ANNIHILATOR — Never, Neverland

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ANNIHILATOR - Never, Neverland cover
4.44 | 76 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 1990

Filed under Thrash Metal
By ANNIHILATOR

Tracklist

1. The Fun Palace (5:51)
2. Road to Ruin (3:42)
3. Sixes and Sevens (5:20)
4. Stonewall (4:50)
5. Never, Neverland (5:29)
6. Imperiled Eyes (5:28)
7. Kraf Dinner (2:41)
8. Phantasmagoria (3:59)
9. Reduced to Ash (3:09)
10. I Am in Command (3:34)

Total Time 44:03

1998 Re-issue bonus tracks:

11. Kraf Dinner (demo) (2:31)
13. Mayhem (demo) (2:54)
13. Freed from the Pit (demo) (3:45)

Line-up/Musicians

- Jeff Waters / guitars
- Coburn Pharr / vocals
- David Scott Davis / guitars
- Wayne Darley / bass
- Ray Hartmann / drums, percussion

About this release

Released by Roadrunner Records, September 12th, 1990.

Re-released in 1998 with three demo version bonus tracks.
Re-released in 2003 along with Alice in Hell in roadrunner's "Two From The Vault" series.

Thanks to Time Signature for the addition and the t 666, adg211288 for the updates

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ANNIHILATOR NEVERLAND NEVER reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"Never, Neverland" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Canadian thrash/heavy metal act Annihilator. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in September 1990. There have been a couple of lineup changes since the band´s debut full-length studio album "Alice in Hell (1989)" as lead vocalist Randy Rampage has been replaced by Coburn Pharr and guitarist Anthony Brian Greenham was replaced by David Scott Davis. Greenham was credited for playing on "Alice in Hell (1989)", but actually didn´t perform. Instead all guitars were handled by Jeff Waters. "Alice in Hell (1989)" was a major artistic and commercial success for Annihilator and it was always going to be hard to make a follow-up to such a highly regarded release.

Stylistically Annihilator continue the thrash/heavy metal style of their debut album, only this time around slightly less savage and a good deal more sophisticated. The material on the 10 track, 44:03 minutes long album still features sharp thrashy riffing and energetic powerful rhythms, but the melodic heavy metal part of the band´s sound is more dominant here than on the predecessor. The album features many harmony guitar sections, incredibly fast-paced and melodic guitar solos, and quite a few interesting compositional details, which ensure a good deal of variation throughout the playing time.

It´s interesting to note that Annihilator have added a couple of their old demo tracks in re-recorded versions: "I Am in Command" from the "Welcome to Your Death (1985)" demo and the title track from the "Phantasmagoria (1986)" demo. They´ve also used sections from "Back to the Crypt" from the "Welcome to Your Death (1985)" demo and the intro to "Gallery" from the "Phantasmagoria (1986)" demo on the "Never, Neverland" title track. The remaining material on "Never, Neverland" was specifically written for the album.

There are several highlights to mention here (including all 5 tracks on Side 1 of the original vinyl version of the album), but I´ll give special mentions to "The Fun Palace", for its extensive use of harmony guitars, "Sixes and Sevens", for its sharp thrashy riffing and great energetic solo section, and of course the almost progressive structured title track, which features some beautiful acoustic work, brilliant solos, intriguing lyrics, and a powerful hard edged middle section. Especially Waters is on fire throughout the album playing one sharp and memorable riff after another, and his solo work is nothing short of amazing. Although I´ve read interviews with Waters where he downplays his skills and calls himself a fast-playing blues guitarist, that´s definitely not the whole truth.

Other highlights include the anti-DIU song "Road to Ruin" (which is quite ironic as Waters had quite a bit of trouble with his alcohol addiction in those days), "Stonewall", and "Imperiled Eyes". "Kraf Dinner" is a bit silly, but still a powerful and energetic track, and "Phantasmagoria", "Reduced to Ash", and "I Am in Command" are also pretty high quality material, although the those tracks (which represent the closing part of the album), don´t quite reach the excellence of the first part of the album.

So "Never, Neverland" doesn´t have any problem matching the high quality of its predecessor. In fact I dare say Annihilator upped the bar on this album and released an even stronger album than the iconic debut. Sure there are a couple of minor issues with the album like the fact that Coburn Pharr doesn´t have the most interesting or powerful voice, or that the sound production lacks a bit of bottom end (especially the drums sound a bit thin), but when it comes down to it, "Never, Neverland" is a completely unique sounding release, featuring some great material and a very well playing band, and a 5 star (100%) rating is fully deserved, despite a few smaller issues.
adg211288
A little while back I started a review series on hidden gems of metal. The album Never, Neverland (1990) by Canadian thrash metallers Annihilator could never be called such, so since the other review series is currently on hold (hidden gems being just that – hidden) this review will kick off a concurrent series from me: highly regarded albums that for one reason or another it took me hell of a long time to check out. Such a theme, of course, is pretty meaningless to anyone else but me, so alternately think of it as some motivation to get reviews up of some classics.

