Review Summary: At the height of their ambient sound, Neurosis craft their second masterpiece.Chapter 8: Scorching Winter
As you look up from your ditch, you notice the storm is passing. The wind is still blowing hard, but it’s safe enough to move. Your crew begins to stand up and move, but you are hesitant to follow. As they attempt to convince you to move, the storm reveals itself once again. At this point, your crew has made it down the road only to be faded away into the fog. You are now left alone with nothing but your gear and your life. Hope is almost completely gone, but the storm always seems to hide itself away. With the last unsettling thought of being alone in the massive storm, you begin to panic and run. Now, you are lost, left to wander through the all-encompassing fog alone. You find a member of your crew, lying in the snow, cold, but not dead. Soon though, you realize everyone else is gone. You are alone, with nowhere to go but forward, with your eyes fixed on your return.
With that short story in mind, this album becomes even more haunting. Neurosis have fully refined the ambience of their sound that was present on releases such as Times of Grace
and made one of the most haunting albums of the last decade. Neurosis have proven time and time again that no one can make music as dark and heavy as them, but they’ve always had multiple ways of executing it. Whether it be the dense Through Silver in Blood
, the symphonic A Sun That Never Sets
, or the jagged Enemy of the Sun
, no band can evoke the same feelings they do. The Eye of Every Storm
is an album like no other though, taking influences from Swans, Hank Williams, Pink Floyd, and Hawkwind to create the coldest album in their catalog. These songs aren’t based around riffs or strings this time, but more around a cohesive sound with lots of samples, guitar feedback, and shifting dynamics. Basically, they’ve taken just about every element of their past sound and melded it together, but with a larger emphasis on ambience.
While everything aforementioned was the technical description of the sound, the atmosphere it creates is truly astonishing. The Eye of Every Storm
creates an atmosphere like no other, every component of the storm is perfectly represented. For instance, the sudden dynamic shifts are the sudden reappearances and disappearances of the massive storm, the keyboards and noises reflect the background of where the storm is taking place, and the notes that are played by everyone else evoke feelings of being lost in the winter, alone. Every time you reach the end of this album, you will be left with one unsettling feeling, confusion. This may sound bad, but the album is tough to truly comprehend until it’s been listened to many times since every listen unveils something new.
So, this time around Neurosis have created yet another extraordinarily haunting record. They’ve switched around atmospheres once again, with a large emphasis on ambience. Every album of theirs seems to be stuffed into the sound of this record, minus their first two albums, and the results are magnificent. This is easily the bleakest record in their discography, mainly due to the very sparse songwriting. I have yet to find any flaws with this release, which is really saying something. Everything flows together very nicely, the songs are all interesting, the emotions are certainly here, and everything sounds well performed and produced. In conclusion, Neurosis have reached the peak of their ambient sound, as well as having crafted one of their best albums.