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Fans of Neurosis's later material may find it hard to fathom that this crust-laden hardcore punk album is by the same band that made Given to The Rising. Hell, Souls at Zero was only four years later and they were already a completely transformed band. While this album doesn't push the limits of what heavy music can be, like their later albums did, this is a highly enjoyable collection of punk songs.
Neurosis are not known for sounding like other bands. If anything, they are the ones being constantly copied. However, this album features Neurosis playing a more conventional style. Yes, it is true that this type of thing has been done many times before, but Neurosis did a damn good job at playing it. The music does not completely follow a formula all of the time, however. There is the occasional emergence of a thrash or doom metal riff. The instrumentation never becomes very complicated and the production is raw - both of which work perfectly for this type of music. The dual vocals create an energetic dynamic, as well as keeping the album from getting stale. Another thing that wards stagnation away from this record is that while there is plenty of fast stuff, they often slow it down for a change of pace.
While not all songs are created equal on this album, none of them are bad. "Black" features a positive sounding introduction, which is quickly contrasted by muddy punk guitar tones. This song features great bass lines and some of the best vocals on the album. Their brilliant riffing on "Domino Falls" is not something a punk fan will soon forget. "Grey" is another highlight of the album, which really shows off the chemistry between the two singers.
The lyrical content of these songs are what you might expect from a punk band; being largely about political struggles and injustice as well as providing a condemning critique of society. As you probably assumed, every thing about this album is punk, and if that isn't your thing, then it is highly unlikely that this album will convert you. If punk is your cup of tea, then this record will not disappoint.
On thier first full length Neurosis(comprised of ex-Violent Coercion members) combined the most furious elements of hardcore groups like Amebix, Black Flag and Discharge. Pain Of Mind is a brilliant mix of D-Beat(bands that emulate Discharge), West Coast hardcore punk, with some metallic influences here and there. Even in this primitive incarnation Neurosis' music remained progressive (check out "Reasons To Hide" and "Black") and thrashing ("Progress" , "United Sheep", "Bury Whats Dead"). Excellent beginnings from one of the few original groups that has proven themselves both progressive and consistently entertaining (both live and on cd) over the years.
I'd recommend this to fans of 80's hardcore punk, D-Beat, and maybe even Crossover fans. Keep in mind this is fast, crusty screaming punk music. Not metal by any stretch of the imagination. Crucifix, Nausea, Discharge, Rudimentary Peni are just a few bands to check out if you're liking Pain Of Mind.