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Neverworld – Midnight Abyss

Midnight Abyss
by Mark Machlay at 01 March 2022, 6:16 AM

NEVERWORLD is a five-piece metal band from Hertfordshire, England, combining a multitude of sounds and influences into their brand of traditional heavy music. Drawing influence from bands such as JUDAS PRIEST, KING DIAMOND, and IRON MAIDEN the band’s music is powerful yet melodic, dark yet joyous; punctuated by their unique delivery. Forming in 2009, the band have released two full-length albums and an EP plus their most recent compilation “Everything You Were Ever Afraid Of” - celebrating 10 years of the band’s existence. Accompanied by their ever-lurking mascot The Crowman, those ten years have been spent touring around the UK and Europe; with highlights including shows with FREEDOM CALL, TYGERS OF PAN TANG, and Lee Aaron and Dennis Stratton of IRON MAIDEN fame. Although they may have begun as a more traditional power metal act, in recent years the band’s sound has evolved to incorporate more symphonic elements whilst maintaining their keen musical edge and razor-sharp riffage.

Now in the year 2022, NEVERWORLD is back and re-energized with a new lineup – most noticeably replacing male singer Ben Colton with relative newcomer female vocalist Frankie Arnold as well as adding Jonny Lang on guitar. The first sign of new music is a prelude to their as-yet-untitled third album with an EP entitled “Midnight Abyss” that contains the captivating single “The Other Side of Midnight”. While their third album may have to wait – being announced for spring 2022 – “Midnight Abyss” was released this past November 21, 2021, and, as ever, the production of both the record music and accompanying video has been handled by the band via their imprint Dreamdemon Recordings which affords the band the control to make their creative vision and exact reality. A limited-edition CD release will be available, featuring several exclusive bonus tracks, as well as a stunning three-panel artwork feature by story artist Andy Foster.

If I’m being honest, frankly, beyond the single “The Other Side of Midnight”, NEVERWORLD’s first release since 2016’s “Dreamsnatcher” seems a bit all over the place but in a way that is trying to feel their audience out and see what connects with fans. The aforementioned single off of “Midnight Abyss” is certainly symphonically tinged – buoyed by Frankie Arnold’s shimmering vocal performance – it still reminds me more of a power metal anthem than a symphonic one. Simply adding female vocals to a power metal doesn’t automatically make you a symphonic metal band but given there is such a small package to judge I’m not going to belabor the point. “My Monster And I” leans even harder into the power metal vibes but ventures less fantastical with the lyrical theme referencing not literal but metaphorical inner demons, marking a more introspective move for the group. The leads to the songs are tasty but while the guitar solo for “The Other Side of Midnight” is inspiring, as it lapses into the main melody of the song, to my ears it sounds a bit out of tune. I listened to the isolated guitar solo video guitarist Jack Foster released to the band’s Youtube page and didn’t seem to hear the same discrepancies so maybe it was my ears playing tricks on me. Nonetheless, both guitarists have chops and clearly the talent to pull off hair-raising licks. The acoustic “Call of the Fallen” is well played but seems a bit out of place as is the final track, “Edge of The Abyss”. The latter is, supposedly, an orchestral edit of a song that has yet to be released and without context, seems to be a meandering and directionless end to the EP. On the strength of the first two tracks alone, I do recommend NEVERWORLD’s “resurrection” and look forward to when we get the full context with their third full-length album, hopefully releasing later this year.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The Other Side of Midnight
2. My Monster And I
3. Call to The Fallen (Acoustic)
4. Into the Abyss (Orchestral Edit)
Frankie Arnold - Vocals
Jack Foster - Guitars
Jonny Lang - Guitars
Gary Payne - Bass
Michael Vaughan - Drums
Record Label: One Eyed Toad Records


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