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Neurosis Ranked

Genre: Early Neurosis Hardcore/Thrash Crossover[87-90], and Sludge Metal/Dark Ambient/Industrial/Progressive/Post Metal/Experimental[92-present]. In an effort to stand out from the rest of the Neurosis rankings I've included ratings, descriptions and two of their 4 EP's as well, since the other two EP's are just live/edit songs. Although I've heard plently of Neurosis throughout the years I decided to mentally focus on truly dissecting them more recently, in an unbiased way; whenever possible.
1Neurosis
Times of Grace


5 - This sixth LP brings a ton of good elements to the table. I especially like the drone whether its ambient drone or distorted drone the overall album itself gives a sense of drone while incorporating many delightful layers like synths and tribal drumming. Neurosis' songwriting here is very mature and focus. Although made up of 11 tracks the whole album flows together as one body as sometimes I don't even realize a new track has even started. But what's more important is this albums manages to stay in the 'excellent' to amazing range throughout without loosing steam, despite its 'length'. The production is on point as well. I especially like how when synth layers of violins come in the guitars take a slight lax so everything can mesh. Dynamics, or man don't let me talk about dynamics... The dynamics here are phenominal. The shifts, whether going up or down, almost never lose any bit of emotion. The infusion of electronic elements like spattering glitches are all perfectly timed, not to mention the skit dialogues too. Up to this point in Neurosis' catalogue it seems like they've never dedicated this much attention to their song-writing and clearly everything, because of that, has come out successful. Without a doubt this album was meant to be listened to in full from beginning to end. You can just listen to a track here or there and expect to get the most out of this album. There really is no track that is better than the other, they're all just as good as the next! The riffs structures here also take on new meaning. By this I mean the outlay of the riffs are strictly tailored to moods and lyrical lines which is apparant throughout this album and that element itself is very rewarding as it breathes depth to all moments, making everything pop out in enjoyment. Some of the harmonic/minimal melodic elements of Souls at Zero also bleed through perfectly here. Just about every enjoyable element from their past work has been effectively integrated here with the exception of several new elements; like a marriage of old and new conforming to a single being. Even the clean sung vocal moments are perfect and filled with emotion, fitting the established scenarios like gloves.
2Neurosis
Souls at Zero


4 - Their third LP shows Neurosis' biggest style shift, almost entirely ditching the hardcore/thrash crossover style. You can hear their past sound leak in from time to time but with Souls at Zero Neurosis sounds like an entirely different band. Fortunately the vocalist is style recognizable, and even further, the music takes on more of an atmosperic/heavy/sludge/emotional feel and they succeed entirely at this endeavors here. In fact, with such a dense atmosphere its good to hear the vocalist higher pitched style blend through so perfectly. Although their previous LP 'The Word as Law' was more riff filled and technical it didn't hit the emotional feel that 'Souls at Zero' does. The chord choices, progressive choices, and passage length choices are all superior here. The progressive styles from their previous work is also taken further here. The title track off this clocks in at one of their lengthiest tracks to date but because its so tasty with harmozing riffs it feels shorter than it actually is; and this is a good sign of good song-writing. The use of dynamics, which is one of my favorite elements in music, is in a differnt league here. For instance, 'Flight' begins with a style that was more notable on their previous LP but with some inventive style of higher octave string bends and variations on sting tones and dynamic shifts that drop from blistering heights to a level plain of folk'like goodness it is anything other than what they've done before; a good testament to show how plethora's upon plethora's of riffs are pointless if they're not effective. The spoken dialogue/skits are fantastic here and this rating could be higher if the latter album half was as good as the first.
3Neurosis
The Eye of Every Storm


4 - Right from the beginning, for some reason, you can tell this eighth is going to be much better than 'A Sun that Never Sets'. It starts off strong, there's effective dynamics, there's new feels, and fitting clean vocals with supporting backdrops that just work. TEOES is like cinematic journey and the music is graceful and even a little mysterious at times. The album art is a good reflection of the music and production; which is clear,crisp, simple, yet effective. TEOES takes its time but it develops well when it does. It doesn't lag, it just waits for the most opportune moment to strike once all the proper elements are in place. There are moments in the title track that are solid but underwhelming and not up to expectations, but this is quite rare actually. I like the dissonant approach to the intro to 'Left to Wander' as you can here the drums going strong but far off in the distance with drone synths overtaking it. A quite enjoyable element indeed. The track is actually thematic and it pulses up in down, jumping in and out of a common mode but eventually as the track closes we are circled back to the dissonant drums and dense atmosphere, with a touch of furtherance. TEOES takes on more of a post-rock/sludge vibe than straight up sludge, and it works very well. This album actually brings to mind how effective Neurosis have been in varying their albums. Rarely do you find repeated songs, riffs, or albums. 'Shelter' is a great track, a progression from their last albums attempt to bring mellow moments to life and this track show the true art of dynamic power and minimalism. If it wasn't for long drawn out boring tracks like 'Bridges' this album could be so much more enjoyable. I understand the tracks purpose but its not necessary. Fortunately, the closer is excellent.
4Neurosis
Honor Found in Decay


