Neurosis
Souls at Zero


4.5
superb

Review

by Karl V.H. USER (84 Reviews)
May 26th, 2009 | 502 replies | 27,426 views


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Every band has to start somewhere, but the young Neurosis sound wise and experienced on Souls at Zero.

12 of 12 thought this review was well written

Recent times have revealed a large number of bands circle jerking around the most influential heavy metal band next to Black Sabbath. Quite simply put, most of these bands pale in comparison to these legendary post-metal doomsters. Contained on Souls at Zero is Neurosis' ‘truest’ form of the what they would expand on with future releases. Rather then continue down their thrashy path on 1990s The Word is Law, Neurosis simply did the opposite by creating an amazing post-metal blue print; formulating extravagant ideas seamlessly without sounding pretentious and quite possibly spawning an entire genre of post-metal jerk fests.

Beginning with ‘To Crawl Under Ones Skin’, a dizzying array of news broadcasts unfolds into a sludgy thudding that is followed by a serene build that the band is commonly known for, leading into a slice n’dice riff filled with screeching guitars and a hypnotically pummelling rhythm section…. all within the first four minutes. This is worth mentioning seeing as future Neurosis releases generally take eight plus minutes to go through all off these motions. This isn’t a negative aspect or anything or that sort, Souls at Zero is a more direct affair than their latter albums to follow such as Through Silver and Blood or the tranquil The Eye of Every Storm. This also doesn’t mean at this point in time that Neurosis hadn’t learned to utilize their peak/ valley effect to full benefit. While Neurosis still enjoy a good, prolonged note that rings out in the dead of night, Souls at Zero contains a more steady arsenal of riffs and rhythms that would keep the bored-out-their-minds listeners of newer Neurosis more interested. A few other fine examples of these wildly changing song structures can be found in ‘Souls at Zero’; a song that begins with a slinky (and creepy) guitar passage that takes a rip-roaring turn into deepening chord progressions and proggy dissonance, and ‘A Chronology For Survival’; a building bass line that leads into a screeching wah-wah infused lead riff, finished off with mammoth riffs complemented by a violin. Its hard to believe that Neurosis were once young and less disciplined in their dynamical shifts (which would eventually mature into glorious soundscapes upon future releases).

Production wise, Souls at Zero is crystal clear, allowing for the perfect mix in instruments and also allowing for more attention to details. One of these noticeable details is the audible bass lines, tightly wound up around a pummelling, tribalistic rhythm section that would choke you purple. Just listen to ‘The Web’ throughout its hypnotizing rhythm section and you will find a bass line that makes the song slowly pulse along until the song breaks apart to only reconstruct itself again. Another detail quite noticeable on the album is the use of soundclips taken from media/ movies that add to great effect into the songs intros/outros (Neurosis would drop these soundclips after Enemy of the Sun). ‘To Crawl Under Ones Skin’ begins with a mash of broken radio signals that are the perfect lead in to the eerie juggernaut. ‘Sterile Vision’ features a clip taken from the original 1953 H.G. Wells classic, War of the Worlds, ending the already dreary song off with praised singing from the city dwellers as they watch the American Army destroy the flying saucers. One final detail that may or may not suit the casual listeners taste are Scott Kelly’s screaming roars that can be a tad too high in the mix throughout, making his vocal delivery a chore to digest the first few listens through. However, Kelly (and Steve Von Till’s) lyrical approach is bleak and war torn, perfectly complementing their belted vocal delivery.

It’s interesting to listen to a well-seasoned bands humble beginning and to listen to where their ideas first begun. For a new fan of the band, Souls at Zero would be the best place to start. Neurosis over the years have continued to make their music more challenging with each release and have continued to push the limits of their calm/ harsh dynamics. Souls at Zero feels a little more casual in its song writing with the song structures changing up enough for a first timer to actually get a feel for the bands flow. However, don’t let this statement fool you; Neurosis still knock down buildings with bludgeoning force and tidal wave riffs, all the while sending you on a hypnotic journey into the unknown. With this in mind, Souls at Zero may be their easiest album to digest and yet, still lays out the blueprint for every other post-metal band in existence.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Wizard
May 26th 2009



19244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Damn that was hard to write. Truthfully, I feel this review doesn't even capture half of the album, but what the hell. Neurosis are complicated!

