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I'm a huge fan of progressive metal. I additionally love sludge metal and a good bit of doom! Hearing about these guys and what they've done for these respective genres peaked my interest as to what they're about. To be fair, I expected quite a lot. These guys after all have paved the way for bands like Isis, (one of my all-time favorite bands) and various other atmospheric/sludge/progressive metal acts. When first listening to them about two years ago, I was appalled, and not in a good way. I started with their album "Souls At Zero," an early dabbling into their now progressive and atmospheric sound. I found that not only were the vocals horrendous, the music wasn't all that progressive. Now two years later, my Neurosis hiatus has come to an end and I've done my fair share of listening within their entire discography. I've come to understand a little more as to why they are loved among some. But I've yet to understand the universality of this bands scope among metal heads as a whole. I almost feel inferior in seeing these guys as highly overrated and boring... but that's how it is. This introductory rant has been exhaustive, and I think its due time to get into the meat and potatoes of this album.
The album kicks into gear with the title track, "Through Silver and Blood." A fairly industrial sounding drumbeat eventually builds up to a reoccurring melody line that loops and progressively grows heavier throughout the first 3 minutes or so of the song. I honestly think this whole introductory section is pretty cool and has the potential to build into something pretty epic. Lo and behold however, the vocalist enters the picture. This dude should be in a hardcore band honestly. I was waiting for the instrumentalists to start playing some thrash because that would be far better for this vocal performance! Yet, for as much as I was annoyed by the vocals, I found the lack of diversity in the instruments to be equally disheartening. For this band being dubbed a progressive metal act, I was bored and taken virtually nowhere. The a minor chord progression established in the early minutes of the song is just about the only chord progression in the entirety of the 12 minute opening track. Repetition in itself really isn't a bad thing, (Ministry: Psalm 69, which is a fantastic album!), but this album takes the cake for monotony at its most mundane. This can be attributed to the absolute lack of buildup beyond a given songs introduction point, the lack of vocal range/versatility and the instrumental repetition.
There are some bright spots on this album though, and it's obvious that these guys are extremely bright and talented! Many of these song introductions are fantastic, ("Through Silver and Blood," "Purify" and "Aeon" in particular) The previously mentioned tracks are also pretty decent in their entirety, but certainly average in the larger picture of progressive, atmospheric or sludge metal. What disappoints me about these cool intros is that they build up to something, and ultimately play an established riff for the entire song. The vocalist is the last addition to the hodge podge and suddenly we got us some progressive metal? What of the meter changes? Key signature changes? New chord progressions? Ambient passages? I'm lost as to the exploration that's done in this album. Truth be told... I really don't need exploration or progressiveness to enjoy a metal album, but quite honestly as solely a sludge album, it still kinda sucks! I felt like this album had a huge amount of potential only to be limited to mediocrity and limited exploration on the part of the band members.
I still hope I can come to appreciate Neurosis with more time and more listens. I absolutely appreciate the bands they've influenced and the genre(s) they've helped pioneer, but as of now I'm still on the outside looking in as to this group and their widespread appeal among metal fans all across the board. For something similar yet vastly more exploratory and progressive, I thoroughly recommend Isis' album "Panopticon."
Final score 55/100
Highlight tracks, "Through Silver and Blood," "Purify," and "Aeon."
If there is one thing to be said about Neurosis, it is that they’ll never be caught making the same album twice. While some may have thought they were headed down more of a prog route after the experimental masterpiece Souls at Zero, they churned out a massive sludgy tribal mindfuck just a year later with Enemy of the Sun. While they would never cease to evolve, Enemy of the Sun proved to be the raw template which they would use as a springboard to explore new sonic territory. For the monolithic Through Silver in Blood, they took what they created on Enemy and basically snuffed out all light. This album is pure devastation. It’s not an immediate blitzkrieg of all-out war, but rather the sonic equivalent of slowly dying of thirst in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It’s a shame that music like this would be too alienating to use as soundtrack for movies, as it pretty much sums up the atmosphere of The Road.