4 - The most recent tenth LP release of Neurosis is quite a good one and I really appreciate the styles that are used here. What makes this good is that not only do we have strong dynamics but the frequent use of harmozing high octave, drawn out notes over the typical sludge drone works very well and it give the listener a sense of journeying and exploration and peering; especially apparent in 'At the Well'. The following track ' My Heart for Deliverance' is a good track but it does lag at times near its inception but it does pick up towards its latter half and when it does there's some tasty string bends that fit so perfectly. At times I feel like this album is like a classical symphony of minimal-grandeur expressions; probably mainly to the fresh usage of higher octave strings in harmony. There's a bit of a sorrowful/melancholic tone throughout HFID and its such an endearing quality of this that is quite drawing for me. For instance, 'Casting of the Ages' is likened to a feeling that I never wish to end, almost like the cravings of eternity. The emotional weight of the lyrics here powerful too. And speaking on the topic of lyrics, the maturity of them here are as great as ever and you can tell the topics they touch on are unbiased, yet important and worthwhile. This is basically excellent and solid all around.
5Neurosis
The Word as Law


3.5 - Neurosis' second LP continues with their hardcore/thrash crossover style and immediately from the first track you can hear they've already progressed from their first LP with more of a progressive sound, bass-work that stands out more, and even their riffs are more tasty and groovey. The energy and attention to detail has become more apparent with this release. Some of the riffs even effectively add some technical obscure elements from time to time which only adds to the emotional effect of the music. The drums are also stronger with more of jazz-rock/thrash style then just straight of boring blast beats and normal flares. 'To What End' is one of my favorite tracks off this album mainly due to how hard the bass goes and the drumming intensity matches the bass perfectly as well. Also, the tempo shifts on this song are just perfect. If all the tracks on this album were as good as this one I would probably 4.5 this. Unfortunaly The Word as Law is mixed with some really excellent tracks and some that are only above average. Overall, it's still a good improvement from their first LP. And again, as it was with their first LP it seems fans underrated this album as well.
6Neurosis
Sovereign


3.5 - This is a definite worthwhile EP since the songs are actually songs you won't find on any of their LP's, like some of the other EP's that are pointless. The 4 tracks herein are tasty and although this was a precursor to 'A Sun That Never Sets' its much better, much much better. It takes on similar characteristics but the use of dynamics are actually used on this album making it almost instantaneously superior. The blend of tribal/rock drumming on 'Flood' is so tasty and addicting. Like this track contains some of the best tribal drumming I've heard, not that its extremely technical but because its so effective. The closer title track is equally as good and it contains some effective electronic integrations over some extraodinary drums modes and patterns. The builds and full instrumental compositions on this closer contain some of the finest emotions I've ever felt. Again, certain emotions that I never wish to end. Definitely Neurosis' finest EP, period.
7Neurosis
Through Silver in Blood


3.5 - What a great step forward from the weaker Enemy of the Sun that preceded this. This fifth LP show a stronger focus on emotion which is one of the main reasons its better than Enemy of the Sun. Also, there's a great emphasis, again, in the area of intricate compositions. Why the average for this is a 4.4 is besides me because the album actually starts out rather weak compared to Souls at Zero. It takes time for the album to start kicking in. But it does eventually kick in but the album never goes above 'great'. There's many 'excellent' elements like the dark-scottish ambience of 'Purify' and tribal beats and so forth but as a whole it never hits the emotional level of Souls at Zero, it just doesn't. It's not till the fifth track comes in where 'Locust Star' contains some excellent emotions and its dynamic and its powerful and one of the best things about this album! In fact, the latter half of this album is stronger than the first half. One of the most overrated albums I've seen on this site! It's still great though, just not as amazing as people make it out to be. 'Become the Ocean' is another stellar track off this album as well.
8Neurosis
Given to the Rising


