Feb 22, 2012
Nevertanezra @ MySpace
Jul 19, 2011
Almost a year ago I heard Nevertanezra for the first time and was blown away by how fresh they sounded. Their EP which was a mix of doom, epic metal, death and progressive metal that was and still is a pure pleasure to listen to. Now in 2011, they present their first full-length album which I can safely say takes it all one-step further and is a progression on what was an already exceptionally gifted band.
This five track album has one 2 minute intro piece and 4 other tracks ranging from 9:45 to 17:09 minutes long so the word 'epic' certainly applies here. The only immediate difference to be heard with this release compared with the EP is this is darker overall and much more firmly in the realms of traditional doom-metal and funeral doom but as usual, Nevertanezra come up with many twists and turns to keep you guessing.
The opening 'Solace' is a bleak, ominous intro that bleeds straight into the 17 plus minutes of 'In The Face Of Despair' which is so dark, evil and menacing, it is frightening. Guitars are bottomed-out but still clean enough to give it all solid crunch. Vocals are of the black-metal growling variety, not exactly unique but full of the menace required to match the ominous riffing. This track is a lumbering beast that doesn't exactly plod in the typical doom tradition, it starts, stops with pauses that amplify the doom and gloom. I have said in the past that often in doom, it is what the band doesn't play that makes a track so effective and that is the situation here. The guitar work in combination with the drumming is beautifully timed as each guitar strike and drum hit is hypnotic and evokes despair. The first seven minutes of the piece is pure, foreboding doom that is constantly building in atmosphere. After that however, the song breaks in melancholic ambience via beautiful melodic guitar and spoken word.
The warmth of the melodic leads adds to the already overwhelming dark vibe which I guess could be compared to the more somber Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass moments but there is something progressively different about this that I can't put into words. The real driving force behind the track is the exquisite guitar work that has a perfect balance between the ominous and the beautiful. The bleak atmosphere becomes even more suffocating in the closing few minutes of this epic track as it builds to a devastating climax. 'In The Face Of Despair is a wonderful, mesmerizing track that is basically split into three parts with each section heightening the tension. The 17 minute plus running time doesn't come into play because it really doesn't seem that long at all as it is constructed in such a way that it flows effortlessy.........A exceptional slab of mesmerizing blackened doom-metal.
'Separation Anxiety' follows and the opening riff is even heavier that what came before it or at least it seems that way. The sound is huge and thick but above-all else beautifully recorded. I would even go as far to say that this is one of the very best recordings I have heard all year but back to 'Separation Anxiety.' After the opening doom-dirge of the opening few minutes, Nevertanezra throw a curve-ball with a pulverizing thrash/death-metal section that comes, crushes and leaves just as suddenly as it arrived and I love it when bands do that as it just helps to break up the song a little. The up-tempo bashing is soon replaced by the overwhelming doom riffage but the thrash does return a bit later but with a twist this time. During the second thrash-break, they mix it up with a odd-ball riff that starts and stops which showcases their progressive-metal edge. This track is without a doubt, the most colorful track on the album. Forever changing and re-inventing itself, the track gets the listener on the edge of his seat right up to its last seconds. 'The Fading' is up next and is the first of two 12 minute tracks that close the album. 'The Fading' starts with a mournful ambience before breaking into more funeralized doom patterns. The choice word to use here is 'engrossing' as this track is so interesting it occupies' one's attention completely with its riveting melodies, crushing riffage and weeping lead work that is strangely folkie. They again, throw the listener off-kilter with mid-tempo breaks and chugging, infectious bits and one thing about this doom is it is very head-bangable even if some of the arrangements are disjointed. (And I mean that in a good way). The section that comes in just before the nine minute mark is perhaps one of the most chilling yet beautiful pieces of metal I have heard all year, the lead is simply majestic.
What got me hooked on 'Nevertanezra' with their EP was their ability to avoid following standard doom-metal clichés and they do it again on tracks like this one. The lead-work for example at times is very much in the Blackmore, Page vein of melodic, emotionally draining guitar-playing and that is one of the key aspects to this album. It is full of surprises and it is heavy and melodic at the same time.
