Music Reviews


A Sun That Never Sets


Neurosis have it all figured out.

In fact, they’ve had it figured out since 1992’s coming-of-age opus, Souls At Zero. Intensity is not in sheer speed itself, but in the lack of it; not in sheer sound itself, but in the way it is layered. That’s not to say that Neurosis haven’t sped things up from time to time nor doggedly stuck to the furthest, most comatose regions of rhythm • though some would argue otherwise, natch • but what they’ve arrived at in A Sun That Never Sets transcends and then obliterates the expectations of both listeners and the process of listening, as the barren soul of predecessor Times Of Grace gets stripped even further, revealing raw emotion, raw sound, raw intensity. For those of you who’ve already heard the album, to assert that A Sun That Never Sets is the most intense Neurosis effort yet would strike many as being rather off-base or, at the very worst, pretty damn foolhardy; on the surface, this is a kinder, gentler Neurosis, after all. However, to merely dwell on just one surface would undermine all that Neurosis and, especially, A Sun That Never Sets are.

Like you didn’t know that already.

Truly, like all Neurosis platters thus far, there are many surfaces to A Sun That Never Sets • this time, however, they’re all naked. Dunno whether working with ubiquitous sound verite sculptor Steve Albini on Times Of Grace precipitated this daringly bare approach or it’s merely a follow-through of its predecessor’s stripped-down aesthetic, A Sun That Never Sets is nonetheless a thoroughly organic Neurosis, one that leaves the spaces wide open and more often, thusly painting a vividly intense imagination by leaving everything up to it. More pensive than usual, if you will, and none-more-glum string sections and all, when Neurosis do in fact intermittently kick into their trademark avalanche chords, the sum effect is that much more intense. Maybe it’s Albini’s spacious-yet-forceful drum production, but the austerity conjured here recalls The Dirty Three’s majestic Ocean Songs, also produced by him. Oceanic and ebbing just the same, and equally elemental in nature, these are songs of the sun: blindingly brilliant, and burning with an intensity that is life-giving and -damning in equal measures. It’s a formidable force that’s long lingered in Neurosis’ curious nature, but never have they so eloquently articulated such as they have on A Sun That Never Sets.

As I said, Neurosis have it all figured out.

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