Times Of Grace
First things first. Neurosis can’t find a producer who can capture the unholy beauty that is a Neurosis show. I resign myself to this. Souls At Zero was thin. Enemy of the Sun and Through Silver in Blood were muddy. The new CD, Times of Grace , is about as good an attempt as I have heard. It falls short, but I suppose no one will fault uber-producer Steve Albini for trying. I won’t, considering previous studio slanderings.
Now, on with the review. Neurosis has grown into a band that always does it big. The CDs are big, the stage show is big, the persona is big. With this in mind, I am almost surprised at the subtlety of Times of Grace . The cover is a simple woodcut. The inset booklet is spare and lovely. The artwork on the CD has the feel of a CG Jung religious mandala, archetypal figures interwoven with otherworldly backgrounds.
Enough of the artwork though. There are very few bands that fit in their own mold quite like Neurosis. A band like Crash Worship might do tribal drumming, and a band like Unsane might play sludge heavy hardcore/metal, but no one intersects the two quite like Neurosis. Together, the combination make for a soundtrack for the end of the world. The lyrics add to the Armageddon feel, with images of Gods and angels, fires and beasts. The concept of gods (a term open to interpretation) seems to be a recurring theme on the CD. So as always, Neurosis are approaching music on the level of spirit and the seeking of that which is higher.
Most songs clock in at over six minutes, but unlike earlier CDs there are few over ten minutes. This makes the CD more concise, less meandery. I happened to like Neurosis when they meandered, but the songs on Times of Grace accomplish the same in five minutes that earlier CDs took ten minutes for, and that is leaving the listener exhausted.
It should be mentioned that the companion work to this CD is called Grace , from the Tribes of Neurot side project. The Times of Grace and Grace CD’s are both individual listening experiences, but can be played conicidentally to make for something very interesting indeed. This is a Pink Floyd for the end times. Tune in, turn on, and brace yourself.
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