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Purify. - 75%

Perplexed_Sjel, July 6th, 2008

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

Bleeding one
Bleed alone
Breeding love”

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.