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NEVER WASN'T

Crossover Prog • United States


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Never Wasn't biography
US outfit NEVER WASN'T was assembled by Michael Matier (guitars) some time after his former band Ten Jinn decided to relocate from the US to Sweden, and Matier opted for staying behind.

After hooking up with seasoned musicians Ronny Lapine (vocals), Snake (bass), Grant Cooper (keyboards) and Jeff Koza (drums) they started working on their debut album. In 2008 their self-titled initial effort Never Wasn't was issued on the Used Karma Music label.

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Never Wasn'tNever Wasn't
CD Baby 2008
Audio CD$14.96
$9.49 (used)

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NEVER WASN'T discography


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2.44 | 5 ratings
Never Wasn't
2008

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NEVER WASN'T Reviews


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 Never Wasn't by NEVER WASN'T album cover Studio Album, 2008
2.44 | 5 ratings

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Never Wasn't
Never Wasn't Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

2 stars From what I can see this 2008 album was the only release from this American outfit, and the website doesn't appear to have been updated for some time so I'm not sure if they're still active or not. Anyway, what we have here is an album that could easily have been released some thirty years earlier as this is late Seventies 'prog' for Americans who feel that bands like Styx and Angel are the pinnacle of that genre. When I first heard this I had to check the release date, as even the artwork could be from that period, but I don't want to give the impression that this is a bad album because of that; it's average not due to the feeling of being in the past, but because there are times when it just isn't as good as it could be.

Ronny Lapine mostly has a strong vocal style, but there are times when he goes a little off-key or doesn't seem able to hold the long notes, which does somewhat detract to the overall feel. But incredibly there are times when he hits loud and clear which makes me wonder if the recording sessions weren't as long as they might have wished and that they weren't able to capture all the best takes. There are hints here and there of Yes, and at times of Saga, but mostly this is an American rock album that has will find some fans. I'm just not one of them. www.1russ.us

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 Never Wasn't by NEVER WASN'T album cover Studio Album, 2008
2.44 | 5 ratings

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Never Wasn't
Never Wasn't Crossover Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars Very interesting work fo this US band and very pleasant to listen ! I think which, in spite off the band don't shows any great innovation, the musicians "walking" with a cleary control of a large styles of rock ( fact which I consider fundamental in any progressive band ). Changing the musical atmosphere from track to track, crossing the hard, folk, blues, symphonic, pop, etc...and mixing influences of 70, 80, 90's music the band almost make a revision of the trajetory of prog rock ( obviously, a total revision is impossible). Although ,NEVER WASN'T Never Wasn't is far from be considered a essential item in a prog collection... I like very much !!!

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 Never Wasn't by NEVER WASN'T album cover Studio Album, 2008
2.44 | 5 ratings

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Never Wasn't
Never Wasn't Crossover Prog

Review by avestin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars I read someone mention this band and their new album in a thread on Progressive Ears and so was interested in having a listen. I did, however, expect something else, particularly after reading the short album description on CD Baby.

I'll mention my impression of several songs on this album:

Starting with an interesting and exciting intro in the opening song "Can't Find The Door", the rhythm then slows down, the singing begins and the tune loses its original charm. The keyboards sound is a bit annoying and doesn't mingle very well with the rest of the sound.

"Timeline" is better with regards to the instrumentation and its sound; there's better integration of the whole band's sound, sounding more as a unit and not as un-homogenous bunch of instruments. However, there's still a problem with the mix to my ears. Aside from that, the song itself is nice and catchy, though I don't like the vocalization too much, but others may obviously. There's a good keyboard accompaniment throughout the song, giving it an old aroma of older rock. "Changing Seasons" also has a good and catchy tune but the vocals detracted the enjoyment from the music for me.

"No More War" has a pop-ish/80's rock sound to it and the strong synth sound only serves to enhance this. This is probably my least liked song in the album.

"Take A Moment" has a good opening, again like I mentioned before, and it then takes a turn and moves into an even better rhythm with a dominant bass presence. The song itself, surprisingly, doesn't fail to keep up the promise it presented. This song is one of the few highlights in this album along with "In Tune With The Moon" and "The Last One".

Another such song is "Leprechaun" which is rhythmic and enjoyable but the sound of the keyboards reminds me of my old organ and my music class where we'd play together and having this type of sound. This type of sound is prevalent throughout the album and probably is what the band had at their disposal but this song can sound much better with different instruments; but the good basis is here.

I could go on about the other songs, but there's not much more valuable info or opinion I can add. I'll conclude with saying that there's not one song that left a particular impression on me.

General points:

I don't like the voice of Ronny Lapine, the lead vocalist (I truly don't mean to insult) and I don't think the backing vocals do much to help either. To me, the vocals detract from the music. But as we all know, your mileage may vary with regards to that. There are some songs where I think his voice suit very well, like "The Last One" for instance. But overall, I thought it wasn't 'in line' with the sound, mood and spirit of the album.

They have the potential to create interesting and well-done tunes and song, but it seems to not come into full fruition. Some songs open quite strongly (the two first songs for instance) and others have good form and sound to them but then the song as a whole sound missed, not living to the promise or potential it has. In the end of the album, I can't say there's a memorable song I'd like too re-listen to.

The sound and mix makes the band not sound cohesive and solid; to me it sound as if the instruments don't mix well together.

Not exactly prog-rock, it is more prog-ish-rock, with some neo-prog influences ("Take A Moment" for instance reminded me of Arena for some reason) and some 70's prog (as is evident from the synth sound on some of the tracks, "In Tune With The Moon" for instance).

Overall, I will not be coming back to this album for further listens. I have no intention to bash this album or the music for there are, in my opinion, good potential and some enjoyable moments. But two general things make this an album I don't particularly like: - The album's sound/mix and the vocals and all other technical issues. - The music itself doesn't do much for me. Apart from occasional nice tunes, I find it to be generally a miss for my taste.

What I think/recommend/wish they should do is invest more effort on developing the music idea they have in each song. There is already evidence for them doing that in songs like "In Tune With The Moon", "Changing Seasons" and the opening of "Can't Find The Door". Aside from that, getting a different keyboards set to have a richer sound and play around with the mixing to get the various instruments to sound evenly and more clearly (the bass wasn't that dominant for example).

Maybe if someone else had reviewed this, he or she might have come with a different view of it, so I suggest caution and to take a listen to their music in their website.

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 Never Wasn't by NEVER WASN'T album cover Studio Album, 2008
2.44 | 5 ratings

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Never Wasn't
Never Wasn't Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars A pretty average effort by this US outfit, but one that do have it's moments now and then.

Fans of old-fashioned pomp rock like it was made in the late 70's are the ones who really should take notice of this production though. If acts like Angel, Moxy, Wrabit and Legs Diamond are among your favorites, this CD is made for you.

For those unaware of these bands, an easy description of the music on this release is that it comes across as a mix of symphonic progressive rock and AOR-tinged hard rock. In this particular case bombastic and melodramatic elements are added to the mix, possibly inspired by bands like ELP.

Never Wasn't hasn't quite managed to create strong melodies though; if it's a compositional, production or mixing matter I'm unsure of. There's a few exceptions to this, and in the instances where performance, composition and mix does gel we get to hear a pretty talented bunch of musicians. This doesn't happen often enough though, and overall this makes for an average effort.

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Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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