The last track, 'To Suffocate' begins with more melancholic gorgeous guitar work that is mellow and addictive and enchanting. Rather than setting the mood, it simply puts the listener in an unprepared, relaxed state for the sonic barrage of apocalyptic riffing and monstrous vocals that is to follow. Again, this is devastating in its heaviness but it is also tearfully melodic which I think is what makes this such an engrossing album. The tunes are multi-dimensional as they blend different elements and all of which are expertly crafted and played. As a doom band, it sounds modern without leaving the 70's, 80's, 90's and recent doom traditions behind. What this all means is Nevertanezra are a band that can't be neatly put into any one sub-genre of doom-metal as they have all genres rolled into one. The line-up of Michael Ventura - lead guitars, Jayke Smith - rhythm guitar, Kyle Smith - drums and Rick McCoy - vocals are a fine bunch of musicians but as songwriters, they are truly exceptional.
I have to say, they have released an album here that goes way beyond expectations and it is hard to find any flaws at all. The production is excellent and can certainly stand up against anything else produced in the metal world but it all comes down to the tunes and these 5 pieces are all magically crafted, composed and played masterpieces. If this band doesn't get the credit they deserve, I might as well give up writing reviews and promoting this music that I worship. Nevertanezra are the real deal and you won't hear anything much better than this in 2011. As it states in the liner notes - 'True Fans Don't Download' so buy this ASAP, it is worth every dime, essential doom for 2011......10/10
Nevertanezra @ MySpace
PS: I should have a 'link to buy' up soon - watch this space!!
Correction: Kyle is the bassist, they used a session drummer for the album, sorry for the error.....Ed
Nov 14, 2010
1. Hello Michael, thanks for this interview from me and all the readers of Doommantia.Com. We should start with a bit of history lesson on yourself, how did your life as a metal musician begin?
-Well, in a nutshell I started playing guitar when I was around 12-13 years old and wanted nothing more than to play Heavy Metal like my heroes in: Iron Maiden, Metallica and GWAR (amongst various others). The rest is a series of trying fruitlessly to start bands and jamming with flakes.
2. According to Encyclopedia Metallum, the band started way back in 1999 but so far the EP is the only recording or is there other recordings we don't know about?
-There is nothing else recorded aside from guitar only demo/rehearsal tapes. Somewhere there is a live rehearsal tape of an early version of ‘Bleak’ with two friends on drums and vocals respectively. There is also painfully rough version of the entire EP with guitars and drums but I’m at a loss as to where they are.
3. On the EP you give a big f**k you to the people who let you down in the past. Can you give us some dirt on what happened?
-Ha Ha Ha, it was my one last bitter feeling to various “musicians” that did what 99% of all musicians do and that’s flake in the middle of the project. While I made a few good friends during that period of my musical life, this message is for those who, for one reason or another, did not follow through with their promises.
4. Where did the name of the band come from? I must admit I still have trouble pronouncing Nevertanezra ha ha.
-Ha ha ha, it’s just something that I came up with one day. It sounded cool and odd so I went for it. At one point I was toying with the idea of going with something else but a friend of mine forbade it on the grounds that it’s just cool.
5. The main thing that impressed me with the 3 songs on the EP is the variety. Is this because of the different time-periods of when the songs were first composed? Also do you have a favorite style?
-The first two songs are from the same period; the last song is from my earlier Thrash days. I slowed it down a lot for the EP to make it fit the Doomy vibe. I didn’t intentionally plan on writing the songs so differently, that’s just how they came out. Several people have told me over the years that my writing/playing style is very unorthodox and I think it shows in the songs. Not only do the songs on the EP differ in style from one another, but the songs on our upcoming début album follow suite. My favorite style is Doom/Death Metal followed closely by NWOBHM (my first true love in music) and then probably Funeral Doom, I’ve really gotten into that style quite a bit these last couple of years.
