Honor Found In Decay
Neurot Recordings/ 2012
Full Length 7 song Record
Steve Von Till
We need to get something straight, right from the hop, Neurosis is more than “music”… and light years beyond just a “band”. Neurosis have always been spiritual harbingers of a different reality. We see a new universe through their eyes. The listener’s mood and awareness rise and fall with songs that assault at one turn, and soothe at the next. We hear a very different essence of pure energy in their music, both hypnotic and chaotic, at the same time. Sound on sound… always primal and intense. Lumbering low and deliberate, no bridge or tempo change that sits long enough to make it boring. Then it blinds the senses and spikes the heart rate with a faster tempo backed by rolling tribal drums.
There is NOTHING self- indulgent about Neurosis. Since 1985, Neurosis have been impossible to typecast or pigeon hole. They don’t fit any mold, the brutally honest music and the beautifully savage lyrics defy classification. If you were asked: “ What is Neurosis like?” the only correct response would be: “ Neurosis”. That is correct, Neurosis is no other band, and no other band is like Neurosis. In the last 27 + years, Neurosis have become their own entity, recording and taking a live show all over the world. A show that has to be seen to be appreciated. Almost 3 decades of creating the musical and spiritual journey that is Neurosis; they were DIY, alternative and independent ten years before any of those words were music catch phrases. They seemed to have somehow known from the very beginning that they would evolve into more of a movement than a band, a revolution of thought and vision and music. And like anything based on perception, the experience differs with the beholder: what each listener hears or senses from the offering, be it visual or auditory, is as varied as the multi layered songwriting style . Every time I listen to Neurosis, and I have been since 1991, I hear something new (to me) in every song. No matter how many times I have heard it. Maybe it is because Neurosis is a natural force that is constantly trying to create a new sound or find an unplayed note. Ever looking for the next plateau. Never really content with any height or depth, always rising to treacherous altitudes or navigating the depths of the darkest abyss. With such an organic and earnest approach to living and creating from the very beginning, it really isn’t a surprise to me that Neurosis is shuffling the deck for their 10th full length record.
PARTIAL RESET. ENTER : “ Honor Found In Decay”…. Neurot Records…. October, 2012.
So I know what “Honor Found In Decay”….will sound like, even before I listen to it! Seriously, I do. It will sound like NOTHING I have ever heard and it will blow and sate my mind at the same time. This is art…. this is living and dying in the same instant, and I am a FOOL to try and define it….. it is simply… Neurosis!
This 7 song saga runs about 1 hour and 49 seconds. And I recommend listening to it with headphones.
“ We All Rage in Gold” ~ (6:36) starts the sentient fracas. I have spoken to the musical and the visual aspect of Neurosis. Their LYRICAL style is arguably the most hypnotic of their gift to our senses of sight and sound. Words that always temper the mood of the groove. With caustic acidity, lyrics that tell of mortal and spiritual birth, death and then rebirth again. As glorious in decay in darkness, as they are a blinding energy most profound to behold.
“ At The Well “ ~ (10:05) paints a similarly dark essence that cries out in the contrasting forces of visceral mortality that squirms and writhes below the higher nebulousness of spiritual kinesis. Denizens of a burned, scorched and barren earth, fighting to evolve in the waste that was once a sanctuary. “ In a shadow world…In a shadow world… In a shadow world…. We hide in light. “ One energy’s end is another’s beginning. Every death facilitates a life, even at the most primordial and cosmic level.
“ My Hear For Deliverance“ ~ ( 11:41) Nebulous and foreboding, the beginning pulses to life with the friction of anxiety and building power. Punctuated with the gravel gargling vocals and steady hooks that make their own time signatures within the musical frame. Double time drums and whining guitar build to blend with keys and plateau again and again. “ Then levels at a crescendo and begins a descent from cacophony to harmony with soothing, clean guitar into spoken words: “ We follow the earth, the earth follows the stars, the stars know their way. And though the body dies, the stars will remain; like the waves of the sea and the reckless wind.” Then the din of a thousand horns of war clash together in glorious and disjointed revelry! Like the primal worship or the pagan celebration.