Funny fact, I've reviewed four Neurosis albums...all chronologically backwards hahahahaha.

Any feedback is always welcome. Thanks Willie!

Digging: Cloak of Altering - Plague Beasts

fireaboveicebelow
May 26th 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Every band has to start to somewhere, but the young Neurosis was already sound wise and experienced on Souls at Zero.
shouldn't it read like that?
Contained on Souls at Zero is Neurosis ‘truest’ form
add an apostrophe after Neurosis

fairly solid review, I'll actually listen to this even though the cover is so poopy looking

Wizard
May 26th 2009



19244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hahahahaha the cover reminds me of the Wizard of Oz for some reason. This was probably one of my least favourite reviews to write, or even read again for that matter hahaha. Thanks dude!

Every band has to start to somewhere, but the young Neurosis was already sound wise and experienced on Souls at Zero.

Sorry, the way you have this worded doesn't make sense. I think 'the young Neurosis sound wise and exper....' would be better.

KYZAR
May 26th 2009



513 Comments


^agree

Mordecai.
May 26th 2009



8270 Comments


nice review. iv'e got Through Silver in Blood and Eye of Every Storm. Should i get this next?

ThusSpokeZarathustra
May 26th 2009



293 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Love this album.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2009



17200 Comments


what nietzsche said

devsol
May 26th 2009



347 Comments


thus spake zarathustra

Essence
May 27th 2009



3578 Comments


it's either way sputin

jingledeath
May 27th 2009



7104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review man, I might give this a go but I think I'll be moving backwards through their discography so it may take a while.

JAV
May 27th 2009



1921 Comments


Have not listened to this enough to give it a proper rating.

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2009



15894 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8

Great Review. This is easily their best album because of all the samples, the jarring musical changes, and the urgency in which the songs are played (meaning no overly-long buid-ups).

Edit: Plus the use of violins and trumpets are a cool edition too.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

Wizard
May 27th 2009



19244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hey, thanks for the compliments.

Willie, the trumpets are also used a lot on The Eye of Every Storm too. Why no love for the long build-ups? Those are the moments of Neurosis that absolutely move me. At least this album demonstrates that that the band are still great without the prolonged parts. Thanks for the push to get me to check this out further.

Also Willie, could you make this the default review for this album? The other guy doesn't even come around here anymore.

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2009



15894 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8

Well, I like The Eye of Every Storm too but they don't have the same feel that they do here. That's probably my second (or third) favorite Neurosis album (it's neck-&-neck with Enemy of the Sun). You don't have to thank me for pushing you to check out good music, that's just what I do ;)

Also Willie, could you make this the default review for this album? The other guy doesn't even come around here anymore.
Despite what some may have you believe, the staff writers don't have that ability. We have to ask Jom and Dave like everyone else.

Wizard
May 27th 2009



19244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ahhhhhh I believe I have that link on one of my other Neurosis reviews. Thanks again.

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2009



15894 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8

The link to get this flagged?

http://www.sputnikmusic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=567983

Wizard
May 27th 2009



19244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Its funny because I just posted two minutes ago hahahah. Thank you muchly.

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2009



15894 Comments

Album Rating: 4.8

I'm a bit slow right now, I'm catching up on Cracked.com articles

WatchItExplode
May 27th 2009



3208 Comments


Wiz and Willie have convinced me to try this band with their fanatacism...where to start?

WarAllTheTime988
May 28th 2009



360 Comments


The Eye Of Every Storm - no contest. Hopefully the other two will agree with me but I just can't see not starting with that. Although I find EVERYTHING this band has done awesome - that is just perfect in my eyes!



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