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Arguably the Best of the Best - 99%

Kneurosis, August 14th, 2008

I'm a big fan of "Souls At Zero", standing by that album as one of the best albums by anybody. Ever. Neurosis' next two albums were both good, but my expectations were lifted high enough by "Souls At Zero" that I was a bit disappointed in them. Then came "Times Of Grace", lurching out of the shadow that "Souls" had cast.

It fades in with a dreary synthesizer tune that's short but sweet, followed by "In The Doorway" which is my least favorite song on the album (and the reason for a 99 and not a 100). The song is heavy and driving but, like their previous two albums, just a bit on the dull side of the spectrum. Good but not great.

But next comes "Under The Surface" which opens with a solid tribal beat and Steve Von Till's kickass screaming vocals. Somewhere in there the song actually gets louder than it started out being, which seems almost impossible (and which will totally fuck your speakers up if you're not careful). It quiets down for exactly long enough with some ambient noise, only to erupt once again with deafening anger and sadness that Neurosis convey with such perfection.

The entire length of "Times Of Grace" drifts easily from wistful ambience to primal rage, namely in "Descent" and in "Away". Between those two songs is a weird yet catchy bagpipe tune that hints at more greatness to come from their following releases. It ends with a pleasantly sad little tune that somehow manages to successfully incorporate horns and a strummed accoustic guitar, rising to an epic climax before finally lulling into silence.

Then you press "Play" and listen to the album again. I've been doing that for about 9 years now and I still haven't gotten sick of it.