“ Bleeding The Pigs” ~ ( 7:20) Like the prescient voice of the oracle or soothsayer, “Bleeding..” opens with Scott Kelly’s grinding lyrics of prophecy and ruin, the words rise in the consciousness of the listener.
Whether hypnotic or apocalyptic, the drums and percussion of Jason Roeder always toe the line and form the “mainframe” for the guitars and vocals of Kelly, Steve Von Till and Dave Ed(wardson). The keys, samples and ambience of Noah Landis are ever present; accentuating and affirming the cosmic rift set to music that is Neurosis. Cleansing permanence created by shedding the “cancer” of our pasts, whatever that may be. “ Scrape the black tar from your past life, let its’ weight burn away…”
“ Casting Of The Ages” ~ ( 10:03) With the urgent melancholy of the field burned by battle and littered with victims and survivors alike, “ Casting…” opens with a reflective tone that is disturbingly serene. But we know serenity can be fleeting, and so “Casting…” raises the level and the intensity to anything but serene. The ancient rite of changing our mortality, through immortal vision and awareness. Bound by earthly factors, but looking for higher existence. “ We’ll sleep with no dreams tonight, tomorrow we’ll leave as one. The rising is no illusion, the fallen have become, the wisdom is ancient.”
“ All Is Found…In Time “ ~ ( 8:50) Delightfully dark, off time and heavy. The vocal blend of Kelly, Von Till and Edwardson is most notable on “ All Is Found…”. Like the phases of Earth’s moon, Neurosis songs take us through changes in form and affect. Each song a different entity, multi layered and as deep and wide as it is high. Journeys through time, space and self. “ Standing wild on ragged stones…Waiting to be, to be found…to be found.” Deliberate and intense, drilling to our very core. “ All is Found…In Time”.
“ Raise The Dawn “ ~ ( 5:57) The ode to Mother Earth and Sister Dawn. A prayer of acceptance to the energies of moon, mountain, star and sun. With a plea for hope, hope of a new day. Beholden to darkness, raging seas and stormy winds, dependent on the builders of earth and space. Bound by mortality, yet reaching and searching for higher awareness and more purpose. “ Raise…” closes with tribalistic reverence. A reverence that strives for elevation, to rise above the mire of this mortal coil.
“ Father’s distant whispered eyes, guide me to the mountains. Her fingers reach to raise the dawn.”
This is a record revue, but as a Neurosis fan of 21 years, I HAVE to admit that I cannot think of Neurosis without adding my mental memories of Neurosis playing “live”. Kind of like hearing the Butthole Surfers, I instantly see Paul Leary and Jeff Pinkus doing the high kicks during “Sweatloaf”. When I think of Neurosis I picture the raging music rising and falling intensely, to a backdrop of films and visuals that were as much a part of every song as the music and lyrics. Seeing a band “live” should be an intensely different experience than merely just listening to it . That “Sixth Member” of Neurosis for the last 12 years has been Josh Graham. The men that came before Josh were: Adam G. Kendall from 1990 until 1993. Adam stopped touring with the band in 1993, but continued to create and provide visuals for the band until as late as 1997. The inimitable Pete Inc. took up the mantle of visual ambience and tireless road dog from 1993 until early 2000, when Josh Graham joined the glorious fray that is the Neurosis road show.
In a November, 2012 press release on the band’s official website: www.neurosis.com , Neurosis shared the news of what seems like an amicable parting of ways between long time film and video creator, Josh Graham and the rest of the band. In their own words:
This first quote is from Steve Von Till, Dave Ed, Jason Roeder, Noah Landis and Scott Kelly:
From www.neurosis.com dated November 30th, 2012 ~
“As of today, after much thought and discussion, visual projections as we have presented them over the last 20 years will no longer be part of Neurosis live shows. We are going to begin the process of reinventing our live presentation. This process will begin at zero, allowing the music to speak for itself and lead us where it may. Whatever form or however long this may take is unknown. This also signals a parting of the ways with our visual artist of the last twelve years, Josh Graham. Josh’s tireless work and talent came at a time when we really needed it and carried us gracefully into the video age with original content we couldn’t have dreamed of when we were just starting out. Our parting comes from a place of mutual respect, friendship and understanding. We all agree that this is a step Neurosis has to take and are open to working together on specific projects in the future. We wish him success and the best of luck with all of his own musical endeavors and artistic passions. “
In the spirit of sound,
– Steve, Dave, Jason, Noah, and Scott
Then Josh Graham’s statement:
“Statement from Josh: For us all, time for change has come. The friendships and body of work that have spawned from our time together will live on as we move forward. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with Neurosis over the last 12 years. As the crossroads are upon us, and we feel that the pinnacle of our collaborative efforts have been reached; we now look toward our individual futures with support and encouragement. Constant reinvention is at the heart and soul of us all, and we will all continue to persevere. Despite the larger picture winding down as we move on in our own directions, we will continue to work together on specific legacy projects including reissues and possibly more if/when the right projects come up.”
