Interview with Neverworld

Neverworld Logo

I’ve been a fan of Neverworld since their first album and have already interviewed their main guitarist/singer Ben Colton previously. As they’ve just released their second album Dreamsnatcher, it seemed like the right time to get in touch once more and see what’s been going on…

For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!

Hello! We are Neverworld! Our sound is basically a mixture of traditional, power, progressive epic metal with a huge emphasis on melody. Basically if you like King Diamond,Queensrÿche, Fates Warning, Judas Priest, Helloween etc then I’d like to think you would quite like us too!

Give us a bit of background to Neverworld

Well we formed in September 2009 so we’ve been around a while now. Our vision was actually very simple really. We consider ourselves to be story tellers. An audio visual band is how I personally like to describe us. So we set out to do just that, telling our stories with melody and metal! In 2010 we released our début EP ‘Welcome To…’ and it got a lot of great reviews which was awesome to see. After a couple of years on the road solidly we started putting together the first album ‘Visions Of Another World‘ which we released in March 2014, again to critical acclaim. So we’ve been very lucky with the press and fans so far. About 18 months ago we started writing and recording our new album ‘Dreamsnatcher’ and just last week we released it on time for once! It’s been a fun ride so far. Sure we’ve had our ups and downs but we’ve played some amazing shows with some amazing bands along the way and these guys are my brothers. I’m really looking forward to the next chapter of Neverworld with these dudes. When you are in a band with your best friends…well it doesn’t get any better than that.

What are your influences?

As a band we are obviously all into metal but our influences are all quite different and I think that is great for song writing. For me I love so many bands. Music has been my passion since I was 4 years old so I’ve got a pretty huge music collection. My favourite styles are traditional, progressive, classic rock and AOR. There are a lot of bands out there who don’t get much attention and I often find they tend to be my biggest influences. I love all the big guns too like Maiden, Priest, Manowar, Van Halen, etc. but I’m also a huge fan of bands like Winger, Fates Warning, Crimson Glory, Magnum, Circus Maximus, etc. Guitar-wise there are so many great players out there. Especially now but I’d have to say Reb Beach, Tony Clarkin, Eddie Van Halen, Scot Gorham, Andy LaRouque, Slash, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith helped me get better and find my style more than anyone else. Singer wise, again there are so many. Rob Halford, Kip Winger, Ray Alder, Geoff Tate, Biff Byford, Ray Gillen, Brad Delp, Michael Eriksen, Midnight, Mike Andersson right through to David Bowie, Stevie Wonder and Luther Vandross believe it or not. What I love about the dudes I’ve just mentioned is that you know exactly who it is when they start singing. That is the mark of a great singer for me. Power, range and identity.

Neverworld BandWhat are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

I listen to a lot of stuff because I hate to get bored of music. If I love a band or a song I try not to play it over and over so I tend to listen to lots of compilations I make for the car. Right at this very minute I’m listening to Magnitude 9, Cloudscape, Anubis Gate, Avantasia, Redemption and Circus Maximus. I’d like to just give a shout out to a few bands. Not just because they are friends of mine but because they are genuinely awesome. Bands like Neuronspoiler, Elm Street, Wardrum, Avenging Benji, The Deep, Kill Confirmed, Fat Nelly and Enbound. Outstanding music, please go check them all out. You can thank me later!

How do you feel that you fit into the wider Metal scene?

It’s really hard to say. What I do see with us is a broad age range listening to our music and coming to the shows. I think that’s a wonderful thing to be able to bridge the age gaps. I’m talking people in their mid teens to people in their mid 60’s! That’s awesome right?! I think our music has a lot of layers and depth. I’d like to think that we would appeal to all kinds of metalheads. Our music can be dark and brooding but also upbeat and positive. Like the moods of most people. Kind of a weird take on it I guess but people generally listen to music to make them feel a certain way. I think we cater for all but I will leave that up to the listener to decide!

Give us a bit of background to Dreamsnatcher – any particular concepts or ideas you want to discuss?

We really wanted this album to be a big step up in everything. Songs, production, musicianship, etc. I think we achieved what we set out to do and that was better ‘Visions Of Another World’. This album has more depth. More light and shade. It’s got its rockers and it’s got its epics. It pretty much sums up Neverworld and what we do. Song themes include a homage to the movies In The Mouth Of Madness and The Warriors much like we did with ‘They Live’ on the first album. There’s a dark ballad on there about falling for a girl in a dream, a song about serial killer lovers, a nice epic track about facing your fears. There’s a lot going on on this album. We worked very hard at crafting it and I took my time with the lyrics and vocal melodies to make sure the stories got told in the right way. It’s got a song for every mood and that is something we really wanted to have too.

How do you feel your sound has progressed between Dreamsnatcher and your previous album Visions of Another World?