Being an opaque clusterfuck of ideas is largely what gave Enemy of the Sun its charm, coming off like a stream of consciousness from the mind of a heroin addict. However, this is much more focused, and wholly focused in pushing the limits of brutality and emotional devastation in a way that hadn’t really been done before. Sludge had been kicking around for a little while before this, with it really taking off at the dawn of the ‘90s. But while groups like Eyehategod, Crowbar and The Melvins were digging into some pretty heavy stuff, that was a walk in the park compared to the sheer sonic massiveness of this. Swans’ early work, which predated Black Flag’s My War (the second half of that album basically being the definitive template which sludge was born out of), seemed to anticipate sludge and was some of the bleakest and most fucked up music around. I can hear the influence, and I would say this is the spiritual successor to works like Filth and Cop – bringing out the same primal impulse and raw vitriol in a way that further pushed the envelope of just how heavy, fucked up and devastating music on the slower side of the spectrum could be.
There are two elements here that are absolutely crucial in understanding why this is better than the previous album. Or two men, rather: Noah Landis and Billy Anderson. While Billy Anderson replaced Jello Biafra as Neurosis’s producer for Enemy, he has noticeably improved here. Not that the production was bad before, but it is absolutely massive here – I’d go as far as saying that this album couldn’t have been successful without it. Everything is as thick as tar, and sounds huge while still sounding rawer than a freshly slaughtered animal. Probably a big part of why this sounds so thick and big is because much of this is double tracked and the band has said that in some parts there were 16 fucking keyboard tracks going. Basically the modus operandi is to pummel with everything the band can throw at you. This is the first album to feature Noah Landis, creating the lineup that is still intact today. Plucked from the awesome East Bay hardcore band Christ on Parade, his work behind the keyboards really brings to life the crushing and suffocating atmosphere they are going for. While a handful of other Neurosis albums have industrial tinges here and there, Through Silver in Blood is the only one where it is integral to the sound. Much of this has to do with the bizarre dark and twisted keyboard effects. I, for one, can’t imagine the title track without that awesome industrial creaking sound. Like previous works, sampling plays a big part here. Not only in the inclusion of weird and unsettling sounds, but also harrowing spoken word bits, drawing heavily from experimental groups such as Throbbing Gristle.
Scott and Steve offer some pretty massive guitar here. Sure, there are riffs that bludgeon you over the head, but a lot of it is weird Voivodian swirling patterns or even the same chord or two pummeled into oblivion. The massive tone is really what allows this to work so well. There’s a lot of dissonance here, and very little melody to be found besides the occasional additional instrumentation. The bass slithers around like some ancient serpent, rumbling menacingly under the roar of the guitars. There are some particularly unsettling parts where the guitars drop out and the bass swirls frantically like an animal drowning in tar. The triple threat of the vocals is undeniably powerful here, with the two guitarists and bassist all adding a pretty unique voice. Scott and Steve both have pretty damn gravelly vocals, both drawing heavily from crust punk. Edward’s voice is a fucking spectacle to behold. He is used the least, making his inhuman bellows even more powerful when they do crawl up from the murk. Basically they are as demented a yell as possible without actually distorting the voice as done in most harsh vocals. Essentially, they are traditional hardcore vocals stretched to their logical extreme (probably past it, actually).
While all instruments are more than hauling their weight, the drumming here is absolutely batshit insane and an enormous part of what makes this album so memorable. Jason came into his own as a drummer on Souls, cemented his signature style on Enemy and gave the performance of a lifetime on Through Silver in Blood. That’s not to say he hasn’t progressed since, but never has the drumming gone as all out in Neurosis as it has here. While there is some interesting cymbal work on tracks like “Purify” and killer traditional drumming here and there, the tom-driven tribal patterns dominate and give this a sense of warlike intensity. If the rest of the album is wandering through a desolate desert wasteland, the drums are the lingering fear that you might be attacked by rabid scavengers at any moment. This kind of reminds me of Winter’s Into Darkness, not because the albums are necessarily similar (although there are certain parallels to be made), but because the albums would be awesome even with traditional drumming, but the unique and confrontational styles really gives them the edge they need to be absolute classics.
The main criticism I’ve heard of the album is basically that all of the songs don’t sound like “Locust Star”. To be fair, “Locust Star” is probably the best song on the album and easily one of the most memorable things Neurosis has ever done. A crusty rager, it condenses the songwriting into a much more accessible package. I mean, Edward’s “Will to Power” part at the end? Fucking forget about it. (Sidenote: check out the video of them performing this live at 1997 Ozzfest. It is hands down the most intense and powerful live video I’ve ever seen.) This starts a tradition of a more accessible song with easier to digest songwriting that would be continued in a few of their other albums – “Belief” and “A Sun that Never Sets” are two examples. I definitely think an album of “Locust Star”s would be pretty cool, but I do think Neurosis took the right approach here with the long, drawn out songs and more open-ended songwriting. Post-apocalyptic imagery aside, this is the soundtrack to being mentally drained and losing all hope. “Locust Star” is a hell of a lot of fun, but on the whole, this album is not meant to be fun. It’s meant to be draining, in a cathartic sort of way. The songwriting allows the brutality and sonic devastation to unfold in an organic way and become the main attraction rather than something giving the songwriting an extra edge.
