Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Neurosis - Fires Within Fires

By Aaron Sullivan. The legendary Neurosis have returned with their 11th album entitled Fires Within Fires. It’s been four years since their last release, and as with each release, they are always progressing. Neurosis has always been a band that is in constant motion. Never settling, never compromising, never looking back
By Aaron Sullivan.

Artwork by Thomas Hooper

The legendary Neurosis have returned with their 11th album entitled Fires Within Fires. It’s been four years since their last release, and as with each release, they are always progressing. Neurosis has always been a band that is in constant motion. Never settling, never compromising, never looking back, always pushing forward, and pushing boundaries. With Fires Within Fires that progression may be their furthest since their transition from The Word as Law to Enemy of the Sun.

Photos by Pedro Roque.

With the albums leading up to Through Silver in Blood was band finding itself and it’s sound. Through Silver in Blood was a album of layers and torment that tested not only the listener but even the participants. Then came Times of Grace. The layers began to be stripped and elements of serenity were introduced. Both are seen as high water marks for not only the band, but for music. With A Sun That Never Sets and The Eye of Every Storm it was the quiet side of Neurosis. Both pushing the atmosphere element into new places. Given to the Rising was seen as the return to the riff. But still possessed a nod to the atmospheres of albums past. 2012’s Honor Found in Decay felt like the culmination of all that came before it. So where would Neurosis go from here?

Photo by Pedro Roque.

With the opening riff of "Bending Light" there is no mistaking, this is a Neurosis album. "A Shadow Memory" has shades of Given to the Rising and expands on what was done on Honor Found in Decay. The riff on "Fire Is the End Lesson" is as heavy as anything on Through Silver in Blood, or dare I say, heavier. "Broken Ground" is right at home with anything off A Sun That Never Sets or Times of Grace. The vocal harmonies of Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till on "Reach" could stand along with songs from The Eye of Every Storm. All the things we have come to associate with Neurosis are in this album. Heavy sludgy riffs, dark atmospheres, the sudden shifts from light to heavy, melody to distortion, light to dark. But Neurosis’ genius is not that they stick to a formula but rather that with each album they add and subtract to and from that formula. All the while refining it and honing it like a weapon of aural soul destruction. Nowhere it that more evident than on Fires Within Fires. The album is all meat, no fat. From the number of songs to the way the songs move they waste nothing. In many ways this album feels like a rebirth of the band. While still progressing with their sound and vision, this record stands proudly among their most seminal albums.

Photos by Pedro Roque.

This is an album made by a band that knows itself, while still looking to discover what’s next. There are songs that harken back to past records. But there are also things done on this album not heard before. Their will to push forward is still the strongest part of the band. Which says a lot for a group that just celebrated it’s 30th anniversary. To go this long and still be making music is one thing. But to make music that is relevant is another thing entirely. Neurosis is it’s own genre. They have created their own musical language with which they communicate their feeling and beliefs through. Other may try and copy or be influenced by it. But none in the 30 years of their existence have ever topped them, and if this album is any indication, the bar just got raised again.

Tagged with 2016, Aaron Sullivan, Neurosis, Neurot Recordings, Pedro Roque, post-metal
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