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Shining black star - 100%

caspian, April 1st, 2006

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.