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4.23 | 18 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1999

Filed under Thrash Metal


1. Ophidian (0:46)
2. Beyond Within (5:11)
3. The Death of Passion (4:10)
4. I Am the Dog (4:13)
5. Dreaming Neon Black (6:26)
6. Deconstruction (6:39)
7. The Fault of the Flesh (4:54)
8. The Lotus Eaters (4:25)
9. Poison Godmachine (4:33)
10. All Play Dead (4:58)
11. Cenotaph (4:39)
12. No More Will (5:45)
13. Forever (9:20)

Total Time: 66:05


- Warrel Dane / Vocals
- Jeff Loomis / Guitar
- Tim Calvert / Guitar
- Jim Sheppard / Bass
- Van Williams / Drums

- Christine Rhoades / Vocals (female) (track 5)

About this release

Century Media Records, January 6th, 1999

Recorded at Village Productions, Tornillo, Texas, United States.

Based on Warrel's girlfriend/fiancee getting caught in a religious drug cult and disappearing, presumed dead.

After track 13:
Silence (06:39)
Hidden track (0:09)

The US and European versions have different cover artwork (the version pictured here is the US).

Released by Night of the Vinyl Dead Records in October 2011 as a double gatefold regular black vinyl with insert limited to 400 handnumbered copies.

Thanks to The Angry Scotsman, UMUR, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Even more than any other Nevermore album, Dreaming Neon Black always seemed to have a darkness and intensity that was all its own. This is some potent, dense thrash that fully revels in its progressive nature, as well as the twisted story the late Warrel Dane weaves along the way. The concept, according to Dane himself, deals with a man who gradually succumbs to insanity after he loses his lover to a religious cult. Eventually this insanity becomes all sorts of various tragedies surrounding our main character. Sounds happy, right? Believe me, though, this stuff is the perfect base for the incredibly creepy and depressing moods the music itself creates. You really feel the conviction of the band right from the opening thrasher (aside from the intro) "Beyond Within," which seamlessly blends the intense drive of Jeff Loomis' riffing with a variety of tempo shifts for every mood the song wants to convey. And there are several; from one song alone, we get rage, desperation, anxiety, and futility all in this track. Simply put, this is the most emotional album Nevermore ever put out.

And the greatest thing about this is that there's so much sincerity and even beauty lurking in the record's uninviting outer shell. If I were to pick Dreaming Neon Black's centerpiece in this regard, it's definitely the bleak title track. This is one of the rare ballads we get to hear from the band, and the doomy chorus constantly gives off the feeling of drowning in Dane's personal abyss. Even the faster numbers on the album usually exhibit some interesting experiments that further the atmosphere, such as the wonderful classical guitar leads that kick off "No More Will" or the bizarrely off-kilter rhythms and atonal guitar chugs that define how uncomfortable the mood of "The Death of Passion" is. Even more interesting are the softer segments, such as the strange note-bending in "All Play Dead" or the minimalist clean guitar that closes the album with "Forever." More traditional Nevermore numbers come in the form of the straightforward melodic thrash of "I Am the Dog" and the intricately performed media-bashing prog/thrash combo heard in "Poison Godmachine." But even then, these still serve to advance the story and inject their own form of energy into a deeply affecting piece of metal music. Dreaming Neon Black is the most consistent Nevermore album from a songwriting standpoint, and it also happens be the most emotionally resonant one at the same time. How much more could you want out of one of the most impressive metal bands of both the 90s and 2000s?

~Rest in peace, Warrel Dane. 1961-2017~
"Dreaming Neon Black" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US, Seattle based metal act Nevermore. The album was released through Century Media Records in January 1999. "Dreaming Neon Black" is a concept album based on lead vocalist Warrel Dane´s personal experience of losing a girlfriend to a religious cult and never hearing from her again. I remember reading an interview from that time, where Dane told that he had nightmares where he saw her drown, and that inspired him to write the lyrics for "Dreaming Neon Black". The concept of the album is only losely based on Dane´s experiences though and in reality tells a story of a man slowly going insane after losing his loved one. The lyrics are spiced up with social, religious, and political issues (which is not unusual for Nevermore), but they´re not dominant themes on this particular release.

Since the release of "The Politics of Ecstasy (1996)" guitarist Pat O'Brien left to join Cannibal Corpse and the band enlisted Curran Murphy (Shatter Messiah) as a touring guitarist for the tour supporting "The Politics of Ecstasy (1996)". Before the recording of "Dreaming Neon Black" guitarist Tim Calvert (Forbidden) joined on a permanent basis, making Nevermore a five-piece again. His tenure would be brief though as he departed again after the tour supporting the album.

Musically Nevermore took a gigant step in a heavier and more technically challenging US power/thrash direction with "The Politics of Ecstasy (1996)" and to some extent that tendency is continued on "Dreaming Neon Black", which in many ways is an even darker and heavier release than it´s predecessor. It´s a more varied release than the predecessor though also featuring more clean/acoustic guitar sections, more melody, and of course the lyrical concept which runs through the entire album.

Tracks like "The Death of Passion", "The Fault of the Flesh" and "Poison Godmachine" are absolutely scorching, featuring extremely fast riffs, and technically challenging drumming, but as mentioned the material is varied and you´ll find tracks like the semi-progressive epic power ballad type title track, the heavy mid-paced "Deconstruction", and the dark and atmospheric "All Play Dead" and "Cenotaph" on the album too. The variation is predominantly a strength and it keeps the 13 track, 66:05 minutes long album interesting throughout. To my ears some tracks are however a bit sub par to the best material on the album and in that respect "Dreaming Neon Black" isn´t a 100% perfect release. Especially "Deconstruction", which is a bit too long, and songwriting wise not especially adventurous, and "The Lotus Eaters", which has never left much of an impression on me, fit into that catagory. The two closing tracks, "No More Will", which features a messy structure, and the stripped down ballad "Forever", are also quality wise in that catagory. The high quality of the rest of the material (and it´s not like the above mentioned tracks aren´t of great quality, they are just not as great as the rest) make up for it though and there are both enough jaw dropping moments and stunning melodies on the album to warrant calling this a high quality release.

The musicianship are as always an asset on "Dreaming Neon Black". Nevermore are all highly skilled musicians and especially lead vocalist Warrel Dane and guitarist Jeff Loomis stand out for their brilliant performances on this album. It´s one of Warrel Dane´s most varied and memorable vocal performances (although he always delivers high quality performances) and Jeff Loomis as always just stands above the rest when it comes to guitarists. He is positively on fire on this album, shredding, bending, playing fast, playing melodic, distorted/acoustic and everything in between. I´d especially mention his performance on "I Am the Dog" as very original sounding. The rest of the band are very well playing too and deserve a mention too. Van Williams is both a powerful and adventurous drummer, who is able to drive the music forward in an aggressive manner, yet play more subtle when that is called for (his percussive playing on "Cenotaph" is an example of the latter). Jim Sheppard´s bass is pretty high in the mix, and it´s great that the listener is allowed to hear what a great player he is. Tim Calvert mostly plays rhythm guitars on the album, but judging from what is being played, he is a very capable guitarist.

The Neil Kernon sound production is detailed, powerful, dark and heavy. As mentioned the bass is placed pretty high in the mix, and as a result "Dreaming Neon Black" is probably Nevermore´s heaviest sounding album. So almost everything works really well on the album from production, to skilled musicians playing at the top of their game, to predominantly brilliant songwriting and a 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved.

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