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Neverworld - 'Visions Of Another World' http://ns2.rocktopiarecords.com/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/a7/c0/22/nw-94-1403048632.jpg Hot

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A cracking debut

Bringing together members of Bedfordshire bands Sentinel, Killer Messiah and Subculture Heroes, Neverworld celebrate their fifth anniversary by releasing a storming debut album, 'Visions Of Another World'. First impressions slam Iron Maiden and Judas Priest into the equation; however a helping of keyboards and an ever so slightly Progressive edge do bring a variety of flavours. Singer (and guitarist) Ben Colton reveals himself to be a vocalist of power, passion and precision; his high pitched wails just as convincing as his low end rasp, evoking both Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford. Although there's also a glimpse of Steve Bettney (Saracen), uncovering a more expansive outlook than most in this style.

For a debut (although an EP surfaced a while back), what Neverworld have created here illustrates the patience they've shown in producing their first offering. All of the tracks have depth and there are clever sidesteps from song to song that most new acts wouldn't have the confidence to attempt.

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Proceedings open with tentative, almost unsure piano which slowly morphs into a string laden piece of military-like grandeur; 'Tempus' segueing into the parping keyboards and galloping riff of the title track quite neatly, although Daniel Potter's keys are slightly too prominent. However once Colton's authoritative howl roars in the doubts melt away; drummer Mike Vaughan hammers his kicks viciously, bassist Gary Payne and guitarist Jack Foster also combine to stunning effect. Already things sound like some weird offspring of Maiden, Priest, Manowar and Saracen, before 'They Live' streamlines proceedings with a more straight on attack, the results being the best song on the album. The slow build and latter day Maiden feel of 'This Fire' isn't far behind, neither is the brooding, slightly more American Metal feel of 'Eminent Reprisal', or the drama filled (if cheesily game show intro and outroduced) 'Wheel Of Misfortune'.

Yes, a couple of the songs, at eight or nine minutes, are a bit lengthy for the ideas they contain and the balance between the keys and guitars is slightly uneven. However the sheer force, power and vicious joy behind this album makes 'Visions Of Another World' a cracking debut and Neverworld a band deserving your immediate attention.

Steven Reid

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