6. Can you tell the readers a bit about the other musicians that took part in the recording? I am especially interested in hearing about Devon Angulo, her voice is amazing.
-Devon and her husband Denson are two very dear friends of mine. I met Denson several years ago at a job we both worked at. He owed me a favor and so I had him play on my EP. He has a master’s degree in music and is currently working on his doctorate. He used two of his custom 8 string basses (one of which was fretless) on all three songs. His wife, Devon, is a classically trained singer. I asked him if his wife was game to use her voice and thankfully she was. This was the first time she’s ever recorded professionally and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. The drummer was also a friend of Denson's. He’s into Hard Rock but played country for the past 10-20 years, recording and touring with the biggest names in that godforsaken noise you could think of. As far as getting Rick McCoy from Avernus, I contacted him via myspace in an attempt to get more of Avernus’ impossible to get music and we ended up becoming friends. I needed a singer and asked him if he wanted to be on my EP and thankfully he did. Shortly thereafter he said he was interested in being our fulltime singer and it was around that point that I decided to make this project into a proper band. This is why I decided to include another guitarist and a bassist. Sadly, drummers are in painfully short supply in UT, therefore we used a session musician for our début.
-Drastically different, yes and no. Some of the songs on the album are “older” songs and/or riffs that have been updated and expanded upon. I swore that I wasn’t going to change a thing about a select few songs when I brought Jayke and Kyle Smith on board. However I hadn’t accounted for the great ideas two fresh minds could contribute and I ended up changing them all and really liking the outcome. The songs are considerably heavier and very accidentally experimental. We really intended to try for a more straightforward approach but we ended up with something a million miles away ha ha.
8. Can you fill us in on the new material, song-titles and what we can expect to hear?
-This is bad but we’re still undecided on what to call all the songs. The first track is an instrumental and all of 2-3 minutes long. It was going to be simply just guitars and drums but we added bass at the last second. It’s probably the shortest song we’ll ever do ha ha ha. The second track, one that was also written ages ago, is the longest thing we’ve done to date, and clocks in at just over 17 minutes. It’s something that we’ll probably never play live just because it’s a beast. It’s a very moody song with everything thrown in it. The third track ‘Separation/Anxiety’ was originally a 3-minute Black/Death Metal song that we somehow managed to recreate into a 10-minute romp. A few of our closest friends have heard this track and said it reminds them of “‘Monotheist-era’ Celtic Frost mixed with mid-period Carcass in the beginning. It then goes into a slow and bitter riff that then goes into mid-period Immortal followed by some (accidental) My Dying Bride harmonization. This is followed up by some traditional 80’s Thrash riffing that somehow all makes doomy sense.” The fourth track is the first song that Jayke and I wrote together and is simply epic and full of solos (one of my favorite songs of all time). The fifth track starts off slow and clean and gradually gets heavy and dirty. It’s epic and dark and really closes the album on a bleak note. Like the EP, none of the songs on this album relate to one another. They all sound very different and hopefully, from the description of the third song, full of surprises for all.
9. What is your opinion on the current Heavy Metal scene at the moment? Obviously I love Doom Metal and its sub-genres but outside of that there isn't a hell of a lot that impresses me.
-Overall I think the scene is constantly improving. Unfortunately there is always the exception of all of the poser “core” bands being labeled as Metal. Outside the Doom scene I’ve been going back to older school bands like: Thin Lizzy, Medusa, Legend, Deep Purple, etc. I’ve also been reacquainting myself with my love of old school US Death and Thrash Metal bands. As far as new non-Doom acts go, there isn’t anything that has really gotten my attention as of late. One of the reasons I started listening to Doom was I was sick of everything being 300 bpm. Mindless blasting with hyper fast riffs just gets old very fast. Doom has so much room for creativity that I can’t understand why it’s never been as popular as Black Metal.
