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Neurosis – Honor Found In Decay

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Neurosis - Honor Found In DecayThere’s something eternal, something relentlessly omnipresent about Neurosis, despite their constant shifts in sound. They’re not so much like a band who play music at you and every couple of years record some of it; they’re more like a BIG FUCK-OFF ASTEROID where the music is ALWAYS playing, and which sometimes passes close enough to Earth that we can hear it for a while. Although it’s fucking loud, so it doesn’t actually come close enough to wipe us out, although at times it sounds like it really wants to. And at other times it sounds like a transmission back from a future after it HAS wiped us out.

Basically, Neurosis are BIG. Big men playing big music on very big instruments. And they’re VERY metal. Through absolutely fucking massive amps. Swans may be defiantly genre-resistant, SunnO))) may have gone so far off the deep end that only Cthulhu himself could accurately describe them, Earth may have tunnelled so deep that all the labels have fallen of, but Neurosis are still very much a metal band, although they’re in a peculiar sub-genre of metal called “sounds like Neurosis metal” (some would say “post-metal”, but I think “sounds like Neurosis metal” is catchier somehow), and currently there isn’t anyone else rocking that particular pigeonhole.

There are riffs. There are bloody great riffs and shouting. There are bloody great riffs and shouting and bits where you can bang your head. Only you don’t really need to, because Neurosis have just smacked you over it with big slabs of volume. They’re like a force of nature. Like the sea, or the rock, or more accurately like a fucking monstrous wind, one with bits of metal suspended in it, the kind that blows in every now and then and cuts everyone to the bone. And then builds immense structures from the skulls, like a post-Apocalypse Tamburlaine doing a spot of Bank Holiday DIY. The only real criticism one can really level at them these days is that they’re not called Teurosis, as that would allow the more OCD among you to file them between Swans and Tool, where they would fit pretty fucking well. Yeah, they’re pretty prog now. There’s folk in here, too, and (whispers) some gothy bits. And I suppose “doom metal” would do adequately for some parts. Just for some parts, mind. As I say, “sounds like Neurosis metal” is about the only accurate description. (Imagine having a “sounds like Neurosis metal” festival. With fifty bands over three days. All of whom are Neurosis. As the old Texas Chainsaw Massacre poster said, “Who will survive and what will be left of them”? But it’d be one hell of a way to go).

But I tire of taxonomy. Let’s get back to how it FEELS. What really makes it all work are the moments of quiet and calm (as a previous release would have had it, “The Eye Of Every Storm”). They’ve carried on going simultaneously outward and inward since their punk origins, and Honor Found In Decay sees Neurosis at their most unashamedly epic (not that they’ve ever been ashamed of being epic before). Beginning with an almost unbearably ominous quiet passage, “We All Blaze In Gold”pretty much sets out their stall – it’s undeniably Neurosis. And then you’re into it; buffeted for an hour on seas of sound, left to drift every now and then, but for the most part tossed hither and yon on turbulent oceans, caught up in the gravitational pull of that BIG FUCK-OFF ASTEROID we mentioned before. “SET ADRIFT I PRAY TO THE OCEAN” bellows Kelly on the titanic “My Heart For Deliverance,” and by this point you know what he means.

By the time “Raise The Dawn”‘s violin outro flings you coughing and half-drowned onto the shore, you’re the Ancient Mariner, who stoppeth one in three to say, “Have you heard the new Neurosis album? It’s fucking great.”

-Deuteronemu 90210 for Pope-

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