Neverworld – Dreamsnatcher – Album Review

CD Cover ArtWork - Dreamsnatcher (2015)

Artist: Neverworld

Album Title: Dreamsnatcher

Label: Dream Demon Recordings

Date of Release: 4 March 2016

It is fair to say that the name Neverworld has been on my radar for some time but I’d never taken the plunge for one reason or another until now, upon the release of their second album, ‘Dreamsnatcher’. Over the past year or so, I have seen a number of snippets of music over social media and it has been these little tasters that convinced me that I had to listen to Neverworld this time around. And overall, I’m really glad I did.

But before I go on, let’s get the slight niggle out of the way first and it has to do with the production. It isn’t bad, far from it. Each instrument can be heard within the mix at most times. It’s just not to my personal taste and I can’t help but think that it could have been a little stronger, particularly in the guitar department. As it is, some of the six-string work is rendered a little fuzzy and buzzy, reminiscent of the 70s and 80s at times. This may be entirely deliberate but from my own subjective point of view, I would have liked a slightly different production approach overall.

 

Neverworld band

However, let’s move onto the positive stuff and, on that score, there’s plenty to talk about.

Imagine, if you will, a mash-up of classic NWOBHM, Bay Area thrash metal and the melodic progressive stylings of the likes of the aforementioned Vanishing Point. This description sounds good to me and happily, the reality is equally as palatable. In fact, the more I listen, the more I’m convinced that ‘Dreamsnatcher’ is very much the distilled sound of five guys with a love of heavy metal getting together, wearing their hearts on their sleeves and giving it 100%, leaving nothing behind except a trail of blood, sweat and the smell of burning denim and leather.

Neverworld 2016 is comprised of vocalist/guitarist Ben Colton, guitarist Jack Foster, drummer Mike Vaughan, keyboardist Daniel Potter and bassist Gary Payne. And ‘Dreamsnatcher’ contains everything that you’d expect from a ‘proper’ heavy metal album. You want heavy riffs? You’ve got them. You want an uncompromising and powerful rhythm section? You’ve got it. You want up-tempo music that you can bang our head and sing along to? You’ve got it. And you want dual guitar harmonies and blazing lead guitar solos? Yup, you’ve got them too and you’ve got them in spades. As someone who has a huge weakness for such frivolities, it’s a joy to hear.

And if all that wasn’t enough, you have the lead vocals of Ben Colton. When he nails it, the guy sounds great and I’m frequently reminded of the mighty Silvio Massaro of Vanishing Point, such is Colton’s rich timbre and powerful, passionate delivery. Very occasionally, when he is required to hit the higher end of his register, it sounds a bit of a struggle but otherwise, Colton is really impressive behind the mic.

It all adds up to an album that’s both serious rocking and a hell of a lot of fun. Every time I listen, I begin to smile, my head starts to nod and invariably, I break out the air guitar regardless of whether I’m behind closed doors or taking the dog out for a walk. The exuberance of Neverworld is infectious and I can’t help getting swept up in it.

Aside from the obvious vocals and lead guitar frivolities, the most ear-catching aspect of Neverworld is the keyboards of Daniel Potter. ‘Dreamsnatcher’ is awash with keys, both to enhance and create melodic lead lines but also to add depth, atmosphere and to soften the edges of an in-your-face metal assault. Some listeners bemoan and deride albums that utilise keyboards and synths but in my opinion, they are a very welcome addition to the overall Neverworld sound.

For once, I will refrain from picking out any particular songs for further scrutiny because the entire record is remarkably consistent. There’s something to like within each of the ten compositions, be it an uncompromising double pedal drum beat, a melodic and soulful lead guitar solo or a passionate vocal line.

Overall, and most importantly, Neverworld remind us all of what heavy metal is all about. At a time when we seem fixated on the next big subgenre or the ‘scene’, here is a band that have metaphorically stuck two fingers up and said, ‘we just want to rock’. And for that, Neverworld should be applauded.

The Score Of Much Metal: 8.0

If you’ve enjoyed this review, check out my others right here:

Universal Mind Project – The Jaguar Priest
Thunderstone – Apocalypse Again
InnerWish – Innerwish
Mob Rules – Tales From Beyond
Ghost Bath – Moonlover
Spiritual Beggars – Sunrise To Sundown
Oceans Of Slumber – Winter
Rikard Zander – I Can Do Without Love
Redemption – The Art Of Loss
Headspace – All That You Fear Is Gone
Chris Quirarte – Mending Broken Bridges
Sunburst – Fragments Of Creation
Inglorious – Inglorious
Omnium Gatherum – Grey Heavens
Structural Disorder – Distance
Votum – Ktonik
Fleshgod Apocalypse – King
Rikard Sjoblom – The Unbendable Sleep
Textures – Phenotype
Serenity – Codex Atlanticus
Borknagar – Winter Thrice
The Mute Gods – Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
Brainstorm – Scary Creatures
Arcade Messiah – II
Phantasma – The Deviant Hearts
Rendezvous Point – Solar Storm
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld II
Antimatter – The Judas Table
Bauda – Sporelights
Waken Eyes – Exodus
Earthside – A Dream In Static
Caligula’s Horse – Bloom
Teramaze – Her Halo
Amorphis – Under The Red Cloud
Spock’s Beard – The Oblivion Particle
Agent Fresco – Destrier
Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic
Cradle Of Filth – Hammer Of The Witches
Disarmonia Mundi – Cold Inferno
District 97 – In Vaults
Progoctopus – Transcendence
Big Big Train – Wassail
NightMare World – In The Fullness Of Time
Helloween – My God-Given Right
Triaxis – Zero Hour
Isurus – Logocharya
Arcturus – Arcturian
Kamelot – Haven
Native Construct – Quiet World
Sigh – Graveward
Pantommind – Searching For Eternity
Subterranean Masquerade – The Great Bazaar
Klone – Here Comes The Sun
The Gentle Storm – The Diary
Melechesh – Enki
Enslaved – In Times
Keep Of Kalessin – Epistemology
Lonely Robot – Please Come Home
The Neal Morse Band – The Grand Experiment
Zero Stroke – As The Colours Seep
AudioPlastik – In The Head Of A Maniac
Revolution Saints – Revolution Saints
Mors Principium Est – Dawn of The 5th Era
Arcade Messiah – Arcade Messiah
Triosphere – The Heart Of The Matter
Neonfly – Strangers In Paradise
Knight Area – Hyperdrive
Haken – Restoration
James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance
Mercenary – Through Our Darkest Days
A.C.T. – Circus Pandemonium
Xerath – III
Big Big Train – English Electric (Part 1)
Thought Chamber – Psykerion
Marcus Jidell – Pictures From A Time Traveller
H.E.A.T – Tearing Down The Walls
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s