on "Without Morals" greatly intensifies the anger in his lyrics. Similarly, small tremors placed on key words in "Moonrise (Through Mirrors of Death)" truly convey the sorrow and regret of the song. These tiny adjustments are what help Dane transcend from being a solid lead singer into being one of the best in the world, and they also make his style truly unique in the metal world.

Of course, Nevermore would not be as popular or well-received as they are without the extraordinary talents of Jeff Loomis. His compositions for this album are outstanding, spanning the length and breadth of the band's influences, as well as using styles from bands that Nevermore have themselves influenced. The title track has a strong thrash presence and riff structure that would fit perfectly in Arch Enemy's discography, aside from Dane's clean singing. "Your Poison Throne" maintains an excellent power-prog style akin to Kamelot, and opening track "The Termination Proclamation" is a wonderful groove metal song, with a rapidly ascending chord structure in the main riff that would make Dimebag Darrell proud. "And the Maiden Spoke" is the highlight of the album, drawing elements from progressive and neo-classical metal, but with a highly technical structure similar to Dream Theater.

With such diverse sounds in the album, it's hard to deny that Nevermore has nearly universal appeal. Few bands have such talented musicians in their ranks, and The Obsidian Conspiracy sees their talents used simultaneously to create a titanic musical force. It may bear some similarities to the band's older material, but this is truly a unique and special album from a veteran band. The Obsidian Conspiracy shows maturity and willingness to experiment, both within and outside their established style, and it also displays their firm grasp of their musical identity. These qualities are why Nevermore have remained so popular, and with this album, their popularity will definitely continue.






'We're Not Here to Entertain' Is Not Here to Break the Cycle of Punk's Failures

Even as it irritates me, Kevin Mattson's We're Not Here to Entertain is worth reading because it has so much direct relevance to American punks operating today.


Uncensored 'Native Son' (1951) Is True to Richard Wright's Work

Compared to the two film versions of Native Son in more recent times, the 1951 version more acutely captures the race-driven existential dread at the heart of Richard Wright's masterwork.


3 Pairs of Boots Celebrate Wandering on "Everywhere I Go" (premiere)

3 Pairs of Boots are releasing Long Rider in January 2021. The record demonstrates the pair's unmistakable chemistry and honing of their Americana-driven sound, as evidenced by the single, "Everywhere I Go".


'World War 3 Illustrated #51: The World We Are Fighting For'

World War 3 Illustrated #51 displays an eclectic range of artists united in their call to save democracy from rising fascism.


Tiphanie Doucet's "You and I" Is an Exercise in Pastoral Poignancy (premiere)

French singer-songwriter Tiphanie Doucet gives a glimpse of her upcoming EP, Painted Blue, via the sublimely sentimental ode, "You and I".


PM Picks Playlist 3: WEIRDO, Psychobuildings, Lili Pistorius

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of WEIRDO, Brooklyn chillwavers Psychobuildings, the clever alt-pop of Lili Pistorius, visceral post-punk from Sapphire Blues, Team Solo's ska-pop confection, and dubby beats from Ink Project.

By the Book

The Story of Life in 10 1/2 Species (excerpt)

If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This excerpt of Marianne Taylor's The Story of Life in 10 and a Half Species explores in text and photos the tiny but powerful earthling, the virus.

Marianne Taylor

Exploitation Shenanigans 'Test Tube Babies' and 'Guilty Parents' Contend with the Aftermath

As with so many of these movies about daughters who go astray, Test Tube Babies blames the uptight mothers who never told them about S-E-X. Meanwhile, Guilty Parents exploits poor impulse control and chorus girls showing their underwear.


Deftones Pull a Late-Career Rabbit Out of a Hat with 'Ohms'

Twenty years removed from Deftones' debut album, the iconic alt-metal outfit gel more than ever and discover their poise on Ohms.


Arcade Fire's Will Butler Personalizes History on 'Generations'

Arcade Fire's Will Butler creates bouncy, infectious rhythms and covers them with socially responsible, cerebral lyrics about American life past and present on Generations.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Thelonious Monk's Recently Unearthed 'Palo Alto' Is a Stellar Posthumous Live Set

With a backstory as exhilarating as the music itself, a Thelonious Monk concert recorded at a California high school in 1968 is a rare treat for jazz fans.


Jonnine's 'Blue Hills' Is an Intimate Collection of Half-Awake Pop Songs

What sets experimental pop's Jonnine apart on Blue Hills is her attention to detail, her poetic lyricism, and the indelibly personal touch her sound bears.


Renegade Connection's Gary Asquith Indulges in Creative Tension

From Renegade Soundwave to Renegade Connection, electronic legend Gary Asquith talks about how he continues to produce infectiously innovative music.


A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.