This was Annihilator’s second full-length. The band had recorded the debut Alice in Hell (1989) as a three-piece but here there is a full line up present. The vocalist has changed from Randy Rampage to Coburn Pharr, this being Pharr’s only album with the band. That’s definitely a shame, as Annihilator has had many vocalists during their career, and I think that Pharr was easily one of the strongest, featuring a varied style ranging from melodic clean singing on the album’s softer parts (such as the title track) to harsh thrash metal style vocals. There’s some real power there in his voice, albeit used in quite a rough style (see tracks such as The Fun Palace and Imperiled Eyes), which combined with some top notch musicianship from Jeff Waters and co results in one hell of a thrash metal album.

This isn’t the most technical sounding thrash metal album I’ve heard but it still gets up there at times, while also featuring some more speed metal orientated parts too. The songs are fantastic from start to finish. Sure, Kraf Dinner is the cheesiest thing you’ll ever hear, but otherwise this is quite a mature and serious album in the lyric department, sometimes dark too. Psychological illness, pollution of our planet, post-nuclear existence and the dangers of drinking and driving are just a few of the themes covered in these ten tracks.

I don't think that there's much to dislike about Never, Neverland even if you have only a passing interest in thrash metal. This is certainly one of the best albums I've heard from the genre. It's not only well written and thought provoking lyrically, but it's also really addictive. I've lost count of how many times I've played it since discovering it and it hasn't lost even a little impact yet. The year 1990 has some big competitors for the best metal album of the year, but even with Blind Guardian's Tales from the Twilight World and Judas Priest's Painkiller released the same year, I really do have to say that Never, Neverland is miles ahead of either. This may even be my favourite thrash metal album all told, though I'll confess that it is a genre that I still have a fair bit of exploring to do in.
Warthur
An admirable followup to Alice In Hell, Never, Neverland eases up a bit more on the aggression and relies somewhat more on Annihilator's more complex and progressive side, with the band's technical mastery showing even on brief goof-off tracks like Kraf Dinner. Of the first two Annihilator albums, there really isn't much between them, so if you've not picked up either you may want to consider the archival Two From the Vault release. Those who already own and love Alice In Hell but haven't had the pleasure of visiting Neverland will want to do so at the earliest opportunity, because the two albums go together like macaroni and cheese.
Stephen
Jeff Waters brought Coburn Pharr in to help Annihilator set the world on fire with their sophomore release, "Never Neverland", and this gigantic album is a proof that the Canadians have the capability of unleashing a groundbreaking album just like Bay Area veterans did in the 80s. Waters is responsible with the songwriting process and I must say, that guy is a genius, creating a very diverse structure of songs, combining acoustical passage, British heavy metal sound, melodic insertion, and even some progressive tempo.

"The Fun Palace" is melodic and crushing at the same time, the interlude is wonderful, and this is totally a fun song. "Road To Ruin", an energetic tune with stampeding chorus successfully raised my blood pressure high. "Stonewall" texture bears a strong resemblance with hard rock's pattern and this one is a blast. The title track showed the progressive side of the band, you can hear how they move the tempo back and forth with ease, the song itself is simply amazing. I also love the awesome guitar duels in "Imperiled Eyes", the ultra fast-paced heavy load of "Phantasmagoria", and those swelling riffs in "I Am In Command", coming out alive from your speakers to blow you away, a superb closing track!

You might want to spin this 2-3 times continuously to grasp the essence of Waters' idea, not that it's not great at first listen, but the whole album is quite unusual compared to the other mid-80s release and "Never Neverland" clearly deserved a dedicated time to enjoy. Even though Annihilator still continue to deliver new releases over time, it's almost impossible to top this album, probably only "Alice In Hell" comes close, but this beast worth every hard penny you earned, a superior five stars classic!
Time Signature
Welcome to the fun palace...

Genre: (progressive) thrash metal

Jeff Waters is a genius. It's as simple as that. And "Never, Neverland" is not just one of Annihilator's best releases, it's also one of the best metal releases ever.

Musically, the red thread is the blend of metal power and technical prowess. While essentially a sort of thrash metal with power metal tendencies, with plenty of headbanging-inspiring riffs, the music is full of twists and turns and unexpected breakdowns, weird scales and incredible guitar solos and more time changes than non-metal and non-prog fans will probably be able to cope with - it's almost progressive, without seeming as quirky as Watch Tower's "Energetic Disassembly" and "Control and Resistance".

There are no weak moments on this album, and, while there is a red thread to the songs in terms of songwriting and production, every song is different. It's really a fantastic album. Any metal collection would be incomplete without it.

Members reviews

bassgeezer
Thank you MMA. Until I found MMA I had not heard Never, Neverland, or heard of Annihilator for that matter. I am still part way through my first listen to it but am loving it. I understand why it is highly rated on this site. I can’t believe that I’ve never heard Jeff Waters before, and that I’ve been deprived of his guitar playing and composition skills all these years. I have just been reading about him being popular and influential with other metal artists and I can see why. This album is an utterly sublime riff-fest from start to finish.

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