Neverland - no, this has nothing to do with Michael Jackson's
Neverland Ranch nor does it have anything to do with Peter Pan's
adventures on the small island of the same name. Here we are dealing
with a new band from the land of army knives and cheese:
Neverland was founded by drummer Boris Stoll and guitarist
Daniel Huber back in 1999 in Zurich, they quickly became a 6-piece
with Andres Mislin (Guitars), Roland Jost (Bass), Mike Zotter
(Vocals) and Manuel Wagner (Keyboards) completing the line-up. Under
the guidance of highly acclaimed Swiss producer Tommy Vetterli (Kreator,
Coroner) they recorded 4 songs, which saw the light of day in the
end of 2003 as a Maxi-CD. Tension within the band led to the
departure of Mike and Manuel, who were replaced by vocalist Jean
Marc Viller, whom some of you might recognize from various Swiss
underground bands (none of them rings a bell with me) and keyboard
player Oliver Benz.
'Schizophrenia' is their first full-length album, and once more
they've turned to the guidance of Mr. Vetterli, and he has provided
them with a good and solid production, which fits their style and
They do mention bands like Royal Hunt, Symphony X and Dream Theater
as influences, and to some extend I can follow their statement, but
I have to throw in Vanden Plas as well to give you a clearer picture
of the kind of progressive power metal we are dealing with here.
Skilful musicians, strong songs and a good vocalist are essential
for any band to have a chance in this genre today, and Neverland
has it all. The duels between guitars and keyboards, the vocal
acrobatics and a very tight rhythm section is just some the key
ingredients on this great album, which makes this album enjoyable.
2 of the songs: "Mysteria" and "Neverland" from their Maxi-CD have
made it onto this album, and they fit in nicely with the seven
remaining songs. 55 minutes of very entertaining progressive power
metal is on offer here, and I am sure fans of the above mentioned
bands will get a kick out of this album as well... and I am sure
this album will give this up-coming band much deserved attention.