While certainly one of the most dark and uncompromising albums I’ve heard, they don’t play at 11 for the album’s entire duration. This is a very good thing, as heavy music tends to sound heavier when there are lighter sections for them to be contrasted with. The lighter passages are definitely not light in spirit, though. These passages scream mental exhaustion and failure of the will. There are some gruff clean vocals here, which are pretty cool. There’s also some additional instrumentation, even further expanding the scope of the album. There are even some atmospheric bagpipes, which is pretty cool not to mention totally unexpected. The beautiful string/piano intro to “Aeon” offers a rare bittersweet glimmer of light through the darkness.
Through Silver in Blood is an unparalleled exercise in brutality and easily the heaviest sludge album out there. What most of these atmospheric sludge bands whose existence is only possible because of Neurosis forget is how damn heavy Neurosis could be. Who would have thought that three angry young men screaming at you over tom drums could amount to so much? Take crust punk, hardcore, doom, sludge, industrial and mix it in a tar-stained cauldron and you still would only be at the tip of the iceberg. I could try to pick apart influences all day, but at the end of the day that would be a rather futile endeavour as the whole point of Neurosis combining those influences into something unrecognizable. Bands of this caliber are well above just being a sum of their influences. Neurosis are truly trudging into new sonic territory here. This is the sort of primal shit that speaks to your lizard brain.
Where to begin..
This is one of the most important albums I have ever heard in my life. There, I said it. There's no easy way of saying that, but it's true. I'm not going to lie and say that I instantly got what this band were about when I first heard them in 1996. I didn't have a clue what I was listening to because it was so different from anything else I had ever heard before, and it was much more mature than I was at that age. I was only sixteen. Nothing can prepare you for this at age sixteen.
Yet I kept coming back to it. There's just something about Neurosis that keeps you coming back for more. And it's not exactly radio friendly hooks, either. The songs are long and hard to listen to. Especially with this album, I was later to discover, that you can't just really say "Oh I like Purify, that has some good beats in it, I'll just throw that on then listen to something else"
No. This album pretty much demands you to listen to it from start to finish, how it was intended. Not only that, but this just simply transcends music as a whole. It's so much more than that. When I stopped forcing myself to see it as "an album" and more like a work of art, a landscape, a painting, nature itself.. then it all made sense. I was sixteen when I first heard this. I was pushing thirty when it started to make sense to me, ,,,and the crushing doom fell on my shoulders with the weight of a thousand moons. The realization of what I was listening to, and what it made me feel, is so hard to describe. And the best part is that it can still make me feel the same way even after all these years.
"Through silver in blood
We stand judged not
By eyes of flesh"
Every time I hear that it feels like someone is dragging nails across my spine - steel on bone. The title track sets the tone for the rest of the album, but not the emotions. Listen to this on headphones and let the music wash you away. It will take you through all sorts of thoughts and feelings. A journey you're likely weren't prepared for.
"Purify" is one of the most special things I have ever heard. When I usually review albums I talk about production values, musicality, etc but none of that even applies here. It's just not important. I will say though, that when the guitars kick in on "Purify", it really is an uncomfortable experience, in one of the best ways possible. If there's one track I keep coming back to on this album, without being able to help myself, it's this and "Locust Star." Ah, "Locust Star", the song that got me into this band in the first place. I'm sure everyone has heard it by now. There's yet to be another song with such a terribly enormous, frightening ending as this one, save maybe "Stones From the Sky", another song by yes, Neurosis.
This is a concept album, so like I said earlier, should be listened to as such. Actually, must be listened to as such. Some people have gotten into detail about what it's exactly about here, and they are correct, but I would prefer everyone to listen to the album and come up with their own versions, their own visions, of what it's all about.
