Neurosis
The Word as Law


3.5
great

Review

by TerraIncognita USER (9 Reviews)
August 4th, 2010 | 44 replies


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The album that began the band's journey.

Neurosis are widely known as the forefathers of the post metal movement, but they’re constantly getting snubbed. How many people have listened to Isis (or any number of other post metal bands) and ignored Neurosis. In fact, how many so-called Neurosis fans have actually bothered to listen to albums pre-dating Through Silver in Blood? A good follow-on to that question would be to find out how many people have ever bothered with Neurosis’ first two albums, Pain of Mind and The Word as Law? A look at the ratings from this site imply that barely ten-percent of Neurosis listeners bothered, and that many of them apparently expected another post metal album and rated down when it didn’t happen. The Word as Law isn’t post metal, but it’s also not the unrefined below-average album that the ratings would have you believe.

In 1990 Neurosis had barely started to develop their signature sound – they weren’t the simple hardcore of Pain of Mind but they also weren’t nearly the band that created Enemy of the Sun just three years later. The Word as Law could best be described as the transition to the transition. It still has a hardcore soul, but has moved firmly into metal territory. It is the album that began the band’s move towards building dark, oppressive atmospheres through the use of slow builds and darker tones. The difference is that the build-ups take only seconds to complete as opposed to multiple minutes these days. This album also takes a more direct approach at building the dark atmospheres through the use of guitar tones and a three-pronged vocal attack without any of the ambient interludes that would come a bit later. Probably the most notable thing about this album is that it contains their most blatant display of progressive influences of any album since. The progressive aspects are mainly displayed through the excellent rhythm work of the bass player and drummer, but they also occasionally shine through in actual song construction as well – “To What End” being a good example of that.

Only two years after this album Neurosis would release Souls at Zero and really begin their transition towards post metal, but that doesn’t mean that The Word as Law is disposable. Yes, it’s a bit raw around the edges and it’s certainly more straight-forward than anything since, but it’s still an essential listen. The Word as Law is the only album where the band really wear their progressive influences on their sleeve, especially through some creative rhythm work. After this point, the band would slowly delve into huge layers of sound that placed the bigger picture over individual performances, so it’s nice to have at least one album where the individual players can still be recognized. Basically, don’t go into this expecting a post metal release. Approach this album as an enjoyable history lesson where you’re treated to the bare-bones roots & foundation of a band that would quickly move on to bigger things.



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user ratings (143)
Chart.
3
good
other reviews of this album
Brendan M. (3.5)
Neurosis takes it up a notch with slower paced, more patient song structures and tighter musicianshi...


Comments:Add a Comment 
TerraIncognita
August 4th 2010


23 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Every fan should listen to this and include it in their collection.

Terrifyer
August 4th 2010


3403 Comments


this is around a 3-3.5 for me.

the leap in quality from Pain Of Mind and this to Souls At Zero is astounding

TerraIncognita
August 4th 2010


23 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, it's crazy how much they progressed from this to Souls at Zero with all of the effects and samples and longer songs.

Maniac!
August 4th 2010


26250 Comments


Good review, I actually have not listened to anything Pre- 'TSIB'

TerraIncognita
August 4th 2010


23 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Maybe start with Souls at Zero and then this and then Enemy of the Sun?

Terrifyer
August 4th 2010


3403 Comments


just get every Neurosis album. everything Souls At Zero-onwards is classic, and the first 2 albums are pretty good

Maniac!
August 4th 2010


26250 Comments


everything Souls At Zero-onwards is classic



I doubt it

Terrifyer
August 4th 2010


3403 Comments


then you're wrong.

basically what i meant was that every Neurosis album from Souls At Zero onwards is basically a 'contender' for their best album. and my ranking literally changes everytime i listen to them :/

Maniac!
August 4th 2010


26250 Comments


sneaky editing made your post make more sense

Romulus
August 4th 2010


8437 Comments


I sneaky edit all the time. Sneaky editing is one of the best sputnik tools of all time.

Willie
Moderator
August 4th 2010


15979 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, there used to be that "last edited" message that would come up that you couldn't delete.

Anyway, this is an awesome album and their Joy Division cover is the song that really sets the stage for this band's direction.

Digging: Necropoli - I

Inveigh
August 4th 2010


24968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I haven't heard this or Pain of Mind. but yeah, I gotta agree with Fade, everything from Souls at Zero onwards is a contender for my favorite Neurosis, and yeah, it changes every time I listen.

I'll put on GttR and think it's my favorite, but then I'll put on Times of Grace. and so on and so on...

Maniac!
August 4th 2010


26250 Comments


Hmm, I must be the minority. I didn't think Times was as great as everyone else does (still awesome albeit). I also only have two contenders for favorite.. TSIB and TEOES

qwe3
August 4th 2010


21362 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is a good album.

Terrifyer
August 4th 2010


3403 Comments


I didn't think Times was as great as everyone else does
i used to think that. it just took me ages to really get into it. same goes with Enemy Of Thr Sun

eternium
August 4th 2010


16338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've only listened to a few songs off of this, but it is definitely a transition in between Pain of Mind and Souls at Zero. Listening to Times of Grace as I type this.

Willie
Moderator
August 4th 2010


15979 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

My first exposure to this band was a cover of a Dead Kennedys song on Alternative Tentacles Records. I had to check them out after that.

silkforcalde
August 5th 2010


404 Comments


a sun that never sets is the best and it never changes

eternium
April 4th 2011


16338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Test press on eBay.

Rev
April 4th 2011


9423 Comments


I got Storm, Rising, and Blood


Where should I go next?



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