Neurosis keeps on giving, but they are doing it on their terms. This is not music for the sake of contractual obligations. It is closest in kinship to the true hardcore punk sense of “lifestyle”, with the band embodying the principles of integrity, community, evolution and success on their own terms. Take any Neurosis classic, from Times Of Grace to Sovereign to Through Silver In Blood, and you will be privy to musical soul searching of the highest magnitude. There are few bands that you can actually HEAR have mental breakthroughs on album.
“All Is Found…In Time”, one of the standout tracks from the new Neurosis album Honor Found In Decay, could just as well serve as a summary of the band’s philosophy. Through constant digging, trudging through darkness, catharsis and into blessed gnosis, the band manages to leave no stone unturned. This is not to imply that they genre hop like crazy time signature giddy college kids who just discovered Dillinger and Behold…The Arctopus. Of course not! What I plainly mean is that every record is a voyage, a harrowing of hells and a celebration of victories. The dedicated faithful listeners are rewarded with a passenger seat view of the trip and insight into one of the great “glass onion” bands in metal.
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Honor Found In Decay does the unthinkable and manages to maybe surpass, or at least equal, Given To The Rising (an album whose opening title track seemed like the track Neurosis had been born to write). Decay is album of the year material, coming out (unfairly) at the end of a year that saw many great releases who might be forgotten when critics polls are freshly swayed by this fucking JUGGERNAUT. So yeah, before I go on and gush, a tip of the hat to Royal Thunder, Ereb Altor, Ministry, Eagle Twin, Ephel Duath, Christian Mistress, Baroness, Manners, Testament, God Forbid and Xibalba (to name a few bands who fucking killed it in 2012). I think I just accidentally wrote my top heavy music 12 of 2012 list (Neurosis included)!!
“Cracking the bones to get at the marrow”, the band screams in unison towards the end of “All Is Found…In Time”. After passing through a wash of acid noise and distorted squall, manic snare hits, climbing spirals of inspiration, back-bent doom and a shimmering post-rock section. It is varied, but each part seamlessly is in conversation.
The Eye Of Every Storm was an important, calmer album for Neurosis to make. Ever since they have managed to breathe a little more. Claustrophobia has always been an important element to their music at times, and it still is. They have always been dynamic, but really embracing spaciousness a few albums back has watered their garden, so to speak. Rising and Decay both benefited prodigiously, as evident in the masterful sense of movement AND completion to these new songs.
“We All Rage In Gold” has a marching, snare-centric beat that reminds me of Shellac. Steve Albini must have loved it. The brittle kit sound kicks ass as a bedrock for the ear piercing high background sounds and wash of Red Sparrowes-esque post-rock guitar march. This song sets the tone for facing death and transmuting through lessons learned. It should and most likely will give you goosebumps. Once again they have outdone themselves. Several tracks surpass or meet the ten minute mark, but this is no Phish record with passages that are basically filler.
“Raise The Dawn” (not the stray?) opens with an Enemy Of The Sun reminiscent sample and then descends into buzzsaw guitars and what sounds like tonal horn playing in the background. It is hard to tell because it clobbers so hard that you feel like you were just clubbed upside the skull.
I could go on and on, but like the best music, it is best experienced for yourself than filtered through the frail and flawed lens of human description. It goes to show…”Seek and ye shall find.”