And that's the main thing here. Even though Neurosis use a huge wall of sound approach, what they are doing is essentially painting with music. Huge, sonic landscapes, as far as the eye can see, as far as the ear can hear. The lyrics complement the music flawlessly, and the most important thing here is that everything not only serves the songs, but serves the entire album. You can tell that either Neurosis set off with a very clear idea of what they wanted to achieve on this record, both musically and visually, or I get the funny feeling that honestly, they didn't do much, and just let the music channel itself through each and every member. So pure is the music, and the experience, to be found here that one really can't sit down and plan this sort of thing. It just poured out of them - all the filth, anger, frustration, hopelessness, hunger, blindness and blood - it just poured out of them.
The album ends on a terribly bleak note. That is another way of saying that it ends exactly the way it was supposed to.
I've been listening to Through Silver in Blood on and off for a good while now and have never gotten around to reviewing it. Strange, as this is easily one of Neurosis’ best releases and I’m here to tell you why I think this record is awesome.
Okay, so when compared to the precursor Enemy of the Sun, Through Silver in Blood is a massive step up. The production has been improved dramatically given the guitars are much thicker and more well-rounded edge. The song writing has become more immediate, with each track having a much stronger sense of urgency and purpose. This album has got a very natural feel to it despite the grimy industrial atmosphere. Songs feel organic, with each transition being a natural evolution and all of the songs coming together to form one cohesive package. Neurosis has always been good at consistency and this record shows why.
Musically, this is probably the most industrial influenced album by the band. There’s a definite Godflesh vibe running throughout, with the really thick and dismal melodies and the harshly yelled vocals. Thus this succeeds in giving the music a very heavy and abrasive edge. The pacing of the album remains slow to mid paced throughout, there are no sudden eruptions of frantic energy but rather the music succeeds in being thick, dense and dirge like in its hostile slowness. The guitars never play anything outwardly melodic but are instead used primarily for texture. The driving bass and militaristic, tribal drum patterns serve as solid backdrops to the endless wash of droning guitars and anguished vocals. It’s a great mix and one Neurosis pulls off like no other.
If you've heard later Neurosis albums then you may be shocked by what is on display here. There’s no folk influences, no post rock, but rather pure industrial tinged sludge metal. It’s rather simple and minimalistic as a whole, this is not pretty music, this is music created for the sole purpose of expressing the pure misery of existence. The influence of ambient is pretty clear through the long nature of the songs, with variation coming through only in subtle changes in playing style. Variation is something Neurosis has never strived for within the course of one album and they don’t need to. The band has created a winning formula through the use of extremely heavy riffs, tribal drumming and subtle electronics.
Similar to all Neurosis albums this is deep music that requires a lot of patience and an open mind to firmly adjust to. The band doesn't function on pop based hooks, but rather the creation of atmosphere through bludgeoning riffs. This is an album that needs to be experienced as a whole rather than listened to with a passive interest. The highly repetitious and abrasive nature of this album may be too much for most listeners, but I find a lot to enjoy in the stark representation of an industrial landscape. As strange as this might sound I’d say it’s probably the easiest, most accessible Neurosis album to listen to. Really, what’s harder to listen to, the bludgeoning riffs and unforgiving atmosphere of Through Silver in Blood or the lethargic rumbling of the bands later works? In fact, it’s probably a good album to start off with along with Given to the Rising, it perfectly embodies the sound of Neurosis but with a more determined sense of song writing. This is mandatory.
When I was first introduced to Neurosis by way of a sampler in 1995, my taste was centered around Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Death, Slayer, etc. and so my ears were in no way ready for what turned out to be a truly unique sound that so far only Neurosis has really mastered. "Through Silver In Blood" is an angry release that has combustible energy but is presented in a format that sets it apart from any other release that may have at their core that same sense of anger. Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till's screams coupled with Dave Edwardson's growls are again (forgive me for belaboring the term) a truly unique sound but on this release (especially tracks such as "Through Silver In Blood" and "Locust Star") they carry with them this very intense primal fury that conveys more aggression than many half-hearted death growls I have heard in my time.
