Neurosis
Fires Within Fires


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ben Kuettel STAFF
September 18th, 2016 | 747 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A meditation, a struggle

Neurosis have developed an impressive sense of duality throughout their initial decade of existence. Crushing metal riffs would suddenly give way to ambient soundscapes, adding new dimensions to their sound as the years went on. Massively influential to countless younger groups as a result, many took their own musical directions and paths. Neurosis themselves have ebbed and flowed beautifully throughout their massive career, turning 30 years old as a band only last year. Around the turn of the century, we saw them expand musical influences to include elements of ambient, folk, and progressive. Their latest, Fires Within Fires, continues the streamlining of these evolutions that began with predecessor Honor Found in Decay. Considerably shorter, these recent releases trim the fat of previous magnum opuses in a somewhat back-to-basics approach. Fires Within Fires in particular takes a more purposeful style, despite being the shortest and most easily digestible Neurosis release in many years. This demands a close listen more than anything else, as the subtleties in each track flicker by quickly. Tempos are largely increased here, making for a refreshing groove feel present in many of the heavier moments.

Album opener “Bending Light” functions as the quintessential Neurosis song. For those accustomed to the band's recent development, it progresses as expected. After a short heavy intro it transforms into a dazzling post-rock section, then pummels the listener with heavy riffs and Scott Kelly’s expectedly powerful roars. The song is one of the band’s stronger cuts from the past decade, despite somewhat going through the motions. It possesses more dynamic qualities than the immediately following tracks, “A Shadow Memory” and “Fire is the End Lesson,” which lean more on grooving riffs and dissonant atmospherics. Overall, the aggressive side of Neurosis sounds stronger than ever in this new context: more immediate than the heavier moments of predecessor Honor Found In Decay, which honestly excelled most during its quieter moments. This isn’t to say that Fires Within Fires shares more in common with the heavier Given to The Rising however. It achieves their balance of sounds impressively, with faster tempos making for a more exciting listen than some of the slower moments of previous efforts.

The songwriting is indeed top notch as always, and feels more purposeful than the previous two albums. Some may understandably yearn for the diverse instrumentation and experimentation that early 2000’s releases possessed, but it has been clear for a decade now that the band is simply in a different place now. The more meditative side of Neurosis is still strong though, especially in the last two tracks. After the driving qualities of “Fire is the End Lesson,” the final third of the album hearkens to the enchanting qualities of The Eye of Every Storm. “Broken Ground” sees Kelly’s charismatic clean vocals over melodic guitars trading with heavier, psychedelic metal riffs. The menacing, quiet outro then leads right into absorbing album closer “Reach,” a meditative epic consisting of beautiful guitar textures. The sequencing is one of the best qualities of experiencing Fires Within Fires, the short run time working to the album’s advantage. Ultimately, it feels massive in scope and is consistently engrossing, with enough new tricks to forecast a bright future for the experimental metal legends. Faster songs and a willingness to further explore their calmer odysseys make for their most rewarding release in over a decade.



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user ratings (284)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
FullOfSounds
September 17th 2016


11347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, you got me hyped now.

Digging: Snow Ghosts - A Wrecking

FullOfSounds
September 17th 2016


11347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It sounds like it's going to be another solid Neurosis album.

deezer666
September 17th 2016


1863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice review man. Im a massive Neurosis fanboy and Im not let down at all on first listen. All though I could only spin it once before I had to work Id heard 2 of the tracks live so kind of knew which direction this would be going in. On first listen there wasnt a weak track on there. The last track 'reach' especially is superb. All sunday will be spent listening to this.

Digging: BARST - The Western Lands

FullOfSounds
September 17th 2016


11347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

How long is it?

porcupinetheater
September 17th 2016


2432 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

40 minutes almost on the nose

botb
September 17th 2016


10648 Comments


can't wait to hear this

LordePots
September 17th 2016


35764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this better be better than Honor

Digging: Les Sins - Michael

FullOfSounds
September 17th 2016


11347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool, cool.

This is their shortest album since their debut, wow. Correct me if I'm wrong.

LordePots
September 17th 2016


35764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

is it better than Honor tho cuz that album was extremely mediocre for neurosis standards

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2016


14868 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks FullOfSounds and deezer

It's almost too short, but the sequencing is so good I don't really mind.

Agreed deezer Reach is incredible, it'd probably make my top 3 Neurosis songs since Storm.

Digging: Blackfield - Blackfield V

Ocean of Noise
September 17th 2016


7953 Comments


Agreed Potsy, Honor really brought nothing new to the table

Digging: Thrice - The Artist in the Ambulance

deezer666
September 17th 2016


1863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I get that opinion Potz but I really like honour so....Like I said Ive only listened once so far too early to tell but I can imagine so on that first spin. All though 'at the well' is up there with some of the greatest Neurosis tracks after that track and apart from 'casting of the ages' the 2nd half of HFID can drag allthough I learnt to really enjoy it this is a lot more consistently good. Shame its not 10/15 mins longer thats my only negative.

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2016


14868 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I liked Honor a lot, but I agree it did seem like going through the motions at times. Some the heavier parts dragged a bit, I'm glad they went for faster tempos on here.



The post-rock sections are always superb though, Bleeding The Pigs especially sounded different for them. At The Well and My Heart for Deliverance are fantastic too.

LordePots
September 17th 2016


35764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

is this less, as you said, "going through the motions" then?

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2016


14868 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Aside from Bleeding the Pigs and maybe one other song on Honor I'd say this is a little more unpredictable than it or Given to The Rising, but its not that different or anything. The most immediately noticeable change is how short it is and the faster heavier sections.

FullOfSounds
September 17th 2016


11347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Faster heavier sections" intrigues me.

LordePots
September 17th 2016


35764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

given to the rising fucking rules

Gyromania
September 17th 2016


21458 Comments


Apples within apples

FullOfSounds
September 17th 2016


11347 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Have you guys ever listened to Scott Kelly's solo work?

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
September 17th 2016


14868 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Given to the Rising is fantastic yeah. Opener and closer are amazing



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