Neurosis Sovereign

Describing the musical force that is Neurosis is a seemingly futile task. Words like dense, oppressive, beautiful, inescapable, organic and enveloping are close, but unless one truly experiences Neurosis' sonic embrace, its tranquillity and its wrath, understanding will forever prove elusive. Albums such as 1993's suffocatingly opaque Enemy of the Sun and 1996's churning, volatile Through Silver In Blood established Neurosis as the pinnacle of extreme. Like a collapsing star, none were heavier and none were more beautiful in their destruction and creation. 1999's Times of Grace refined Neurosis' vision by stripping away the excess layers, making for a clearer transmission of Neurosis' trademark funeral dirge. Sovereign, their first release on their label, Neurot Recordings, continues along the path tilled with Times... A clearer, more focused sound is once again employed (courtesy of Steve Albini) and different tangents are explored. Opening track "Prayer" is a stripped down movement that builds and builds despite its minimal elements, keeping the music relatively sparse and restrained while the vocals control the dynamics. However, Neurosis wouldn't be Neurosis without battering the listener with its overwhelming sonic assaults, and they are here in spades, transposed between moments of serenity, tribal drumming and electronic spasms, but as destructive, awe inspiring and monumental as ever. "Sovereign" is a 13-minute expanse that crashes and cascades, skilfully incorporating "Road To Sovereignty" (from Times...) into its structure, while "Flood" and "An Offering" are equal parts condemnation and redemption. Much like their live environment, Neurosis' music is completed by its visuals, included via CD-ROM, which is like a hallucinatory experience through Dante's inferno viewed with eyes tainted by decay. (Neurot)