Ayee, Neurosis fans — this one’s for you. Thirty years running, the post-metal pioneers have just released their 11th studio album, Fires Within Fires, on the band’s Neurot Recordings. Do not expect any crazy experimentation or deviation from their classic doom metal sound; this album, in a nutshell, is classic Neurosis. The album is a true testament to the originality and skill of a band considered one of the first to ever combine hardcore/crust punk with atmospheric and psychedelic sounds, leading to the subgenre post-metal. While striking the band’s signature balance of light and dark, the album sounds completely relevant and up-to-date, despite their massive discography, and, dare I say, age? Fires Within Fires proves how experience and sheer talent can break down barriers of what could be exhausted sound and stretched-out creativity. These guys still have it — in fact, it seems as though they are only just beginning.
This forty-five minute LP is comprised of just five songs, each raining heavy with guitar, drums, and bass, creating a thick sound that carries effortlessly throughout the entire album. Pretty and mostly instrumental, the album relies greatly on chaotic guitar riffs to drive the sound forward. Mixed with the stomping beat of the drums, much of this record could be the soundtrack to some grand, mythological tale. The head-banging-fist-pumping guitars reflect back to the driving punk sound found in their earlier albums, especially in “Fire Is The End Lesson.” The pure, raw sound can be heavily attributed to the experienced and masterful ear of engineer Steve Albini. Nothing is overdone or overproduced on the album; you are in it with Neurosis from start to finish.
Speaking to Decibel magazine earlier this year, Neurosis vocalist/guitarist Steve Von Till describes his feelings about the band’s three-decade-long career: “We’re so fucking lucky, man. [We have] such gratitude for the brotherhood and the ability to be a part of this sound and this family.” Vocalist/guitarist Scott Kelly adds, in the same interview, “We approach everything as if it would be the last thing we do, and we’ve been very conscious of that, particularly over the last ten years. Because we realize that the longer you go, your odds decrease substantially.” Contrary to other of long-standing rock bands, which can sometimes sound outdated and irrelevant, Neurosis remains on top with this record. It is clear they will remain influential in the doom-metal scene, drawing in old and new fans alike.