Not unlike Opeth (how's that for an odd comparison? But stay with me) Neurosis is a band with which you need to be open minded and often patient and this is evidenced in several places on this album. The first full 2 minutes of the album is built upon this tribal like drum pattern that is surrounded by short previews of the upcoming guitar work and ambient soundscapes. An interesting thing to note is that after the full band kicks in - vocals and all - the drumming pattern while different than the opening rhythms is still using exclusively drums (no cymbals) save for a crash here or there. It is not until the 5:30 mark in that track that we even hear the hi-hat being used. While that may seem to be a small detail just browse through your collection - listen to how rarely you hear any drummer lay off the cymbals and focus on just the drums for an extended time (let alone over five minutes). The ending of the first track is another harbinger of things to expect on the album. There is a droning repetitive section that feels and sounds far more like some incantation than a verse. I know how boring it must seem to say they play the same two chords with a constant tribal drumming pattern and the same lyrics repeated over and over for over four minutes (!) but somehow it works - it just puts you into a trance. When Neurosis gets repetitive (or as some may view, self-indulgent), it seems somehow pure and transcendental.
That really brings me to the impression I got of the entire album. Songs like the title track and "Eye" drive with a steady aggression while songs like "Locust Star" have this intense melancholy couched in them and then there are songs that challenge the listener like the album closer "Enclosure in Flame". Among these tracks are these momentary diversions ("Rehumanize" and "Become the Ocean") comprised of ambient noise/soundscapes and manipulated samples that help propel the album to this other plane. This isn't some typical metal album about hell or death or torture or anything so commonplace or banal. I can't even begin to suggest what the unifying idea is behind the album. The lyrics, the motives, the samples, the feel overall make this a completely subjective experience - you will take from this album what you want to take from it.
The one thing I would think any fan of this band would tell you is that Neurosis operates on a different level than most. They aren't shredders with killer leads. They don't grind. They don't have headbanging breakdowns, familiar choruses, or a main theme. You can hear it in the music especially on this release, they really want to convey something and stimulate the mind not just get your head moving. They want to get your head thinking. "Through Silver In Blood" is one of those albums you need to experience not listen to. Start the album from the beginning and listen straight through, lay on your bed with the lights off, and let the music take you somewhere else.
Imagine living through a nuclear catastrophe. All that was around you now lies in ruins. Imagine moving amidst the devastation, alone, a wandering nomad roaming the bleak landscape. There is nothing but you and your slowly deteriorating sanity. That's what Through Silver In Blood is like.
Each song moves like a morose chapter, exploring all of the horrible possibilities that one may experience in the above scenario. Cycles of crushing hopelessness, terror, depression, and even a smidgen of joy in the forms of songs, all flowing meticulously, creating an immersive, gripping, and most enjoyable experience.
The album opens with the crushing title track, a representation of the fall of everything followed by an analysis of sorts with "Rehumanize". Then the track "Eye" shows the album starting to move, seeming like it is literally traversing this post-apocalyptic world, unsure of what one may encounter, with an eerie feeling of being watched. And then a gleam of some empty, but wonderous hope in the form of "Purify", wherein it seems that one is not alone after all, followed by "Locust Star", the terrible realization that the world once held dear is dead; all that was once loved has taken the form of vast wastes of utter ruin, and that nothing can ever repair it. The next track, "Strength of Fates", if when one's sanity slowly starts slipping away. Contemplations of suicide and gnawing thoughts of hopelessness and bluedgeoning despair take hold and slowly erode the individual. Despite making contact with other survivors, one trudges on with burdensome despair, empty and exhausted. "Become the Ocean" tries to make sense of all that happens and suggests to surrender to death. "Aeon" is the indivdual standing on the edge, looking in the gaping mouth of the only possible solution, weighing the options and consequences. The decision is made. One takes that final step into oblivion, ending this terrible story on a desparagingly bleak note on the final monster "Enclosure In Flame".
The atmopshere of the whole album is dense, crushing, and unforgiving, enhanced with layers of subtle, haunting electronics. The guitars serve mainly as textures, focusing more on adding atmosphere than riffing, but still impressive in the way they are written and played, with the heavily distorted bass driving much of the music. The drums drive the music the way it should be, sometimes with surging tribal drumming and other times with a more traditional, but no more less skillful, style. And, to top it all off, is the extraordinary vocal performance - Scott Kelly's angsty, melancholy screams and soft, bleak style of singing; Steve Von Till's supportive screams and backing vocals; and Dave Edwardson's sinister growls and bellows.
All in all, Through Silver In Blood offers up quite possibly the most unique and well crafted musical experience. Very few bands can hold a light to Neurosis's unmatched skill, let alone this relentless beheomth of an album. Although most are usually reluctant to label an album as being the best (or one of the best at the least) albums of all time, it is safe to say that this could very well be that album. The album is virtually flawless and will most likely remain unrivaled as being the best for years to come, even by the band that produced it. Listening to this album should be mandatory!
