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I don't get it... - 55%

Ruhamah, July 29th, 2016

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."