Neurosis
Times of Grace


4.5
superb

Review

by johnny of the Well USER (38 Reviews)
December 23rd, 2012 | 26 replies | 1,910 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Another chapter of a fascinating discography

9 of 9 thought this review was well written

At the time of release, Neurosis’ discography was already becoming a force to be reckoned with; they had the chilling Souls at Zero, the primitively heavy – and quite frankly bizarre – Enemy of the Sun and the colossal Through Silver in Blood securely under their belt. The evolution between these three albums offers a pointer as to what might be expected from Times of Grace; the emphasis gradually shifted from a consistently scathing sound towards a sludge-fueled powerhouse that relied on contrasting dynamics, which was half-realized on Enemy of the Sun and mastered on Through Silver in Blood. The logical next step for Neurosis would be to take this sound, which they could now deploy to its full effect, and make it more interesting by adding depth and experimenting with new ideas, and this is exactly what happened with Times of Grace.

The musical theme of Through Silver in Blood - using sinister, soft moments to lead up to crushingly heavy climaxes – is used here, but sounds far more polished and smooth; songs such as Enclosure in Flame would have great contrast between soft and heavy, but songs here – for example Under the Surface- seem to flow for one phase to another much more naturally. The fact that the contrast is no longer as large as before means that the full power of Times of Grace takes a while to sink in, so that it requires several listens to really appreciate (this is the case for all Neurosis albums, but is especially true here).

Another cause for the necessity of repeat listens is that there are a lot of different ideas going on here; from the all-out chugfest of The Doorway to the threatening tension of Belief to the astoundingly peaceful (for the most part) nature of Away, Times of Grace shows that Neurosis are still characteristically prepared to experiment with different ideas, many of which result in a sound that is actually relaxing (Suspended in Light and Exist are prime examples); anyone familiar with the preceding albums can testify that this is something completely unexpected from Neurosis, and it is very successful, since it adds a new dimension to their music and makes the album more multi-faceted. Further proof of the album’s depth and subtlety can be found in the accompanying album Grace from side-project Tribes of Neurot, which is a surreally haunting demonstration of ambiance that was written to be played alongside Times of Grace and enhance it.

When one listens to Times of Grace enough times to gain a rough understanding of it, the rewards are great; since there are neither any weak tracks nor anything outstanding, it is a very consistent experience that allows the listener to savour each track whilst still looking forward to the others, and when both the variety between songs and their cohesion is considered alongside this it becomes something rather special. Although, as I said, there are no tracks that massively overshadow the others, highlights include the crushing The Doorway, the devastatingly bleak End of the Harvest, the tribally pummeling title track and the apocalyptically powerful The Last You’ll Know. The instrumental bookends Suspended in Light and The Road to Sovereignty are a nice touch that gives the album a real sense of completion and existence as a cohesive whole, and the interludes Exist and Descent are poignantly positioned, so as to be as interesting and vital to the album as a whole as the other tracks.

In terms of flaws, there is little that can be objectively said; this is a Neurosis album, so it is not for everyone, and it is hard to criticize music that one appreciates for being discordant, chaotic and generally abrasive. However, the range of ideas may seem overwhelming to some, it is inaccessible and demands the listener’s full attention (some may not consider this a flaw, but it is hardly a benefit) and Away can drag a little bit sometimes. That’s it; I recommend this to anyone prepared to spend some serious time listening to it.

Pros

Diverse
Cohesive
Crushing

Cons

Inaccessible
Demands full attention
Away can drag sometimes

Best tracks

The Doorway
End of the Harvest
The Last You’ll Know
Times of Grace



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user ratings (666)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
Brendan M. (4.5)
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Chris Gaduzo (4)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
johnnydeking29
December 22nd 2012



9014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Neg away, I actually put some thought into this one

Digging: Envy - A Dead Sinking Story

DominionMM1
December 22nd 2012



9806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

pos'd. good record.

Digging: Townes Van Zandt - In The Beginning

johnnydeking29
December 22nd 2012



9014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers bro

Relinquished
December 22nd 2012



24922 Comments


good review man. I always thought (even if you neglected to mention) Steve Albini did a wonderful job adding all the details from all the instruments. this also feels that this was partly made for live shows and to get their name more out there, evident from the instrumentals/interludes and short lengths.

Relinquished
December 22nd 2012



24922 Comments


ovcourse

oltnabrick
December 22nd 2012



30618 Comments


Troy Sanders said that without this album there would be no Mastodon.

How u feel about that Potsy?

Digging: Volcanic Queen - Sullen Empire

oltnabrick
December 22nd 2012



30618 Comments


U getting feeling yet?

oltnabrick
December 22nd 2012



30618 Comments


Yeah good choice

oltnabrick
December 22nd 2012



30618 Comments


Yeah u shuld

I can't for it

oltnabrick
December 22nd 2012



30618 Comments


Good, I will pos it 4sure

MichaelSnoxall
December 22nd 2012



12163 Comments


"Cons

Inaccessible
Demands full attention"

Don't really think they should be considered cons, but good review, so pos.

dosia
December 23rd 2012



57 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Might be their best.

johnnydeking29
December 23rd 2012



9014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@snox yeah, they're not exactly cons to me either, but since I don't consider them benefits and I was short of genuine cons, I threw them in
Thanks for the pos

Minus.
December 23rd 2012



2680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, great album.

johnnydeking29
December 23rd 2012



9014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

:]

Dreamflight
December 23rd 2012



1760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awsome review johnny.

Agree with everything except Under the Surface will always be the standout track for me.


johnnydeking29
December 23rd 2012



9014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks bro, I like Under the Surface, but not as much as the 4 tracks I singled out

Firestarter
December 23rd 2012



277 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great album, great review. Personally this is only marginally behind TSIB for me, so hoping one day it gets a 5 review, but I agree with everything this one says. One of the harder Neurosis albums to get into, but a great pay off if your patient

johnnydeking29
December 23rd 2012



9014 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

For me it's on par with Souls, just behind TsiB

eggsvonsatan
December 24th 2012



1087 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Arguably their best.



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