Often known for experimentation, Neurosis have sifted through the realms of metal and ended up at a crossover. When, for most, the road is blocked, Neurosis merely skip by it and create something that puts most other bands to shame. Experimentation has always been in their nature and I daresay it always will be. Throughout the career of the band, which has spanned many years, Neurosis have been tagged everything from doom to post-hardcore, from progressive to sludge. Truth of the matter is, no one can really define Neurosis. Their sound eludes every genre you could even attempt to pin it down to. Their sound expands and escapes the supposed inescapable territories of metal. Whilst the majority considers most genres and sub-genres within metal to have a particular sound, or certain characteristics that each and every band within it’s grasp adheres to, Neurosis seem to forget that and create something that can only stand on it’s own. Neurosis are, in truth, a mixture of things. An enigma, if you will. In fact, one could state, even from the beginning when they were mostly considered a hardcore punk band, that Neurosis were any one particular genre. Where there have been boundaries, the Californian based act have broken them down. Where there have been obstacles, the Californian based act have destroyed whatever it is that lays in their path. It is hard to believe, but ‘Through Silver In Blood’ is the fifth full-length in Neurosis’ career. It is, by many, considered to be the pinnacle achievement and the most outstanding work within the metal genre. Whilst this may seem like a deliberate exaggeration on my part, to those familiar with Neurosis and the inner circles of metal, that probably doesn’t seem that far-fetched a statement. Although most Neurosis records seem to breach the one hour mark, ‘Through Silver In Blood’ is truly an epic journey. Perhaps this sounds clichéd, but it is the only description one can give for such a mammoth record.
In regards to previous efforts, ‘Through Silver In Blood’ represents the first time in the North American bands career that all elements of their experimental nature came together in perfect harmony. Whilst I, personally, consider ‘A Sun That Never Sets’ to be their defining effort, this is the pinnacle, as I previously stated, to the majority of people around the world. It consists of the best elements that Neurosis have shifted together in one recording. Take songs like ‘Locust Star’ for example. This song exudes confidence. The band were in their prime at this particular moment in time. This song begins with mesmerising drums, which continue throughout the record, not just the song and an ambience that Neurosis have long since devoured and spat out. In terms of the atmospheric nature of this record, it’s a lot more punishing that previous efforts and more recent records. In comparison to something like ‘The Eye Of Every Storm’ which was more subtle in it’s approach, this record is blunt, brash and exposed. It allows the audience to see the true talents that are behind the instruments. ‘Locust Star’ was actually the very first Neurosis song I had ever heard. I remember the first time I heard it, sitting quietly, stunned and motionless, the song caused me to alter my mood and reflect upon everything under the sun. The odd thing about this Neurosis treat is that, personally, I consider this to be the bleakest Neurosis effort because of it’s dark and dismal soundscapes that surround the bare bones of the album.
For instance, I point out ‘Locust Star’ again, the influence of the bass on the record is superb. I love it when bands utilize the bass for all it’s worth and Neurosis do this on their fifth effort. The bass is constant and creative. It knows when to take center stage, when to back off and it’s concise and precise nature is everything that the bass section needs in order to be successful. There are times when bass will take the band in the direction it wants to go and will enhance the dark atmospheres that this record revolves around. Being such talented song writing and musicians allows Neurosis, as always, to incorporate other elements into their music. For example, piano sections, played in low notes that further develop the dark styling of the sound. Tribal influences have long since been a factor in Neurosis’ music and ‘Through Silver In Blood’ is no different. Synthesizers utilize the tribal sound well. Creating an abundance of rhythmic space like sounds that swirl and twirl around the guitars, the bass and even the steady percussion section. Vocally, Neurosis are the same as they always are. Scott Kelly has a distinctive voice and is able to carry the sound that the band portrays very well. His voice is rather gruff, so it’s dark and low sound flows alongside the superb melodies very well and creates a melody of it’s own. Vocals don’t have to be great, they just have to be suitable to the music. My main problem with this Neurosis effort, well, my only problem is the lyrics. In the past, I have enjoyed reading and listening to the lyrics being spouted out by Scott Kelly at the helm, but the lyrics present on this effort seem a shade poor in comparison to other efforts like ‘A Sun That Never Sets’ or ‘The Eye Of Every Storm’. For example, the lyrics to the title track, whilst they could be considered appealing to the senses as they deal with very human emotions and use words that humans can relate to, they don’t really have the same affect as other Neurosis lyrics have had.
