Neurosis
The Word As Law (Remastered)


3.8
excellent

Review

by Willie STAFF
August 25th, 2017 | 42 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It's not post metal but the remastered version of Neurosis' criminally underrated sophomore album is still worth your time.

Neurosis are well-known as one of the originators of the post metal sound, but that wasn’t always the case. In the beginning they were simply a metallic hardcore band trying to find their own sound, and it led to four drastically different releases. Their first stylistic change came with the release of their sophomore album, The Word As Law. The Word As Law still had a hardcore soul, but it also evolved the band into multifaceted artists with a propensity to go off on musical tangents with more than a little progressive influence. It was the album to first display Neurosis’ love of oppressive atmospheres, slow builds, dark tones, and crushing crescendos. In order to support this, the songs grew longer and more complex, and their first legitimate use of dynamics came into play – but post metal this was not. Instead, Neurosis had taken the metallic hardcore of their debut and incorporated a multitude of progressive elements, as well as an embryo of moody ambience. If there was one problem with the original release, it was the production. While not terrible by any means, The Word As Law’s sound was always a little bit too muddy for the performances on display.

On the original release, the guitars felt buried under the bass, the percussion lacked bite, and the bass guitar lacked the sharp tone it deserved. With the remastered release, those problems have been significantly improved. This has opened up individual players to the attention they originally deserved. This is nowhere more apparent than the frantic performances from the rhythm section. Given how low key they are these days, it might be odd to learn that the most progressive aspects of The Word As Law come from the excellent rhythm section. On the original release, the production kind of blended everything together but now it is easy to hear the bass player as he basically dominates every song with runs and rhythms that the percussion (and its punchier sound) augments perfectly with its busy arrangements. The progressive elements extend to the song construction, as well. The songs twist and turn through varying tempos, atmospheres and textures (just like now), but on The Word As Law the crescendos take only seconds to build as opposed to the steady, deliberate, excursion we’re all used to today.

Only two years after this album Neurosis would release Souls at Zero and really begin their transition towards post metal, but that doesn’t mean that The Word as Law is disposable. In its original form it was definitely a little raw around the edges, and it’s certainly more straight-forward than anything they’ve done since, but it’s still an essential listen – especially now that it has been remastered. The Word as Law is the only album where the band really wear their progressive influences on their sleeve, especially through the creative rhythm work. After this point, the band would slowly delve into huge layers of sound that placed the bigger picture over individual performances, so it’s nice to have at least one album where the individual players can still be recognized. Basically, don’t go into this expecting a post metal release. Approach this album as an enjoyable history lesson where you’re treated to the bare-bones roots & foundation of a band that would quickly move on to bigger things – now featuring an improved sound.




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user ratings (9)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
August 24th 2017


17303 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Stream the album here:

https://neurosis.bandcamp.com/album/the-word-as-law-remastered



It's kind of funny, but the first two Neurosis songs to really kind of hint about the band's future were both drastically altered cover songs:

Day of the Lords (Joy Division Cover in 1990): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7skHOQlGM0U

Saturday Night Holocaust (Dead Kennedy's cover in 1991): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcY13PXkpnc

Ocean of Noise
August 24th 2017


9810 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sweet. This and the debut are the only Neurosis albums I haven't heard.

Digging: Windir - Likferd

Willie
Moderator
August 24th 2017


17303 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

If I could suggest a song to check out, "Common Inconsistencies" is one of my favorites on the album.

deezer666
August 24th 2017


2852 Comments


Props for reviewing this man.

Digging: Throane - Plus Une Main A Mordre

Aiwaz
August 24th 2017


5334 Comments


Damn dude nice! So underrated indeed.

Digging: Pan.Thy.Monium - Khaooohs And Kon-Fus-Ion

DominionMM1
August 24th 2017


15278 Comments


it's all about to what end? man

deezer666
August 24th 2017


2852 Comments


Hell ye

DominionMM1
August 24th 2017


15278 Comments


"The Word as Law is the only album where the band really wear their progressive influences on their sleeve"
don't love this sentence. care to elab?

Relinquished
August 24th 2017


36718 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the remaster and the review it deserved

Willie
Moderator
August 24th 2017


17303 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

"The Word as Law is the only album where the band really wear their progressive influences on their sleeve"

don't love this sentence. care to elab?


I mean their debut album is basically standard hardcore with some metal influence. Souls At Zero has some of the same progressive influences as The Word As Law, but they had already started to give way to the lumbering song structures and 'post metal' that would come to define them. And everything after that is the lethargic post metal they're known for. Of course, post metal by definition has some prog influences in its song structures, but as far standard prog metal genre musicianship and things like that, it can only really be found here.

DominionMM1
August 24th 2017


15278 Comments


gotcha

although i would reword that one

Willie
Moderator
August 24th 2017


17303 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

I'm open to suggestions...

kingdedethefifth
August 24th 2017


4562 Comments


Excellent review dude! I should really finish the rest of Neurosis's discog.

deezer666
August 25th 2017


2852 Comments


understatement of your life

Dewinged
August 25th 2017


6944 Comments


Nice one Willie

Digging: Motorpsycho - The Tower

Demon of the Fall
August 25th 2017


3638 Comments


Haven't heard this one, may as well give the re-master a go then.

Digging: Pestilence - Consuming Impulse

Flugmorph
August 25th 2017


17555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

omfg had no idea this would come out, i would prefer a remaster of pain of mind but this is a real treat regardless.

dbizzles
August 25th 2017


10537 Comments


Fuck yeah, gonna check this out this weekend for sure.

parksungjoon
August 25th 2017


5507 Comments


first 2 = strong albums

dont mind the posers' avg ratings

qwe3
August 25th 2017


21808 Comments


best post metal band ever even tho it doesnt mean much




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