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Not quite up to Neurosis's usual standard. - 72%

caspian, September 20th, 2006

In case you didn't know, Neurosis are one of the most ambitious, intelligent and experimental metal bands around. Their deep, unnerving mix of sludge, folk, noise and hardcore sounds like no other band around, and much of their 90's output was about a decade ahead of its time, creating interesting prog sludge stuff when other prog-sludge bands weren't even born.

Like Times of Grace, this album treads the line between their 90's stuff and their latest two albums, but it's a bit closer to A Sun that Never Set's Minimalism then Times of Grace's heaviness. Prayer starts off pretty quietly, and for those who have A Sun.. will notice that it's extremely similar to From Where its Roots Run. A clean, haunting guitar line kicks this track off, before the song goes into Roots Run.. territory. It's by no means a bad song, but this is Neurosis.. you expect a great song! The climax is somewhat disappointing- in the end, the song doesn't really to go anywhere.

That's basically the main complaint about this album.. THe songs aren't terrible, indeed they're all quite good, but they don't seem to be fully completed. To me though, that is a valid, and major complaint. An Offering is probably the heaviest thing Neurosis have done since Raze the Stray, and Flood is a pretty cool Interlude, but the first three tracks don't seem to have any sort of release in them. They build up, they end; there's no catharsis. Chances are, the crazy folks in Neurosis did this deliberately, regardless, it's still a fairly annoying way to end songs.

Sovereign, however is a pretty cool song. It's not the most accessible song ever, but it still rocks. It follows a very Post-rock structure (quiet, loud, quieter, SUPER LOUD!!1) and it works quite effectively. Guitars drone away in the background, noise elements come in while the drumming builds up, there's some awesome dual vocal action with big riffing, this continues for a while until the ten minute mark comes, when clean vocals and an ominous piano line plays in the background. There's another final build before an awesome, nice, heavy and melancholic ending comes on, with some good use of synths and the typical big Neurosis riffs. It's a bit too brief, but it's still a good song.

Basically, all the Neurosis elements are here in this EP. It's crushing, fairly well produced, we have the great rythym section and the super passionate screamed vocals we've all come to know and love. However, the first three songs really don't have that much of a climax, and perhaps should've been worked on more. REgardless, those songs, and the album itself, are good listens, though chances are you won't feel satisfied when it's done.