I highlight this event to show that Neurosis is ever evolving and rarely content to stay in any one place for too long. A back to basics approach, of sorts:
“This process will begin at zero, allowing the music to speak for itself and lead us where it may. Whatever form or however long this may take is unknown.”
Scott, Steve, Dave, Jason and Noah
There is no doubt both parties will land on their feet. Neurosis has answered their own challenge, dropped the gauntlet at their own feet. Do what they have always done, evolve and create. No two records by Neurosis are alike. Though some are symbiotic by design, every record Neurosis has done defies convention, and reaches new levels than the one before. I strongly recommend the latest of offering from Neurosis, ” Honor Found In Decay“. The story is told richly, a story of hope and rebirth , a story of light told from the depths of darkness and scorched earth. In spite of pains and destruction, we strive to know and commune with the entities and energies that are as much a part of us as the moon, sun, mountains and seas. We are made up celestial dust and particles, and we seem to eternally try to reason, struggle and strive for clear vision and higher understanding.
I write this on December 21st, 2012. The winter solstice is upon us, and today is the end of the last long count on the Mayan calendar. There are many theories as to what the end of the current Mayan long count will bring. The usual suspects are predicting world destruction, apocalypse and the “end of times”…. I personally see a new beginning, the dawn of new age. Hopefully an age of grace, communication and reason. Rising to new heights of vision and potential cosmic unity. But, we will still be here tomorrow, the world is not ending, but it IS decaying. We may need to experience that “Honor Found In Decay”, to create a new reality by perpetuating the positive from this world, and defiantly shedding the negative. Only time will tell……
Neurosis bio at
Pain of Mind LP (1987, Alchemy Records)
The Word as Law LP/CD (1990, Lookout! Records)
Souls at Zero LP/CD (1992, Alternative Tentacles)
Enemy of the Sun LP/CD (1993, Alternative Tentacles)
Through Silver in Blood LP/CD (1996, Relapse Records)
Times of Grace LP/CD (1999, Relapse Records)
A Sun that Never Sets LP/CD (2001, Relapse Records)
The Eye of Every Storm LP/CD (2004, Neurot Recordings/Relapse Records)
Given to the Rising LP/CD (2007, Neurot Recordings)
Black 7″EP (1986, bootleg)
Aberration 7″EP (1989, Lookout Records)
Empty 7″EP (1990, Allied Records)
Empty 7″EP (1991, reissue in Germany on Your Choice Records)
The Doorway/Threshold 7″EP (1999, Relapse Records)
Sovereign MCD (2000, Neurot Recordings)
Locust Star (split w Tribes of Neurot) MCD (1996, Relapse Records)
In These Black Days (split w/ Soilent Green) 7″EP (1999, Hydrahead Records)
Neurosis & Jarboe LP/CD (2003, Neurot Recordings)
Live in Lyon CD (2002, Neurot Recordings)
Live in Stockholm CD (2003, Neurot Recordings)
Live at Roadburn 2007 CD/2×LP (2010, Neurot Recordings/Roadburn Records)
A Sun that Never Sets DVD (2002, Relapse Records, Neurot Recordings)
Pain of Mind CD (1994, Alternative Tentacles)
Souls at Zero + Enemy of the Sun 2XCD (1997, Iron City Records)
Pain of Mind 2XCD (2000, Neurot Recordings)
Souls at Zero CD (2000, Neurot Recordings)
Enemy of the Sun CD (2000, Neurot Recordings)
Through Silver in Blood CD (2009, Neurot Recordings)