For many, many years Neurosis have been synonymous with words like transcendent, intense and beautiful, epitomising musical evolution in every way with a solid line-up for all these years that, when together, always create something truly awe-inspiring. It’s been five years since Neurosis released a record but their presence has never once faltered. These six luminaries have burrowed a hole in the consciousness of heavy music and taken up residence for the foreseeable future, such is the impact of their emotionally, and even at times physically, taxing music. In 2012, with album number ten, Neurosis emerge with Honor Found in Decay and prove once again what a relevant and utterly vital band they are.
Wrought with an overwhelming sense of reality, Steve Von Till has described this album as maintaining their honour in times of decay – “when things are falling apart, where people show their true colours”. With the backdrop of social decay, economic turmoil, severe poverty and civil wars, Honor Found in Decay takes its inspirations from very real places, places that are devastatingly affecting and palpable. Honor Found in Decay, like much of Neurosis’ post Through Silver in Blood material, strikes a seemingly delicate balance between the harsh and the serene, showing the dichotomy we all live in between these everyday horrors and the possibility of something much more inspiring. The truth is that balance is actually harnessed with great strength by the band’s principal songwriters in Scott Kelly and Von Till, whose abilities to swan in and out of skull crushing heaviness and cerebral atmospherics has always been their calling card.
Honor Found in Decay is not Neurosis’ heaviest record, compared to works of yore, but the band has put an even greater attention on crafting atmosphere and the quiet/loud shifts. This is all evidenced by the affecting contributions of keyboardist Noah Landis, whose dizzying keys and washes of ambience are utilised to near perfection on this record. Of course, they would be nothing without the towering structures built painstakingly by Kelly and Von Till’s guitars and bellowing voices but still shine beautifully through this multi-layered entity, but Neurosis’ components have always been complementary and nothing within these seven songs exists on its own or for its own gain.
This is no more true than on the captivating album highlight My Heart For Deliverance where initially destructive sludge-laden verses power along before descending into a simply heavenly ambient mid passage helmed by Landis and sleek guitars that eventually soar into a thunderous instrumental crescendo where guitars are twisted and mangled into something strikingly beautiful.
At The Well, a song featured in the band’s setlists last year and released online a number of weeks ago, is another shining example of modern day Neurosis at their beguiling best as dejected broody verses once again tear down the gates for a fierce crescendo, helmed vocally by Scott Kelly.
Honor Found in Decay has elements that span their entire career, showing a band that is by no means reluctant to look to the past as fuel to move forward in the future. Shades of Souls at Zero can be heard fraternising with Times of Grace, in turn enveloping components from their post 2000 output, all for the great goal of creating something new. Neurosis’ ability to harness their maze of strengths into one engrossing composition, every time they pick up a guitar or drumstick, or whatever it maybe, still amazes to this day.
It’s a sense of astonishment that is endless straight through to Raise the Dawn, which may be the album’s shortest song but suitably ups the pace a little to close, with a simmering string arrangement joining the band to beckon the album’s time to wilt away leaving us all in awe.
Honor Found in Decay is awe.
Honor Found in Decay is released October 29th through Neurot Recordings.