“Through silver in blood
We stand judged not by
Eyes of flesh, when
Transit times cross
Prey vision consumed
Although, especially lyrically, this may not be my favourite Neurosis full-length, one cannot doubt the sheer intensity or power of it. It has stood the test of time and only continues to enhance the reputation of this already much loved band. Classic, in many people’s eyes.
Ever watch a film that showcases destruction on a massive scale and follows it up with scenes of weeping agony and retrospective? Say, a nuclear detonation with a mushroom cloud that slowly reaches for the heavens and the post-apocalyptic lifestyle that ensues? Or a meteor impact which produces a shockwave that slowly creeps out across the landscape and the consequent images of wrecked countryside? Maybe even a fire that sweeps across an expansive forest and the miles of charred earth that result? Perhaps a war that takes a catastrophic toll on two nations?
Well, on this here slab of post-hardcore sludge metal, Neurosis paint evolving pictures of gradual devastation that would easily go hand in hand with such events.
Right from the introductory seconds of the album - which feature odd industrial sounds, tribal drums, and a menacing guitar progression that ripples with volume and distortion - you sort of get that feeling you'd get if you were to wake up in the morning, walk out into your front lawn, look up into the distance, and watch in horrified disbelief as the sky itself cowers under an encroaching shadow that is slowly spreading across the atmosphere. Before you can figure out what the hell is going on, your ears are shattered by a desperate roar - "THROUGH SILVER IN BLOOOOOOOD!!!" - marking the transition from a purely suggestive sense of dread to something far more immediate. Guitars swell, still subdued as they crawl along, gathering strength much like a tornado that sweeps across the countryside, gradually becoming bigger and stronger; the bass, slightly distorted, shakes the very ground you stand on; the drums continue to pound out relentless tribal rhythms; Scott Kelly's pained yells fill your head, backed by the guttural intonations of Steve Von Till. Soon, the storm reaches its peak. The earth begins to split before you, the bleak sky begins to rain fire, and the skyline in the distance slowly begins to crumble to the ground. With several bowel-shaking bass slides, the same guitar riff that was but a shadow in the corner of your mind six minutes earlier explodes into a roaring, indiscriminate wall of sludgy ruin. The drums transform from a hypnotic pulsing to a creeping, pounding onslaught reminiscent of a wrecking ball methodically crushing its victims into dust. The next thing you know, you're on the ground. Your vision is blurred, your head throbbing. Sitting yourself upright, you look off into the distance. The storm is slowly retreating, and you are finally made aware of the utter desolation around you. The tallest buildings have been laid flat across the now barren landscape, the oceans themselves have been set aflame, and ash falls from a sky that sunlight no longer seems to touch. As the drums resume their primal throbbing and the guitars send shockwaves of undulating distortion across the diminishing soundscape, you notice other people around you. They are cold, empty... mothers clutch their children as their lost eyes sweep over a homeland that has been turned into a post-apocalyptic wasteland in the course of twelve minutes. As a final show of power, the music briefly reverts to the opening motif of rolling tribal rhythms punctuated by industrial noise before finally dropping out for good.
...and that was only the first song.
"Rehumanize" is a brief, slightly disturbing, yet oddly compelling track that contains twisted samples of various people talking about subject matter that is spiritual and strangely chaotic on top of a cerebral collage of mechanical sound. "Purify" is an immense moment of music that moves from a melancholy arrangement of gently ringing guitars and orchestral elements throughout the introduction, to a lengthy evolution of sheer intensity wrapped in trademark tom-heavy drumming and slithering, sludgy guitars... and on to the striking closing sequence that features rolling drum patterns and atmospheric bursts of distortion placed against uplifting and highly melodious bagpipes. Yes, bagpipes. "Aeon" starts with gentle pianos and subtle snare rolls in its first half, only to ascend into a monolithic scene of uncompromising tragedy in a second half that's as powerful and emotionally moving as it is destructive and militaristic. The remainder of the album shares a similar sense of crushing intensity and swirling dynamics.
Through Silver in Blood is immense. It is an absolutely triumphant soundtrack to the apocalypse and the subsequent rebirth of the world anew.
Listen and be swept away.
