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Ah, the pre-Steve Von Till Neurosis days. Like Pain of Mind, this is still very much hardcore. However, there are lots of hints at them trying to break away from the crowd. Scott has said in interviews that from the very earliest days of Neurosis they wanted to do something different, include additional instruments, make their style their own ect. This is still very much hardcore kids who are limited by their abilities, lack of good equipment and only have access to raw production. They do pretty well with what they have here, but at the end of the day this is more a curiosity for people who are really into the band than a standout hardcore release. That said, this is not bad at all and the bass is outstanding.
While still relatively bare-bones hardcore, this is pretty metallic and definitely has some thrash influences creeping in. The hardcore is more or less standard, but what makes it different is the little weird parts. There's a few sections with just the bass where they try to create some breathing room. "Pollution" starts with a really weird experiment that doesn't really go anywhere and I'm honestly not sure what they were going for. Others are a bit more successful, though. Jason has definitely upped his skills on the kit, starting the album with a pretty funky-ass rhythm. These sort of rhythms return quite often, although there's not really any early signs of the hypnotic tribal rhythms he later became known for. This definitely sees him moving beyond a standard hardcore beat, though. Dave Edwardson is really the star of the show here. The bass lines play circles around what the guitars are doing, and following them is easily the most interesting part of this release. He ups this for The Word is Law, although ultimately takes a different approach starting with their watershed album Souls at Zero.
This is really nothing revolutionary. It's just scrappy punk kids from Oakland doing their best to try and make something special with limited abilities. I think Steve joining was a major turning point for the band, and you can definitely hear way more experimentation with The Word as Law. Fans of hardcore will probably enjoy this well enough for what it is. No one should come into this expecting Neurosis as we know them. This is a good try and pretty decent for old school hardcore, but they still had a long road ahead of them.
This EP/Single was a sign of what was to come after "Pain Of Mind". Mostly straightforward hardcore songs here. What really makes this EP(and "Word As Law") stand out is the work of Dave Edwarson on bass. His basslines are mixed perfectly, driving most of the riffs/songs. His presense on this recording(and the next few as well) reminds me of the shift in Death when Steve DiGiorgio joined, where the bassist's work makes the music more dynamic and thier sound to stand out quite a bit more ( a difficult feat in the late 80's cali-hardcore/crossover scene).
Getting to the point here: This isn't metal, "metal influenced" at best. Bass driven hardcore/crust punk with song structures far less bland than most bands within said genre(s). Decent production(still raw tough), memorable songs. Worth the download(or purchase, if you're lucky).