Review Summary: Neurosis takes a step in a more natural direction using ambience to cloak their heaviness.
What is The Eye of Every Storm supposed to mean anyways? Does it take on the literal meaning of the eye of a hurricane; an eerie calm that prevails after the first part of a hurricane passes over, lasting for an hour before the storm builds momentum again? Or does Neurosis’s 8th official studio album use the name as a metaphor for something larger. Judging by the cover art, music, and lyrical content, Neurosis use this metaphor as an expression of their art.
Neurosis’s The Eye of Every Storm is a monster of an album. Not that it's as heavy as their earlier works such as their post-hardcore effort Enemy of the Sun or their critically acclaimed breakthrough album Through Blood In Silver. It's heavy on the elongated builds that are wrapped around simple loud to soft moments that have become so prevalent in the post-metal world today (ie. Isis and Pelican). But it’s the way this album was put together that makes it so much better than what their followers could ever come up with.
When I talk about their title being a metaphor for the album, you can clearly see this within the music and lyrics. They simply use nature as the backdrop to a story that I can’t even begin to comprehend. Nature has its ways of showing us happiness (ie. sunny days) while nature can be as brutal as a hurricane or a winter storm, completely shutting down our lives because of their destructive and devastating force. Neurosis use this as a metaphor to create their music and lyrics around. Their music is like nature in that it can be calm and serene one moment and violent the next. The music uses this to create peaks and valleys that take the listener on a ride expressing all of these moments found in natures bi-polar waether patterns. The vocals are at least comprehendible as they are roared one moment and softly spoken throughout. This makes it easier for the listener to pick up on how the lyrics fit with the music being played. An example of the lyrics being metaphorically used through nature is shown below.
You lie in the snow, cold but not dead
Stare into the sun, long since its last heat
A chilly depiction from the first song on the album "Burn". What the lyrics mean in this album, who knows! Spiritual, emotional, cerebral are all words that you could use to describe this band and everything about them.
Think of the instruments on this album as the details that come with a weather system such as thunder, rain, or snow falling. Sorry, there are no sunny days to be found on here. The songs are bleak and overcast with a chance of the sun possibly peaking its head around a cloud. The music on this album contains a very diverse bunch of songs. "Burn" starts the album off with some feedback and some heavily distorted guitars before lapsing into the calmness that is ever so prevalent on many of their previous albums as well as their newest offering. The bridge in this song is almost like the calm before a storm. Keyboards using two notes set the tone for the build before the song comes crashing down on itself with screeching guitars and one of the longest screams ever captured on audio (possibly). One other song on here follows suit called "Left to Wander", which is by far the heaviest song on this album. The rest of the songs here show no other formulaic methods. "No River to Take Me Home", "The Eye of Every Storm", "Bridges", "A Season in the Sky", and "Shelter" use carefully crafted structures that could make the listener feel like they are in a dream. These songs contain everything from guitars that range from softly picked interludes to walls of noise, and keyboards that pulse and vibrate to create backdrop to the heaviness. Drums and bass are there but take a back seat to the roared vocals and hugely amplified guitar work. The last song on this album, "I Can See You", contains an acoustic opener that is followed up by another monstrous riff. This is the only song on the album that has a strange time comfortably fitting in alongside the rest of the songs due to this fact. It has a weird feel but still retains the Neurosis quality. In terms of song times, most of these songs are very long; spanning from 7 to 12 minutes a piece and may take a few listens to fully adjust to what’s going on.
Neurosis have created a brilliant piece of work here. As simplistic as it sounds, listeners with little patience will be turned off immediately after the first song. Fans of their previous albums may enjoy a song or two but will probably complain about the lack of heavier tracks unlike their past albums. I quite frankly, find this to be an asset to Neurosis because they are only adding more dynamics into the music. I’m not saying that I like their softer moments more, but I appreciate how they’re not afraid to step outside the heavy metal ring and make things a little bit more ambient. The music is very well thought out and the metaphorical use of nature simply heightens the listening pleasure tenfold. Neurosis have looked at their natural surroundings and made an album out of it. And that folks, takes a lot of brains and patience.
Good review, I really need to get some Neurosis, I should be getting Times Of Grace soon and I can't wait. I've put off listening to this band for far to long. By the way you should review more, you've done a good job both times.
That is the best compliment Ive heard you say! Means alot. (starting to cry)
You are far and above better than me at reviewing (ie. Contributing Reviewer)
If you are getting Times of Grace, you should also invest in its compilation disc, Grace by Tribes of Neurot. If you similteanously play these albums together, they match up to make the music more dense (if the music wasn't dense enough). Makes for one cool listening experience. The reason I don't review so much is because I'm a huge procrastinator.
This is my favourite album by them by far, but all of their other stuff is great too. I know you like their heavier stuff so I recommend Through Silver In Blood. This Message Edited On 12.16.07
Your writing has some unnecessary phrases/passages (for example, explaining the metaphor could have been a more direct affair) and disagreement issues. You also used 'simple/simplistic' a few times in the last paragraph.
It's still a great review, and I am glad someone who understands Neurosis, and particularly what they were doing on this album, so well.
Yeah, there are some nit-pick errors and I have a tendancy to repeat myself when Im on a roll. But about the metaphor part, I tried to tie it in to all my paragraphs and I tried my best to make it work. Oh well, better luck next time.
Edit, I cleaned up the 'simply' word usage.
Check them out, you will not be disappointed if you like bands like Isis. This Message Edited On 12.16.07This Message Edited On 12.16.07