Review Summary: A flurry of passion, the foundation of everything that has come to pass and of that which is still to come.
Pain doused their fingertips as years of weary work lingered ever-bearing overhead, the strain in their struggle of the development of an art over the years, in which all matter of time, being, blood, sweat, tears, pain and ire swells into extroverted currencies of a life’s desire to create. What is it to make something truly beyond to ability to hold, be it physically or mentally? Nobody can understand how the opus functions on the level of the sculptor, and that is what makes the gift of interpretation such a beautiful thing. Beyond the absurd reckonings of my efforts to describe this idea, comes the Honor Found In Decay
. Neurosis is a band that holds lo, above all others. Not in the means of shallow pretentiousness or a false given sense of superiority, but because the group destroys the hidden generalisations of practicality when it comes to its art. Deep and dense and dark and intense, Neurosis bring forth a formula that no other could pull off, even if they wanted to. A band that truly sets itself away from all others, even after pioneering a genre in which no other band has come close to emulating. Be it out of respect or inability, Neurosis is a beast that can’t be tackled; as lightly as the genre is plagued with bands following the ISIS technique, post-metal isn’t that simple at its most tribal state.
Comparing Honor Found In Decay
to previous Neurosis albums is a fruitless effort, the band is always shifting styles and presentation and it is impossible to tell where it might go next. The lighter, more ambient nuances explored on albums like A Sun That Never Sets
and The Eye of Every Storm
were almost completely sifted away with the monolith that was (and is) Given to the Rising
. Here, it seems, Neurosis have come to the terms and realisation of the balance in which they have been searching the past years: the combination of sheer heaviness, the ability in which the music feels as though it’s a great weight upon your shoulders, mixed gently with peaceful ambiance of melody. Honor Found In Decay
is the band’s full bodied concentration of a career’s work. A flurry of passion, the foundation of everything that has come to pass and of that which is still to come. And though this is the shortest Neurosis album since the sophomore effort The Word As Law
, this album holds the weight of all its predecessors.
While the band doesn’t seem to be treading any new
ground, per se, they’re not re-treading old footsteps, but rather expanding upon them and the impact of previous works. Honor Found In Decay
can best be described as the amalgam of the band’s back catalogue spanning from Souls At Zero
through to Given to the Rising
. Taken back into experimentation with multiple instruments, the album bears welcome to short lived dosages of synthesisers, organs, piano, violin and even bagpipes, which chillingly bloom about midway into ‘At the Well’ and ‘My Heart For Deliverance’. In amongst the macabre happenings of tight and dense sludge jams come the shining lights of acoustic guitar meanderings or solemn riffs that give way to a crushing breakdown of the thickness and ambient passages that hold the listener enraptured. It is in one of these moments that the band makes use of effective sampling on ‘My Heart For Deliverance,’ a single female voice speaking against the effect of soft guitar melodies and minor voice of a few piano keys.
Vocally, Scott and Steve both perform excellently, as is to be expected. The low, guttural stretch of their year-upon-year-laden throats hangs ever more presently as you can almost feel your own vocal chords tearing at the idea of sounding so dry, pained and strained. Holding two of the most unique voices in metal, and two of the most disturbing, spine tingling voices that do nothing but render a listener speechless. The lyrics pieced with the vocal presentation are truly something worth mentioning, the darkness and obscure matter in which they are handled work wonders in capturing the essence of the music.
“Carve out my eyes that I might see treacherous thoughts unfold. In time men show their nature, bleed the pig of its life.”
As it is with exploring one’s sound as it has developed over the years, the tribal nature of Neurosis found on an album like Enemy of the Sun
has made its way back with the song ‘Bleeding the Pigs,’ albeit much less ‘intense’ compared to previous dealings. There’s the thick droning as the song builds, the tribal drumming and pounding beats as guitars ring and Scott and Steve sing softly as the composition builds its momentum, all before slowing down and crashing like a massive, unadulterated overbearing tidal wave of harsh riffs and percussion. Once again, this isn’t the band saying, “What have we done before that we can do again?” it’s more so, “What have we done before that we can expand upon?”
This similar idea of going deep into the band’s past becomes once more evident on ‘All Is Found...In Time,’ in which the sound is still tribal, harsh and heavy, but much more akin to something like ‘To Crawl Under One’s Skin’ from Souls At Zero
, with the blaring and fast opening of the track and the potent ending with distant screaming. As it all folds into place, closing the album on a lighter note, ‘Raise the Dawn’ is the final release of what the band has to offer, both vocalists once again exhausting themselves into the microphone and letting the music plod along ominously in a raw, sludgy fashion. As it all begins to fade, the violins come in to carry us away in a soothing quietus after the storm.
As I said earlier, comparing this to the band’s previous work is a fruitless effort, despite my work here going through a few of the little similarities, influence and inspiration that can be distinguished through the band’s previous records. There’s so much on this record that soaks up the massive impact of all that has come before, whether it be harsher sounds explored from earlier days on Through Silver In Blood
, or the ambient tendencies explored through albums like The Eye of Every Storm
, Neurosis has truly come together to produce one of the biggest albums in its ten album legacy, binding all the best of what has been and expanding on all fronts. Speculating where Neurosis could possibly go next is futile, seeing as the band has never been an obvious one.
It’s not every day a band can connect so differently and vastly with its audience as consistently as Neurosis does (and has). It’s in the ability of the artist to distribute their sole being as a delectable format, and this group of craftsmen know what they’re doing and how to do it, which is a rare feat in modern times filled with the mediocrity of many artists who convolute their contribution almost to the point of inaccessibility. Whilst Neurosis remains inaccessible to most, it is not a fault of the band, but a fault of patience. To avoid repeating myself many more times, it is my belief that any fan of the band, new or old, is sure to find something to love about this album. To those who weren’t impressed by the band’s majesty and unique approach to music, you will still find yourself wanting. In its masterful combination of styles and sounds, Honor Found In Decay
is truly a giant to behold.