Release date: 03-03-2023
It took me some time to review this album. I had valid reasons for the delay, but the primary cause was my mixed feelings about it. Neverus made a strong entrance into the Dutch Metal Scene. When I heard the track Banish and Burn, I was sold already and couldn’t wait for the album. Mournful March even topped that for me. And I have to say, when I heard the first tunes from ‘On this Mountain Peak’ I loved the idea that the orchestral version of Banish and Burn was the opener of their album. And then it … kinda stopped for me. While there are impressive tracks on the album, I’m uncertain about the album as a whole. Let’s dive into Neverus and what they have to offer, and come to a final conclusion.
Neverus is a new band formed from the remnants of the lesser-known group Shadowrise. Guitarist Jack Streat, formerly of Shadowrise, assembled a lineup of both new and familiar bandmates, completing the formation in 2021. From 2022 onwards, the band gradually released several tracks from their upcoming album, and in March 2023, “Burdens of the Earth” was finally unveiled.
Neverus play majestic death metal, which translates to melodic death metal with a whole lot more orchestral parts. There are plenty of other influences in their music as well, ranging from folk metal to black metal and a healthy dose of power and progressive metal. Majestic for sure. Banish and Burn is the perfect example of that genre definition, and also one of my favorite tracks of the album.
Considering it’s a self-released album, the recording and mix quality are impressively exceptional. Moreover, the songwriting effortlessly rivals renowned metal giants like Children of Bodom and Wintersun. The album has been well-received and has gotten some great reviews so far. And I fully intended to be one of them as well, as I anticipated the release of the full album while listening to Mournful March. However, I have to say, I was a little bit disappointed when listening to the full release. It felt as though the best tracks had already been unveiled. That’s not to say the remaining tracks were lacking in quality. It’s just that they felt more conventional to me, perhaps not quite as awe-inspiring as their counterparts. This might be the drawback of initially releasing remarkable tracks.
After spending several weeks listening to the album, my perspective remains largely unchanged. Banish and Burn is an epic masterpiece, while Calderian just doesn’t quite do it for me. This might be because of the chord progressions feeling somewhat commonplace. “Lazarus” falls somewhere in the middle ground for me. It reminds me of Children of Bodom, and there are moments when I really like the track. If I were to rank the tracks in tiers, “Banish and Burn” would undoubtedly claim the first tier, “Lazarus” would secure the second, and “Calderian” would take its place in the third tier.
“From the North” serves once again as an instrumental introduction of a previously heard track. I love this version and hope the band plays that live on stage as well (but I have yet to see this band live). “Mournful March,” another personal favorite, would also be placed in the first tier (yet, it too was released earlier). If you listen to this track without any knowledge about the band, you might assume it originated in Scandinavia. It has that distinct Scandinavian metal sound, despite hailing from our small nation. What I particularly like about this track is how it manages to maintain that folk Scandinavian sound while still offering a new and refreshing twist, especially in the chorus part.
“One for Force” presents itself as another instrumental segment and feels like a movie score. It seamlessly leads into “One for Blood,” an epic and fast-paced (once again heavily influenced by Scandinavian) melodic metal track. This track, too, had been released prior to the album, so we had already encountered it before the official release.
“Send my spirit high” is a fresh addition to the album. I don’t really know the reason why this track fails to resonate with me, but it simply falls short. It’s not a bad track per se; it just lacks the same level of excitement as the others.
“Towards the surface” is a another new track. It features heavy drums and power metal style riff-driven sections. Unfortunately, this track also falls a bit short for me. At this point, after encountering two tracks that I didn’t really enjoy as much as the previously released ones, my disappointment with the entire album grows.
Temptation is the latest new track. Within this track, there are notable moments that bring to mind Symphony X, although the overall essence leans more towards power metal with its riffs and tempo. Personally, I believe the vocal lines in this track could have enhanced the overall experience. It’s not that the track is necessarily bad; it’s just that the other tracks are better.
After spending a few weeks listening to this album, I have managed to move past my initial disappointment. Nevertheless, the previously released songs remain the ones that dominate my playlist. In particular, “Mournful March” has been playing on repeat for quite some time. I understand that many people have given this album high ratings, especially considering it is the band’s debut album, and I wholeheartedly agree. However, I believe the impact could have been even greater if they hadn’t released the tracks in advance.