I'll say this plain and simple: Neurosis is the Pink Floyd of metal - and of our generation as a whole. They are completely unwavering in their experimentation; take a look at Pain of Mind, and compare it to, oh, A Sun That Never Sets. You would think of them as works of two completely different bands, and for all intents and purposes, they are. Neurosis is no longer the hardcore/crust/crossover thrash band it used to be in the 1980s/early 1990s. I have seen them bunched into just about every genre, falling under such extremes as indie rock and progressive death metal. And yet they are completely indefinable - one of their best traits. They are able to seamlessly blend together every type of music into a chaotic, melodic, crushing, and heart-stopping mixture that can confuse and startle even the most seasoned metalheads. Neurosis's style has been described before as a "wall of sound," an acutely accurate description. Forget your brutal death metal and grindcore; these guys are the heaviest and loudest stuff around.
Neurosis has really shifted in their sound recently; The Eye of Every Storm is far less punishing than their earlier works when they began really experimenting with metal. It was around this time, beginning with the release of Enemy of the Sun, that Neurosis began to make music that would push the boundaries of heaviness. Like, holy fucking jumping Jesus, is this album heavy. This is the kind of music that not only knocks your socks off - your feet come off in the process, as well. Through Silver in Blood is arguably their best work; it takes everything that was great about Enemy of the Sun, and knocks it up ten or so more notches. Like all of their better work, the album is completely unpredictable. The first twenty minutes, your ears are shredded by the colossal “Through Silver in Blood” and “Eye.” Then things seem to tone down into mellow, almost Floyd-ish territory for “Purify”… and then the rug is pulled out from under you yet again. Like all of Neurosis’s albums, Through Silver in Blood is long as fuck. Yet even at 70 minutes, the album neither drags nor bores. These are guys who truly, passionately care about their music – “real” musicians, if you will. Many of the songs exceed ten minutes, and yet they always leave you wanting them to be ten minutes longer. If my message has somehow been lost, I’ll be very clear: This is an incredible album.
As much praise as I could pour out for these guys would never be able to do them anywhere close to enough justice. Nor could I possibly (or properly) encompass the vast range of emotions captured in this musical offering. All I can say is this: After you finish this review, get up, grab your coat, keys, and wallet and go buy this album.
I've often found it strange about the lengths people go to praise Neurosis. The two albums I previously had, A Sun That Never Sets and The Eye of Every Storm are both amazing albums, but other bands have improved on those two cds'. But then I bought this cd, and it's an absolute monster. It's an exhausting, exhiliarating, mind-altering epic. It sounds primal and ancient. You get the feeling that Neurosis didn't actually write this album, rather, that they're all a bunch of mediums who channelled god, or satan, or quite possibly both, and got them to write an album for them.
I probably should stop raving about this CD and describe the music. The music is progressive doom metal with a big dose of ambience. The title track is probably the best point of reference. It's a dark, oppressive 12 minute monster, with frantic tribal drumming, brilliant and disturbing noise, and pounding, primal guitars. The guitars don't do a whole lot of different riffs, but they never get repetitive or boring. The anxious screams of the two singers, the brilliant rythym section and the crushing guitars add up to an experience that could best be described as overwhelming. Still, it's not all crushing tribal doom. Purify has a great mellow introduction that slowly builds up to massive riffs from hell. Aeon, maybe the best track here, has a beautiful piano, which continues it's slow melody while strings and drums slowly build up. Heavy guitars come and go, before a massive, despairing riff kicks in, and then the song slowly fades away into another melancholy strings and piano piece. The interludes are good too, particularly Rehumanize. It's a thought provoking spoken word passage, with some disturbing and awesome noise bits added.
Everything is perfectly in its place in this album. The guitars are chunky, a little bit muddy, but they are always playing the perfect thing. The Neurosis rythym section is very dynamic, and never sounds out of place. The only rythym section that even comes close would be the Isis one. The bass is content to fill the bottom end in, never really standing out, but the drumming really adds to this album, with the tribal, tom-heavy beats making each song better. The singers dont have the heaviest scream ever, but the commitment to their art is undeniable. The lyrics are all very well written, fairly opaque and abstract. I'm sure I could spend a lot of time trying to understand these lyrics, but with this kind of music, proper understanding is impossible. You're not really meant to completely understand this music; you're meant to surrender to it's awe inspiring power. And that's maybe a good line to end this review on.