When speaking of or writing about music with legacy, it’s difficult not to consider where you were or even who you were when certain music had emerged and managed to evade your presence altogether. In 1992, I was nourishing myself with the MTV/FM spoon that had been handed me and many others whose lives had been irrevocably altered by Nirvana and whatever other malcontented distorted flannel-shirt act that had struck it rich for being a little off kilter and, at some point, having had some musical integrity. Doors had swung open and I was all too eager to proceed through and follow the path to most resistance. At least that’s what I thought at the time. Names also emerged: Interesting indie rock/post-punk legacy bands and acts that I’d learned influenced and ultimately informed Nirvana’s sound. The first time I’d read the name Steve Albini, for instance, it was in reference to Nirvana’s 1993 album In Utero, which he’d recorded (because he never says “produce”).
Steve Albini’s name is tied to Neurosis’ new album, Honor Found In Decay, his fifth with the band. With this their tenth studio album, and two decades after Souls At Zero, Neurosis continues to manipulate the die they’d cast, a contextualized model that has been re-appropriated by many bands that have followed, some of which may have been falsely accredited with being of the first to turnover soil Neurosis had initially trod. Not lacking in their familiar sonic heights, or scrimping on their somber and obsidian tones, Honor Found In Decay’s oversized blues jams scrape and crawl, trudge and pace. Blues-borne drones wallow in the largeness they generate, isolated wisps that find despairing resonance around the brawn presented up front. I write this while listening to “At The Well,” whose midsection bagpipes almost seems the funerary call before Neurosis slips into a riff-laden onslaught of aggression.
Listening to Honor Found In Decay, I find myself engaged more by the band’s mood, the feelings that guitarists Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till manage to pull from their strings in “My Heart For Deliverance” stays with me. The steady persistence of “We All Rage In Gold” opens the album with an unhindered rush of chord and crash cymbal, an effective and simplistic approach that introduces like plain truth the emotion at the album’s core. While I maintain that Neurosis keep the concentrated walls of heft that epitomizes their signature, I feel that they use this less as a way to impress listeners with giant sounds and more as an identifier. I felt this way the first time I heard 2004’s The Eye of Every Storm, wherein emotion seemed to outweigh musical approach, which consequently enhanced all of the band’s elements. I felt Neurosis devoted more of themselves to their music and Honor Found In Decay follows suit.
But, as percussive battery also remains essential to the Neurosis make-up, “Bleeding The Pigs” relies on ritualistic tom cycles from drummer Jason Roeder with minimal six-string intervention for most of its length. A torrent of noise enters, the familiar sound clips enter the mire; severity is still part of the equation. Neurosis is committed to what they’re about and no one can accuse them of going soft. “All Is Found… In Time” also gels in terms of the band’s past work and transitions into a very solid mass of humming guitar chords and blues metal howls. Cosmic synthesizer waves introduce some John Carpenter tonality to the conversation, and the guitars tend toward the broken anti-melody of 80s era post-punk or noise rock. “Casting of the Ages” is a morphing metal dirge, Roeder’s hi-hat and crash embellishments prominent as Kelly and Von Till get mileage out of their tones.
Album closer, “Raise the Dawn,” is pure power sludge, Kelly and Von Till collectively vocal as they generate doom and dissonance. A strangely incorporated, but no less captivating, violin emerges, romanticizing the band’s assault with emotive melodies and more or less demonstrating, through overt dichotomy, what Neurosis has achieved.
Twenty years past the point when they’d cemented their sound, Neurosis continues to build out relevant deviations to its persona, crafting records with permanence. Honor Found In Decay is another such record, a product of Neurosis’ consistency and their refusal to simply duplicate their past efforts.
Genre: Metal / Anarcho Punk
Label: Neurot Recordings
Site: Related Link
Similar: Isis, Black Sabbath, King Crimson, Torche,
- We All Rage In Gold — 6:36
- At The Well — 10:05
- My Heart For Deliverance — 11:41
- Bleeding The Pigs — 7:20
- Casting Of The Ages — 10:03
- All Is Found… In Time — 8:51
- Raise The Dawn — 5:58
This record is phenomenal.