By Carl C. Sundberg
It’s been about five years since Nevermore released a full-length album. Between world tours, solo projects and life in general, it’s just the reality of a busy, legendary progressive thrash band from Seattle, WA.
But Nevermore is back with a vengeance with their seventh studio album, “The Obsidian Conspiracy”, an album that finds Nevermore taking their monstrous sound to a brutal new level. It was produced by former Soilwork guitarist Peter Wichers and mixed by the notorious Andy Sneap.
Vocalist Warrel Dane spoke with us about the album, the artwork, the early days of the band fighting through the grunge movement that exploded in their home city of Seattle in the mid-90s, and his thoughts on the heavy metal movement of today.
Q: It’s been five years since your last record, why so long?
A: Well it didn’t really take five years. I know it seems like that for a lot of people, but for us it doesn’t seem that long. We toured almost two and half years for the last record, and when we were done, we focused on doing a DVD. Then after that we did a couple of solo records that Jeff and I obviously had to get out of our systems. So it’s not like we really went anywhere, we were just doing different things.
Q: Now this album has some pretty intense artwork. Tell me about what went into it, what were you guys trying to do with it.
A: Well you know, Travis [Smith] is amazing. He’s a great artist and anytime he does a Nevermore cover, people know it’s going to be something special. And whenever that happens, I work pretty closely with him; we lob ideas back and forth. For me it’s always important for the artwork to really reflect the music and the lyrics, and I think it really does. But at the same time I’m not going to explain it all, literally, but you can see that the Washington monument is decaying in the background. So I think you get the gist of it probably.
Q: What were some of the themes on Obsidian Conspiracy?
A: Suicide, murder, abortion and capital punishment.
Q: Wow. Very aggressive.
A: Yeah, within the context of some of the mellower songs, you’ll find some very, very subversive text.
Q: When you’re writing lyrics, where do you get the ideas? Are you a news watcher, is it stuff that happens in your own personal life or…
A: I’m a life watcher, I’m not sure that I’m a news watcher, but I watch CNN sometimes. Fox News makes me wanna kill myself. But the weird thing is if you watch CNN when you’re not in America, it’s completely different. It’s so slanted here toward our agenda. A lot of people don’t know that. But uhh…I get my influences from pretty much every thing; I’m not really sure how to explain that.
Q: Nevermore started in the mid nineties when the grunge movement happened, and you guys were from Seattle doing metal, tell me about that period - the early days.
A: That was a really weird time. Basically anybody that was playing metal in this city was completely disrespected by the media and other musicians in this city. So it was rough. But we always had our ideals in place. We knew what we were doing. We knew what we wanted to do and weren’t going to change it. I just remember when we first started, technically when Nevermore first started, it was under contract from Sony because of Sanctuary and we gave them demos, and this is the first response I got, and it goes like this: Frankly I expected something a little grungier. [Laughs] So that should clue you in to what the climate was back then. So basically they said no, after we’ve kept you on a leash for three years, you can go find a contract on your own and that’s when Century Media signed us.
Q: Was there ever a time during that period where you guys thought maybe we shouldn’t be doing this, maybe we should go grungier?
Q: At what point in Nevermore’s career did you see the tides turn more in your favor, in terms of the metal scene?
A: Well, I’m not really sure if the tides really have turned. But I know that perseverance pays off. There’s a reason we’re still here right now.
Q: What’s your thoughts on heavy metal in general, has it reached its pinnacle, is there room to grow?
A: Any genre has room to grow, but I’m sure metal isn’t going anywhere right now. Actually I know it’s not going anywhere, cuz its always going to be here. But within any genre of music, there’s always room to grow and boundaries to be expounded on. I’m not sure if we’re doing that, but at least we’re trying a little bit.
Originally published on 101d.com