Review Summary: Very real and human vocals mix with droning and humming ambience and engaging acoustic melodies to create a very passionate record. A mellow Neurosis.Blood And Time
is, in a matter of words, Neurosis
' calm and calculating younger brother. Where Neurosis is rough and ugly, Blood And Time is soft and clean. Where Neurosis is harsh and destructive, Blood And Time is collected and somber. Neurosis is a carnal and ferocious hurricane, and Blood And Time is what is left after that hurricane.
This, of course, is due in part to Blood And Time being a side project of some of the masterminds behind the beast that is Neurosis. And it shows. At The Foot Of The Garden
, the sole album of the Blood And Time catalogue, is Neurosis, drained and devoid of aggression, deprived of energy. And I mean that in the best way possible.
Like I previously stated, Blood And Time is what is left once the fury of Neurosis passes. Not exactly the calm after the storm, but more so what remains after the decimation. Imagine, if you will, Neurosis as a swirling cyclone crossing the land. For miles, it ravages the ground that it passes, tearing limbs from trees and buildings from foundations. As time passes, the cyclone deteriorates, and eventually the only thing left of the once mighty storm is a small gust of wind careening through the valleys of the land it just destroyed. THIS
is that wind. It shares the same soul as the cyclone, but what you are left with is wholly different from it’s terrifying brethren. Blood And Time is not just Neurosis with clean guitars replacing electrics, no, far from that, but it wouldn’t take a rocket surgeon to connect the two groups together.
With droning chords and hums laying down the ambience, Blood And Time are able to create a near sluggish atmosphere without ever laying hands on an electric guitar. Much like Neurosis’ rhythm section chugs and clangs along at slow-to-mid pace, there is rarely a moment on At The Foot Of The Garden that does not feature a clean guitar or synth in the background subtly creating that very same chug, but in the much different form of said droning and humming chords, such as in Shining King
, where a slight hum is audible throughout the entire song, until the very end where it evolves into one of the only melodies played by the synth on the album, and a stunning one at that. This creates the perfect backdrop for the melancholic and oft times eerie melodies that normally find themselves buried beneath Neurosis’ wall of sound to come to the forefront. A bit of a role reversal, you could say. Drums are employed on many tracks, but rarely venture outside the realms of simple beats there only to keep some semblance of a rhythm. The main player instrument wise is the guitars, and they are played phenomenally. There are only 2, maybe 3, slight appearances of electric guitar on the album. When used, it is usually just an indecipherable barrage of fuzz rather than actual playing, save for the ending of Crown Of Teeth
, where a pulsating rhythm is laid down by a steady riff. No certain tracks stand out from the others, as they all really blend together. For once though, this is not a bad thing, and this album is one of the few that actually does feel much like one whole song rather than an album of many. The final two tracks, At The Foot Of The Garden
and My Heart Is A River
, ring dearer to me for their spectacular minstrel-like acoustic pieces woven throughout.
’s voice on At The Foot Of The Garden is nothing that will impress the American Idol panel, or even the American Idol audience, but it’s purpose is served perfectly. Droning right along with the music, Kelly’s low voice is able to come off as both passionate and sincere. Not once does he try to do anything fancy, never allowing it to go any higher or lower than it should. This leads to a bit of monotony, and at parts it’s almost as if he’s just talking, telling you the sorrow filled lyrics rather than crooning them to you.
It’s hard to write this review without mentioning Neurosis as many times as I did. Blood And Time is the embodiment of everything that Neurosis’ music encompasses, just at the opposite end of the sonic spectrum. The feeling elicited from Blood And Time is very much the same, though the means used to create it are worlds apart. Much like any good Neurosis record, At The Foot Of The Garden is definitely a chore to listen through if you’re not in the right mood, or a fan of the music proper. It slowly lurches forward without ever taking a step to the side. But it is the overwhelming sense of passion that makes this album what it is, not any crazy theatrics or flair. Scott Kelly’s raw and human voice coupled with the droning acoustics and mellow melodies are just so honest and real that it is hard not to become engrossed by the resulting sound.
Crown Of Teeth
At The Foot Of The Garden