Praises to the War Machine is the debut full-length solo album by Nevermore frontman Warrel Dane. I´ve followed Warrel Dane´s career since I saw the video for the Sanctuary song Future Tense on Headbanger´s Ball back in 1990. Allthough it wasn´t until Sanctuary disbanded and I heard Nevermore´s self-titled debut album in 1995 that I got really hooked on Warrel Dane´s vocal style, there was something about that Future Tense song and that angry yet very melodic sounding lead singer that captured my attention back in 1990. I´ve been a dedicated fan of Nevermore ever since the release of their debut album and remain a fan today, so checking out Warrel Dane´s first solo album was a matter of course.
So what have the man with the great voice conjured up for us here on his first solo album? Well as Warrel Dane is a singer more than a composer he has teamed up with Soilwork guitarist Peter Wichers who has co-written all tracks but three on the album with Warrel Dane. The last three songs are a cover of Lucretia My Reflection by The Sisters of Mercy, a cover of Patterns by Simon & Garfunkel and the last track on the album called Equilibrium which is co-written with guitarist Matt Wicklund ( Himsa, Sol Negro, God Forbid). Both Peter Wichers and Matt Wicklund handle guitars and bass on the album. The drums are played by Dirk Verbeuren ( Aborted, Scarve, Sybreed...etc.). With musicians as accomplished as those the musicianship on the album is of course top notch.
The production by Peter Wichers is very polished and professional. Too polished if you ask me, but that´s an aquired taste.
The music on Praises to the War Machine is heavy metal/ power metal. The focus is fully on Warrel Dane´s voice and vocal lines which means that there is next to no challenging instrumental parts on the album. Personally I sure do miss the fierce Jeff Loomis riffs and solos that makes the intrumental side of Nevermore´s music so rewarding. All songs are traditionally vers/ chorus build and they are instantly memorable with strong melodic choruses and hooks. This is the kind of album that is instantly enjoyable but quickly grows stale. It didn´t take me more than 3 or 4 listens before I started to find the music trivial. it´s really too bad because with a vocal capacity like Warrel Dane I had expected much more. Instead he has made the most predictable album he could. There are absolutely no surprises on Praises to the War Machine and I find myself disappointed.
Overall Praises to the War Machine is still a quality heavy metal album with a professional production, excellent musicianship and professional ( yet trivial) songswriting, so a 3 star rating is warranted.