3 - Given to the Rising is a solid and good ninth LP and it shows that Neurosis can still make good music after all these years. But 'good' is as far as it goes because once again we have this odd passive feel that was apparent in some of Neurosis' weaker albums. Although quite simple, the droning moments on 'At the End of the Road are quite tasty and I could easily see myself zoning out to that track while working out or stretching perhaps. GTTR is mainly a drone album with sludge infused into it which is just fine. The drone elements are actually quite good but like I mentioned before it rarely goes above 'good'. When guitar riffs come in they are nothing extraodinary, they're nothing spectacular. Its almost like eating only the bottom layer of cake but why is the frosting and filling and upper layers missing. The drumming and drone elements are probably the best elements of this album. 'Distill' is one of the better tracks here and almost feels out of place because it is that good. With all the drone its pointless to have extra fillers here but unfornately filler ARE here but the closer track IS fortunately good and kind of saves the album, making the latter half a little strong than the first.
9Neurosis
Enemy of the Sun


3 - This fourth LP is a little tricky because you'd think that with Neurosis' past ongoing progressive of becoming better song-writers would never cease but with this release there's a bit of a step back. Here, they aim for a heavier and sometimes even obscure approach and while the music is good it doesn't carry nearly the same emotional weight of say, Souls at Zero. Many times the tracks will progress with added layers but sometimes the music become too repetative and lax to have any 'impact'; see 'Lexicon' for example. Now in the case of the title track the music is still good but the 2 minute intro of no music seems pointless despite whatever their intention was. The music again is still good but it feels like its stuggling to remain above average. The drumming is great as usual, though, and the addition and emphasis on tribal drumming is great, its just the strings supporting it aren't as great. The lengthy songs on Souls at Zero were definitely warranted and as I mentioned in the description for it the songs didn't 'feel' as long because they were so well put together and tasty but again with this release I couldn't help but thinking several times throughout it, when is this song going to end. Again, the tribal drumming is probably my favorite element off this album.
10Neurosis
Pain of Mind


3 - Naturally, it was quite interesting to see such a lower average rating for Neurosis' first LP; so I had to investigate. Basically, to say the least, I was surprised to hear hardcore/thrash crossover music on this. And actually the intro to Wizard's review for this album accurately addressed my initial response for this, which was wtf. I say this because I had no idea they originally played this style of music. Now back to the quality of it: The music is actually pretty good and solid. The vocals fit well and the music transitions well. In fact, I'm starting to believe there's a possibility many Neurosis fans rated this low because it wasn't like their more notable releases. Now this may not be as good as their latter releases but its definitely above average. Many of the songs here are short and straight to the point and for what this style is, the music is enjoyable. For those that are really into the hardcore/thrash crossover phase I'd expect to see ratings ranging from 3.5-4. Also, I must add, the production fits the music perfectly.
11Neurosis
Aberration


3 - a great precursor to the solid 'The Word as Law'. This EP acts as a stepping stone getting the Neurosis fans ready for their progressive steps in furthering their hardcore/thrash crossover style. It's only 3 tracks so don't expect much and the songs themselves are rather short too but in terms of enjoyability its as strong as their debut LP; maybe even slightly better due to the catch enjoyable vibes. 'Nonsense' is probably the best track off this, man those drums and riffs. This shows that whether Neurosis decided to stay with this crossover style or not they would still be a force to be reckoned with. 'Pollution' is such a tasty obscure song that I'd enourage all fans to check this as I think you'll be quite impressed at how good it is.
12Neurosis
A Sun That Never Sets


2 - This seventh LP starts off pretty underwhelming compared to their other material but when 'The Tide' comes in the emotions start to pick up and the connection is established but the track as a whole feels rather passive. Even the following track is 'good' and even tasty but it never really goes any further. This is due to a lack of effective dynamics. It's like driving on a dirt dessert flat road with a dune buggy but there no dunes to have fun on; but while the buggy is still fun to drive, you know it could still be much better with dynamic terrain. The clean sung vocals are no where near as good as the previous LP that came before this. They just hang out in space by themselves and just feel poorly placed; there's not enough instrumental power behind them, backing them up. 'Falling Unknown' is comprised of boring riffs and so is its following track. This album actually feels like Neurosis just made an album to make one, I don't know maybe their fans where pressuring them. What a dissapointing drop from their amazing preceding LP, 'Time of Grace'. Overall, this is LP is more of a chore to listen to so how could I even say its 'average'. It poor and weak and boring. Now, it has a few enjoyable elements but my cats natural purrs are more enjoyable, so...
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