10. Musician question now - What equipment do you use and have you got a kind of formula to writing songs?
-I discovered Schecter guitars a few years back and only use them now. For this album I used a Schecter Damien V with passive EMG pickups. I’ve got a Crate Shockwave GT3500H half-stack and they’re a brand that I’ve relied on for years now. Jayke actually used the guitar I used on the EP for our album, which is a Schecter C-1 Elite with Duncan design pickups. He used a friends Marshall G 100R CD half-stack in the studio. We both used our respective amps distortions and relied on the studio for the effects. Kyle used a Carvin 5 string bass and went through the main board when recording. We tuned to ‘B,E,A,D,#F,B’ because it's just heavy! We also recorded just one guitar per side to give it a quasi-live feel. Our core philosophy is, if you can’t do it live, don’t do it in the studio. Will we always record like this? I can’t say for sure, but it fits the experimental nature of our album. As far as a formula, I don’t know if I’ve ever had one. I think about riffs, dream about them sometimes and if they stick with me for a week or more I try to play what I remember. A long time ago I made a conscious decision to try and not play/write like me. I think that has really helped to open up my creativity. I have become more accepting of what I write and am less critical of what comes. It’s something that makes it easier to make music in my opinion.
-My personal ambitions for this project/band are to either make a living at it, or to be able to make enough to sustain it. I’d love for this band to get signed and tour the world. As far as successful bands, I’d agree with you and say that the older ones seem to have the best success rate, but that coincides with their longevity and dedication to the lifestyle. A corporate entity seeks to homogenize a sound in order to make it appeal to the widest audience possible. I do not feel they would ever push something that was truly “extreme”. There are mallcore acts that have powerful backing, but overall they are just watered down, prepackaged rebellion for suburbanites. Quantity will never beat quality as far as real music fans are concerned.
12. Now to the immediate future, when will the album been released and how do you plan on distributing the tunes?
-The album release was supposed to be this December but due to several unforeseen issues, it has been pushed back to February or March of next year. As far as distribution, we’re planning on selling it via our myspace page. We’re very anti-downloading so don’t expect to see our songs on any sites, unless they’ve been pirated. If we manage to get a signed or a distribution deal then we’ll post when and where.
13. OK, thanks again Michael for the interview and I hope people wise-up and pay attention to what you are doing. Have you got any last words for the readers?
-Thanks for the interview and to all who like their Metal to sound different, check us out!
Nevertanezra @ MySpace
Oct 26, 2010
The production on the EP is crisp and clear but with a very beefy guitar sound but the vocals cross over varied styles as each tune is vastly different from each other.
The first song, "Bleak" is in the vein of Paradise Lost with an extra touch of Solitude Aeturnus. The guitar work is diverse blending Death Metal to Jazz and classical elements but what sets this EP apart from most other metal is the vocals. The death growling vocals are sung here by Rick McCoy ((Avernus, Infecting the Soul) while Michael Ventura handles the clean vocal sections, nothing new in itself but it is delivered here with a huge amount of class and finesse. "Bleak" is the most standard metal track here though and the best is yet to come. Track two, "Seduction/Suicide" brings in another different vocal element into the picture and that is the breath-taking, mesmerizing vocals of Devon Angulo. This woman's voice is truly majestic evoking a haunting sadness and despair with her melodic soprano vocals. It is a captivating vocal take but it is also matched with atmospheric guitar parts and incredible solo work. Blending Sabbath with Novembers Doom but with also a hint of progressive rock, this tune is my pick for the highlight of the EP.
The last track, "My Angel Of The Night" is different again. This one takes on a melodic Prog Rock meets old-school thrash 80's style. With the combination of death and clean vocals, this track was over-shadowed by the majestic qualities of the other 2 tracks in my mind but still stands up as a good track in its own right. So it is really something for everyone who likes quality Heavy Metal played with style and taste but the old-school metal freaks would be the ones most likely to gravitate to this EP. I hope I don't have to wait another 10 years or more to hear more from this band, this is some exciting Heavy Metal made for purists everywhere. Congratulations to Michael Ventura for finally getting this out. They are in the middle of mixing their début album titled "NTNR" and I for one can't wait to hear it. In the meantime check out this great EP.
Nevertanezra @ MySpace
You can now buy this here and in the DMA Store -