is a band that is in a constant state of evolution, with each album marking significant changes from the one before. From the folk inspired minimalism of A Sun That Never Sets
, to the grainy industrial soundscapes of Through Silver in Blood
to the hypnotic trance metal of Enemy of the Sun
. All of this you probably already know so you may be questioning why I bring this up. I bring this up, dear readers, because Given to the Rising
is the first album where the band has remained static. Musically, Neurosis
have carried on from the dreary post rock of The Eye of Every Storm
, and whilst the atmosphere feels earthen as opposed to airy, Given to the Rising
is not a huge leap forward in terms of musical innovation, but instead sees the band settling on one good idea and expanding upon said idea.
Whilst musically, comparisons can obliviously be made to The Eye of Every Storm
, the metal has been brought back into the band’s sound. The Eye of Every Storm
was ostensibly a post rock elements with elements of the bands progressive sludge metal thrown in, Given to the Rising
is a reversion of said ideas. The first track is a relatively succinct description for the rest of the album, chugging guitar riffs built around post rock song structures with quieter, ambient interludes thrown in for good measure. The style has remained relatively concise from The Eye of Every Storm
, but whilst said album had an airy, light feel to the music, Given to the Rising
is more grounded. The metal elements are a lot more pronounced, whilst the post rock interludes and the song structures have remained consistent, the climaxes have a much stronger sense of urgency and aggression.
With the bands post-rock direction, Neurosis
are able to focus much more on atmospheric progression. The use of keyboards works well in the context of the music, always used for ambiance rather than an actual instrument, they harmonize well with the guitar melodies. The guitars themselves don’t meander about a lot, there’s a stronger sense of direction within them and the band has a pretty heavy reliance on the quiet-loud dynamics. Said dynamics are often predictable and overused, but the two differing sections of the music are interesting enough that I can look past this. The harsh sections aren’t as dreary as those found on the prior full length; Neurosis
has taken a more rhythmic, heavier approach with this one. It’s more in your face whilst still retaining that element of atmospheric progression. It’s a great mix.
Although the band has carried on the style from The Eye of Every Storm
, they’re willing to experiment with more interesting dynamics and varied tempo changes. The Eye
… was a pretty slow, mellow album that succeeded in creating a very calm yet unimaginably bleak and dismal atmosphere. Given to the Rising
is still pretty slow, but the songs don’t meander about a whole much, there’s more tempo changes, more transitions between songs. The guitars once again prove that Neurosis
are masters of that dense wall of sound effect. The production is great as usual, with Steve Albini doing a grand job of mixing and producing the album, the guitars are crunchy and abrasive and the drums have a nice crisp and clear tone to them.
have never progressed, there’s the same juxtaposition between the harshly yelled barks and the mellow, cleanly sung sections. Unlike the rest of the band’s sound, vocal evolution is not a necessity as the tortured barks work well when mixed with the dense bombardment of guitars and ritualistic tribal drumming. Tonally, the vocals are as aggressive as I've come to expect from Neurosis
but there’s a tired, worn out sense to them that has been carried on from A Sun That Never Sets
. This juxtaposition between unbridled rage and a tired, almost languid delivery works well within the context of the music and also makes the abstract lyrics all the more effective. Speaking of lyrics, Neurosis
are as abstract and surreal as ever, Neurosis
isn't a band who like to spoon feed their fan base meanings through overly simplistic lyrics. Rather the true joy is in analyzing them, picking apart your own meaning and thus creating a symbiotic relationship between the music and the listener.
over a decade of constant evolution and progression, Given to the Rising
is the first time the band has remained static musically. Atmospherically this is pretty different, as are all Neurosis
albums, but musically this isn't a huge leap forward from The Eye of Every Storm
. It’s a bit more accessible, easier on the ears and takes less time to get used to. In fact, I’d probably say it’s a good introduction to the band as it contains all the elements that make them so endearing in the first place whilst offering up a more determined and stronger sense of song writing. Given to the Rising
proves once again that Neurosis
are masters of their style.