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Neurosis



Neurosis captures the noise of the earth imploding, of conflict on a global scale, of the violent processes of destruction and regeneration. You can't call them punk, metal, industrial, or rock, though their music would not have been possible without all of those influences. Neurosis is the sound of upheaval, of violent transformation, of catharsis. There has never been a band that sounds quite like this one, and there will never be another.

Neurosis's origins lie in the political hardcore underground of Oakland in the mid-'80s. After the 1987 release of their first album, Pain of Mind, founding members Dave Edwardson (bass), Scott Kelly (guitarist/vocals) and Jason Roeder (drums) joined forces with guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till, and the band began to evolve from straightforward hardcore to a more complicated, intensely discordant sound that was captured on their next release, 1990's Word As Law. Then San Francisco-based Alternative Tentacles signed then for their next two releases, which turned out to be 1992's Souls at Zero (which includes the featured tracks, "To Crawl Under One's Skin" and "Souls at Zero") and 1993's Enemy of the Sun, both of which Neurosis has now reissued on its own Neurot Recordings label. "Sovereign," the title track from their latest release on Neurot Recordings demonstrates how the band has grown in recent years, miraculously managing to become even louder, darker, and more menacing.

On these records Neurosis no longer sounds like a band, it sounds like a sheer force of nature. This music has very little to do with rock and roll anymore, or any musical genres in fact; it is about something brutal and elemental. These records are experiments in sustained, intensely visceral, barely controlled emotion, featuring the gut-twisting, ferocious tribal percussion and violent, primitive bass and guitar rhythms for which Neurosis has become notorious in recent years. At first, Neurosis might simply sound like a pure expression of blind, unadulterated fury, but listen carefully to Von Till's torn-apart, desperate vocals and keyboardist/sample technician Noah Landis's vocal samples, and you will realize that Neurosis's explosive anger is a response to corrupted institutions of power and authority, spiritual malaise, and a sense that things are very much not all right with the world.

Neurosis has also released The Word As Law (1992), Through Silver in Blood (1996), and Times of Grace (1999). They have also become famous for their furious live performances, which include extensive visual effects by the band's visual media member Pete, Inc. and extended all-member tribal drumming digressions.

Regardless of what kind of music you prefer, or whether you tend to shy away from music that is harsh or dark, you should listen to Neurosis. Their music has the disturbing, destructive beauty of a natural disaster, a Wagnerian pathos never before heard in "popular" music, but comprehensible to anyone living in today's chaotic and fractured social landscape.