Tuesday, April 15, 2008

2007 album of the year


neurosis - 'given to the rising'
It was obvious, wasn't it? It's funny that you see Neurosis' name thrown around a lot these days (hell, I'm guilty of that in spades, I can find a Neurosis reference point in just about any album you can throw at me, it's like a superpower or something), but especially by people who can't find anything else to say about an ambient/drone/monolithic riffing/rather unclassifiable record and just lump everything together in the one-size-fits-all "oh, they sound like Neurosis and Isis and Cult Of Luna" dropword. Well, fuck that. Neurosis aren't a band to be lumped in with any other bands, good as they might be, or with any movements, or trends, or anything. As the most essential and primordially true musical entity of the post-Swans era, Neurosis are their own movement. They have followed their own individual way on every single thing they've done and that is why they are so revered, considered so influential and also so misunderstood. As with any musical force of this magnitude, with Neurosis it's much more than just the music. It's the vision, it's the path they take to follow that vision, it's the very resonance of their impact on everyone who has ever listened to them. It's that blood-curdling, soul-cleansing, 30-second scream on 'To The Wind', where Scott Kelly dregs up just about everything he has inside him and just throws it, well, to the wind, as it were.

Photo by Brendan Tobin PhotographyNo other band can even remotely reach the heights of intensity, of total immersion, of oneness with their own art in its every manifestation that this band does in every single release, in every single song, in every single note. Whereas regular-joe bands stagnate and good bands "evolve", Neurosis just keep adding and adding. There's no evolution, so to speak, in their manifestations, since way back on 'Souls At Zero' - what there is, is a spinning cycle of life, death, fire, soul, blood, tears and truth that keeps spinning around itself, somehow like the ouroboros on the cover of 'Through Silver In Blood', keeps devouring itself, but growing and expanding at the same time. 'Given To The Rising' is just that. There's everything - from ravaging fury to unavoidable pitch-black ambient passages, from blinding aggression to delicate darkness, from the fiery directness of 'Enemy Of The Sun' to the tribal mysticism of 'Through Silver In Blood' to the elegiac sombreness of 'The Eye Of Every Storm' to unique dymanics and developments in songs that are as ton-heavy as they are inspiring, moving and touching to behold. It's like going to the moon to watch the final apocalypse from there - you have all the slow, funereal atmospheres developing in front of you, but at the same time the entire event presents itself with the singular beauty of finality. And what you would hear in such a situation would surely be something akin to the first half of 'At The End Of The Road', one of the several tectonic movements on this album that will resonate long, long after you've heard them.

Needless to say, you need this. Everyone does.

Neurosis - 'To The Wind'

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