Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Neurosis - "Enemy Of The Sun" CD

Originally released in 1994 on Alternative Tentacles, this early Neurosis album shows the Oakland band growing into their trademark symbiosis of tribal percussion, dark industrial ambience, and full-throttle aggro-metal. Since becoming an icon of what's now termed "post-metal", Neurosis' blackened soundscapes (which owe an acknowledged debt to early SWANS) paved the way for so many later acts, it's hard to even quantify.

Here, the band open with the raw "Lost", which is almost asphyxiating in it's density and painful throb/grind. "Raze The Stray" opens with the atmospheric vocals of Erika Little, accented by piano and keyboards. But this is soon interrupted by a screaming rupture of drums, primal shouts, and grinding guitars. The track returns to the moodier sound thereafter, creating an epic dirge that pulses and shifts to and fro. It's a little reminiscent of (Controlled Bleeding side project) Skin Chamber as well, who were working in a similar arena at the time, daring to join experimental industrial sounds and textures with brutal grind metal. The title track is a feral assault, with samples augmenting the percussive attack.

Neurosis' success lies in that they have learned to temper their destructive and primal urges with moments of stark, blissful beauty. And their varied use of nontraditional metal instruments also ups the ante. "The Time Of The Beasts", for example, dares to include horns, even, creating an almost dusky Southwestern vibe amidst the pounding noise, which segues into the 16-minute drum circle & didgeridoo piece, "Cleanse". Fans of defunct California tribal-percussion voodoo-conjurers Crash Worship will appreciate this wickedly esoteric track.

To make this reissue a worthy purchase for fans who may already have an earlier pressing, Neurot Recordings has sweetened the deal with 2 bonus tracks - a demo of "Takeahnase" and a live version of "Cleanse". "Enemy Of The Sun" is a 78-minute set of dark tribal grind metal with few equals. Recommended. (Neurot Recordings)

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