Review Summary: "Honor Found in Decay" sees the band settle into a sweet spot, drawing influences from their vast and legendary discography to create an album worthy of the Neurosis name.
Surely, at some point in their long, storied careers Neurosis have felt an intense pressure or moment of weakness. After all, it only makes sense. A band can only perform for so long at such quality before things start to get trying. Yet for the last two decades the metal titans have made it all seem so effortless. High quality, genre defining records and releases are simply the band going through the motions. At this point, it is not only likely, but expected that Neurosis will provide a fresh and incredible experience with each new release. And as typical fashion, the Oakland post-metal outfit does not disappoint. Their latest, Honor Found in Decay
, is as challenging and engrossing a record as they have ever produced and an incredible celebration of the band’s legendary career as well.
Honor Found in Decay
is an album five years in the making, all backed with the hopes and expectations of an immense and devoted fan base. The last decade was a strange one for Neurosis, with the band exploring their experimental side more than ever. With A Sun That Never Sets
, the band added strings and other instruments, all whilst providing a softer, more contemplative sound than before. The Eye of Every Storm
followed suit, but with a heavy emphasis on ambiance and atmosphere, all adding up to the band’s most unique outing to date. Taking a different turn with Given to the Rising
, Neurosis then plunged back into the sludgy abyss that gave birth to their fame. While describing the band’s history may seem a tad cumbersome, it’s rather fitting. Honor Found in Decay
holds these albums closely, as each feels like it was adding up to this all-encompassing record.
Neurosis have delivered a painfully solid work with their tenth album, with lots of fat trimmed to ensure that not a moment is wasted. It ranks as one of their shortest albums, but one couldn’t tell that from lack of content. Honor Found in Decay
is dense; a record filled to the brim with some of the band’s most impressive work to date. Things are all well and good at the album’s outset, with the first two tracks providing some immediate and engaging moments to completely immerse the listener. Yet it isn’t until “My Heart for Deliverance” that Neurosis begin to fire on all cylinders. The song chugs along unassumingly for much of the beginning, until a cathartic eruption blankets the rest with heavy guitar and crashing cymbals. An ingeniously used sample bisects the song, giving the piece a beautiful reprieve before and after the chaos. Certainly this isn’t a new trick, but Neurosis are masters of atmosphere, giving the song a one of a kind sound. Thankfully much of the album follows this example. Songs like “Casting of the Ages” and “All is Found in Time” share the same grandiose feel and are equally as impressive in their scope. While the closer could have been a bit stronger, it’s an easily digestible track that helps resolve the entire work.
Have Neurosis done it again, releasing yet another post-metal masterpiece? The answer is a mixture of yes and no. On the one hand the band have not disappointed with their tenth outing, as Honor Found in Decay
is a beautifully composed album that stands proudly within their discography as a whole. More so than any record before it, Honor Found in Decay
is the most intimate release by the band. Scott Kelly is finds a happy medium between his menacing yell and soft croon. His delivery feels more personal, with the band sounding similar as well. This only makes the intense dynamic shifts all the more noticeable, and all the more impressive. Yet it must be said that it lacks that certain punch that made some of their works instant classics. In many ways, this is the safest the band has sounded in quite some time, as settling into a sweet spot has made their sound more streamlined, but less risky and rewarding. While solid tracks in their own right, “At the Well” and “Raise the Dawn” feel like Neurosis by-the-numbers. Less exciting moments are rare, but when one is so accustomed to near flawless presentation, it comes as a bit of a disappointment.
Honor Found in Decay
is a sure fire winner from a band whose contributions to heavy music cannot be overstated. While lacking the immediate and defining qualities of their previous releases, the album still manages to outclass its peers in almost every regard. It is a wonderful way to usher Neurosis into their third decade as band, inciting excitement as to where they will go from here.