It’s a massive cliché but it’s a more mature album. There’s nothing worse than treading water as a musician and I absolutely refuse to do that. One thing I really admire is when a band retain a signature sound but never make the same album twice. Fates Warning and Winger get a special mention for that. It’s hard to do. The only way to do it is to evolve and not be scared to take risks. In-between albums go learn new techniques. Go and listen to new music. It really does help you move on and get brand new ideas you’ve never thought of before. Half of the first album was written about 7-9 years ago. Of course we are all much better musicians now and that shows with the new album. I have no doubt the next one will be even more diverse!

Are you happy with how the album turned out?

Hey I’m a perfectionist so no! Haha I think there comes a point when you have to stop over analysing and just get it out and let the critics/fans decide. I’m happy with the songs. Like I said it’s a real step up from Visions and for that reason alone I am happy. I’m very critical of myself vocal wise but that just comes down to always wanting to deliver my absolute best. On the whole I think it’s the best album we could have put out at this point in time and I guess that’s all we could do.

How do you go about writing your songs?

There’s no rules here as such. Sometimes it’s a solo riff written at home and taken to the studio to be expanded and sometimes we either pair up or usually 3 of us will sit there bouncing ideas. There’s no science involved with us. It really depends on what story we are trying to tell and picking the music/melody to suit the theme. This band has some very talented musicians, all with different influences so it makes for very interesting writing sessions!

Neverworld Band 2

How did the recording process go?

Well the first album was an absolute bastard to make and this one wasn’t. It was a lot of fun actually and really helped us bond together that much more. Every week we would go into the studio and just write and record the demos as we went along. It was a great way of doing it and we just had a really good laugh too. We have a great work ethic but we are always laughing. It’s a great combination. Recording is fun. It’s being creative which is what being a musician is all about. I love the process until it comes to vocal harmonies! Haha! I hate doing them but the rest is all good. All in all the album took 18 months to write, record and release. Much better than the 3 and a half years Visions took!

What’s your favourite song on the album and why?

This is the hardest question you’ve asked! Because they are all quite different it’s hard to pick. I think I have a favourite to play live and a favourite to listen to. ‘Armies Of The Night’ is a great live track. Loads of solos, riffs, energy, etc. As for my favourite on the album I’m going to say ‘Into The Mouth Of Madness’ just because it kinda has it all. The big build up intro, the verses are cool, the chorus is cool and catchy. It’s just an epic of a track!

What does the future hold for Neverworld?

Hopefully quite a lot! We are going to be busy this year in terms of playing live and supporting the release. We are currently planning a small tour for October but will have quite a few shows up until then too. I think we are likely to go back into the studio this year to do a limited edition EP and then next year we will be writing and recording a concept album. I won’t give too much away on that just yet but it’s something that would suit us to the ground and the 3rd album seems to be the right time to do it. To keep up to date on all things Neverworld make sure you like our Facebook page and check out our lovely new website http://www.neverworldmetal.co.uk

Thank you for talking to me and I sincerely hope everybody enjoys the new album. It’s available on the site and waiting for your ears now!

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Neverworld – Dreamsnatcher (Review)

NeverworldNeverworld are a Power Metal band from the UK. This is their second album.

This is the follow-up to their hugely enjoyable début album Visions of Another World.

Neverworld play their Metal full of leads, solos and lashings of rich melody. The band haven’t lost any of their ability to play, that’s for sure. This is definitely an album for people who enjoy solos, but I like that the technical playing is channelled into the needs of the songs too.

Keyboards add extra atmosphere where needed, but these are never overpowering or overly ostentatious; they do what is required of them, do it well, and don’t stick around unnecessarily.

Atmospheric, catchy, memorable, rocking, progressive – all of these words can be used to describe various parts of these songs and there’s enough quality content to keep the listener engaged.

It’s a pleasure to hear the singer’s voice once more. He remains in possession of a grand and powerful voice, one that’s equal to the task of keeping up with the equally grand and powerful music. He even seems to be developing a slight theatrical bent to his voice in a couple of places.

The songs are varied enough to warrant over an hour of playing time, yet remain cohesive enough to flow nicely and not sound all-over-the-place when it comes to album pacing.

The return of Neverworld is a pleasure to witness.

All Seeing Eyes – Trinity Road (Review)

All Seeing EyesAll Seeing Eyes are a Power Metal band from the UK and this is their début album.

Well this is a whopper. 18 tracks, 1 hour and 48 minutes of music. So prepare yourself; get some snacks and disconnect all lines to the outside world. When you’re ready, press play…

First thing’s first – this is a band put together by the main chap from Neverworld, and if you enjoyed their spectacular début, (go get it now), then you’ll already have a good idea of the quality that you’ll find in All Seeing Eyes.

