Review Summary: Neurosis follow up to Times of Grace shows a more mature band in terms of ambient and general auditive textures, and they still rock. Well. Yeah, they rock, I guess.
Neurosis has become one of the ultimately necessary bands you need to listen to if you want to make a band. More like it, one of the bands you have to rip off in order to feel liked by hordes of metalheads eager to listen to some pretty damn fine music. Or musicians could take them as mere references, not so much landmarks and work on top of that into something greater and more pleasant.
But it’s not the case to discuss so. A Sun That Never Sets
is Neurosis’ seventh release, and this means automatically that either they have all the experience required to consolidate their sound, and make an album of what they know to do best. But what can you do when you offer distinct material every time you deliver a new observation?
Well, this album is entertaining, what can I say. I haven’t listened to the “post-metal” bands I know in a while (you know, Isis, Pelican), so it’d be hard to put Neurosis into context. But what truly made my day was the addition of string ensembles, wind instruments, and other non-rock based instruments that make the tranquil moments calmer, the epic moments higher, and complement the musicianship overall, really. There are no significant “sound holes”, because there’s always something.
Some moments of sheer musical beauty feature these extra complements, like the ensemble section in The Tide
, or the bagpipes in From the Hill
. The self-titled track, A Sun that Never Sets
, has a very chill vibe going on, borderline droning. Actually, it is very drone/sludge sounding, except it isn’t as minimalist as Corrupted
’s style, but the complexity featured isn’t that pompous either.
Speaking of vocals, the tone of Steve is very raspy and full of anger (well not psychologically speaking of course, just the feel I get from listening to it), which works for the most part in the music, but sometimes a much lighter-sounding vocal work could’ve given a lot more color to the songs, especially in the ensemble sections and what not. But ahoy-ahey, some people don’t like the shifting vocals style. Even the more calm moments like the vocals in Crawl Back In
, despite being a lot softer, still sound angsty and slightly desperate, although the color they give to the song is undeniable; same with Watchfire
, although there’s a much more evident vocal work in the latter, but not as colorful as I’d expect. Still, the overall vibe of the song and the tone it uses is very nice, and the riffs are awesome (I think I heard bagpipes but it could be my imagination).
The work put to the longest track in the album, Falling Unknown
is probably the one which deserves the most attention: It’s very hard to keep a listener into a song when you drag on too much while executing, and build-ups are extremely cliché. So I think what was done to the song is pretty clever. If you look at it as two separate sections, you’ll notice a very rock-oriented pattern at the beginning of the song, and it reaches a deep silence moment, from which the drummer takes the lead and guides the ensemble into a very nice build-up, which in my opinion drags a bit too much on the excitement, but then again it doesn’t really get boring. It never really reaches a point where you think “the band can’t really continue building up, it must resolve. Now. Grrr.” The last few minutes of the song, though are a great resolution though.
From Where its Roots Run
was kind of “meh”. It didn’t have anything surprising or entertaining, although it can be forgiven for its interlude quality within the whole piece. Besides it’s a nice rest from the last song. Resound
has the same filler tone, except it doesn’t really show it’s there like a filler, per se
, because their function is more to be a rest between the larger songs, and they work as such.
Stones from the Sky
, the last track in the album is probably the most epic (yeah my standards for epic are kinda disperse, meh), and probably my favorite of the album, the main riff is really nice, and probably the drumming has a lot to do with keeping up the energy towards the full resolution of the album, I don’t know. It’s just really good.
Lyrically the band doesn’t really surprise me. Probably it’s the fact they lack pretentiousness, but still, I don’t really like the repetitiveness and how blunt they sound at times, but I have to give the band that they sound good, nonetheless. They aren’t over the top lyrical or poetic genius, sure, but there are some really nice images lying around the songs:
An exiled sound washed in with the tide.
Their voices are free.
Free from the sun's stare,
free from the noise of lost souls.
So overall, you can’t really deny the genius wrought into the album. It’s in the same vein if Times of Grace
, and I can’t really say which one I like the most. I felt there’s a much more evident participation of the ensembles and other instruments in this one, and the ambients are much more solid, they feel a lot bleaker, but in general the rock feel from Times of Grace
isn’t really equaled in here, but it’s easily made up by the excellent textures in every track.
So go get this. Now. It’s cult album and I approve.
- Tojes reviü crü