This is a very ambitious album, and one that could have fallen short of expectations if it wasn’t for the stunning musicianship on display and the advanced level of songwriting the band show.

This is a very strong collection of songs, something that’s a hard enough feat to attain if you’re doing a normal album, let alone what is essentially two in one go.

The flashy playing, complex guitarwork, swathes of keyboards, etc. only add sparkle and glamour to the tracks rather than deflecting form their quality in any way. This is clearly the work of musicians who are confident in their ability to deliver the goods.

For such a long playing time I’m very pleased to say that the band never sound stale, repetitive or samey. Everything they do fits within the Power/Heavy Metal framework, but within this framework there is a lot of variety and all of it is pulled off seemingly with ease. Oh I’m well aware that countless hours of preparation, writing, practice, rehearsals, etc. must have gone into the making of this album, but when you listen to the finished product…it just sounds effortless.

Some of the melodies on this album go beyond hooks and catchiness…captivating would be a very good word. I’ve said before that a good singer can make or break a band, and All Seeing Eyes have a great singer. This frees up the rest of the band to be able to play some mesmerising Power Metal with full knowledge that whatever they do the vocals have the strength to match up to it.

This is an album full of top guitarwork, be that solos, leads, acoustic parts or just plain solid rhythms; it’s all polished to a high degree but not so much that it doesn’t drip with emotion. A hard balance to strike but again, seemingly effortless in this instance.

The abundant and omnipresent keyboards could easily sound smothering in lesser hands; as it is though they simply complement, enhance and merge with the rest of the music to create a fluid whole.

If this sounds like an overly positive review, that’s because it is. Trinity Road is so far beyond what most bands are capable of it’s almost embarrassing. The feeling when you hear such a good Power Metal album like this…almost nothing can top it.

This is a stunning album and I absolutely love it. What more can I say?

Confident, emotive Power Metal never sounded so good.

Interview with Neverworld

Neverworld Logo

Neverworld’s debut album Visions of Another World is a talented and energetic display of Metal prowess. I wanted to find out a bit more about them, so I quizzed lead guitarist/vocalist Ben Colton about their impressive début and the universe of Neverworld…

For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!

Hello! I’d describe us as an epic/traditional/progressive metal band. We try to take all the best elements of the old school styles and put a fresh twist on it. Come and check us out!

live 3Give us a bit of history to Neverworld

Well we were born in late 2009 forming from the demise of a couple of bands. Basically I was trying to put my old band Sentinel back together but when I couldn’t get everyone on board, those of us that were formed Neverworld. It’s been a busy and brilliant 5 years. We’ve worked very hard behind the scenes and it’s slowly starting to pay off. We’ve been very lucky with gigs, reviews and our fantastic fanbase right from the start. In 2010 we released our début EP ‘Welcome To…’, hit the road for a couple of years and back in March finally released our début full length album ‘Visions Of Another World’!

Tell us about your band name – where did it come from?

Picking a band name in this day and age is incredibly hard! Everything’s been done before so choosing a suitable name was difficult. We wanted a name that reflected our vision. Something with huge scope for song writing ideas and imagery. Right from the off we’ve considered ourselves to be an audio visual band and Neverworld just fitted that perfectly. It’s the place where we all go to when we go to sleep. The dream world if you will, where anything can happen!

What are your influences?

Personally I have loads. My taste is generally metal but quite diverse. I just love great well played well written music. I really admire bands who do something different every album but retain their signature sound. Bands like Fates Warning and Winger deserve a special mention for that. I’m also a huge fan of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, King Diamond, Manowar, Crimson Glory, Redemption, Mr Big, Thin Lizzy, Slaughter, Kings X right through to stuff like Alice In Chains, Dan Reed Network, Blue Oyster Cult etc. It’s a huge list and I could quite easily be here all night! I have a massive CD collection and I’ve probably been influenced by most of it at some point in my life!

What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

I’m about to release an album with my side project All Seeing Eyes so that’s getting a lot of my attention atm! The new Winger and Fates Warning albums are great. I’ve also been listening to Dan Reed Network and The Mob quite a bit but in terms of new bands or music I’ve just been introduced to I’d have to say go and check out my buddies Avenging Benji, Elm Street, Neuronspoiler and Wardrum. Insanely talented musicians and song writers and there’s a fantastic prog band from Italy called Astra. Amazing stuff

What did you want to achieve with your new album?

As much as possible really. We aren’t silly and we aren’t on a major label. There’s only so much we can do but what’s important is reaction and the reaction has blown us away. We’ve been blessed with great fans and glowing reviews. Something I’m very proud of. Sales wise it’s done quite well too. All in all we are happy with what it’s done. It’s paid for itself and our CV looks a lot better now than it did before its release!

Neverworld 4Are you happy with how it turned out?

Absolutely. Mainly because of what other people have said about it. I think there comes a point when you’ve heard it too many times and your own judgement becomes clouded. All you can do then is turn it over to the people that matter and cross your fingers which is exactly what we did. It was a very hard and long process making this album so in the end we were happy it was finally done!

What can you tell us about the lyrics and any themes/stories the songs have?

The themes of the album are quite diverse. We have a duet about a vampire and a girl falling in love. Sounds like Twilight right?! Not so, never even seen it. Very much influenced by Let The Right One In and Bram Stoker’s Dracula that one. We have a track about the movie They Live which is one of my favourites, there’s a song all about revenge, one about being haunted by spirits. There’s kinda something for everyone I think on the album. The track This Fire is all about having a desire so strong the flame will never go out. We’ll be experimenting more with themes on the next album and exploring Neverworld a bit more.

Give us a bit of information on the songwriting process

Well a lot of the first album was written a few years back. When we started out we needed 5 songs so we could go out and play live so I sat in my room and wrote some riffs quite quickly, took them to the studio where the others could have a say about it and laid them down. We were just a 4 piece then. Our original keyboard player left before we’d played a single show! So it was quite a straight forward process. Tracks like Ghosts and Eminent Reprisal came about a bit later and had more band involvement. We’ve started writing the second album already and it’s a completely different process now. Everyone’s involved. We are all sitting there in the studio laying stuff down, changing each others ideas slightly and stuff like that. The next album will very much be a complete team effort and I’m loving it. This band has some brilliant musicians and they all have their own influences so it’s going to be interesting to see what we come up with!

How did the duet with Christina Gajny come about?

I’m quite an impulsive fellow. I literally woke up one day and thought wouldn’t it be awesome if we did a male/female duet. I went on my laptop and started looking for a good lady singer. The first one I came across was the amazing Christina Gajny! I thought wow she’s the one. I messaged her but didn’t hear anything back for about a month! I figured she didn’t wanna know! Luckily she did reply and we wrote Blood And Romance. The rest is history! She’s a very talented young lady so I consider her involvement an honour. It was also a masterstroke because of her we had people actually turn up to see us when we started playing in London! Haha! She’s a great girl and if we do ever need a female vocalist again she will be it.

Neverworld 2How do you see your songs/direction developing in the future?

As I said earlier the song writing process is already under way. We are trying to write the ‘perfect’ album. Visions got a lot of great reviews but we have to better it. It’ll be tough but a task we are all up for. As far as music goes I believe in progression. I think that’s a really important part of being a musician. No part of us wants to make the same album again. The next album will have a lot of depth and variety. There will be out and out rockers, a couple of epics and hopefully some more prog style tracks. It’s early days yet but we have 6 ideas on the go at the moment and all are sounding like they could make the album. I’m excited and I think Neverworld fans should be too! Like I said we are on a mission to better Visions and we won’t stop until we have!

What’s next for Neverworld?

We play our final show of the year on September the 20th in our local club. Looking forward to that one. We are playing with Desolation Angels, The Deep and Death Valley Knights. All great bands so should be an epic night. Then we are concentrating on the follow up album. With our début we were recording and playing shows all over at the same time which didn’t really work. The album got delayed massively because of that and we don’t want to do that again. So we plan to hit the studio in a big way and get about 15 tracks done. The best 10 will make the album. We will also be making a video soon for a track off the new album. Really hoping we can get this all recorded this year and then spend next year back on the road. That’s the plan anyway! Wish us luck?!

Good luck!

Neverworld – Visions of Another World (Review)

NeverworldNeverworld are from the UK and this is their début album. They play Power Metal.

Visions of Another World starts with a short, atmospheric intro track before launching into their first song proper which is immediately all double bass, speedy riffs and keyboards/horns. It’s a strong opening that clearly states the intent of the band and the genre they play. Once the vocals kick in it’s cemented and you know it’s going to be a good run.

The band specialise in long songs that make the most of their many talents. The songs are colourful, rich and above all Metal. Soaring guitar melodies and omnipresent keyboards ensure that there’s never a dull moment to be had. There are also more solos than you can shake a stick at and it all sounds goooood.

The band boast a strong vocalist with a grand voice. He carries the tunes effortlessly and provides a focal point to the extravagant and showy music. He delivers a sterling performance.

This is a band that could never be mistaken for anything other than pure fucking Metal. This is epic, grandiose and pure class. The UK is not really known for Power Metal as much as the rest of Europe is, but Neverworld have created a shockingly good album that will surely see them rival the best that other countries have to offer.

If you’re a Power Metal fan you should make it your mission to snap this album up as quickly as you can.

Favourite Track: Blood and Romance. An epic song, the longest here and also features a great duet with Christina Gajny, (ex-Interlock). Fantastic stuff.