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Neurosis - The Word As Law CD (album) cover

THE WORD AS LAW

Neurosis

Experimental/Post Metal


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UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Neurosis have really improved since their first album. The Word as Law is a much more mature album even though there is still a long way to how they sound today. I really enjoyed their debut album for it´s raw and primitive hardcore but The Word as Law takes that concept and builds on it to great effect.

The music is still very rooted in hardcore but as opposed to Pain of Mind there are also some very slow and heavy songs which means that The Word as Law is a much more varied album than Pain in Mind. There are even some acoustic parts in some of the songs. To What End? is is an example of one of the heavy songs on The Word as Law. It´s a really good song but the overall feeling is that on great dynamics when listening to The Word as Law. In this respect Neurosis reminds me of Carnivore. There are also some really fast and aggressive hardcore songs here and funny enough Neurosis have included four songs from their debut and re-recorded them for The Word as Law. Pain Of Mind, Grey, United Sheep and Life On Your Knees are all from the debut. All great aggressive hardcore songs. I guess Neurosis felt these songs were so good, that they wanted more people to hear them than the few who bought their badly distributed debut album.

In true hardcore fashion the vocals are delivered by two frontmen though. Scott Kelly´s deep almost growling vocals and Steve Von Till´s aggressive hystarical vocals. They complement each other well, and it has a very aggressive effect that almost sounds like shouting during a fight.

The musicianship is much better this time around and you can even talk about a certain tightness between the musicians.

The production has definitely also taken a few notches up since Pain of Mind which had a real garage band sound quality. The Word as Law sound much more professional without being polished. It´s still pretty raw in other words.

I´m very happy that I got this album from Neurosis and even though I understand they play a somewhat different style today this is still a very worthy release. I´m not a devoted fan myself but I appreciate The Word as Law greatly, so don´t let the fact that you wouldn´t normally like a Neurosis album keep you away from this one. If you like aggressive but varied hardcore this is the album for you. 3 stars is deserved even though there is nothing progressive about this release, but since it is here I´ll take the liberty to review it.

Report this review (#168283)
Posted Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars It took three years for NEUROSIS to finally release their second album THE WORD AS LAW after a few personal changes but still with the triumvirate founders of Scott Kelly (guitar, vocals) and Dave Edwardson (bass) and Jason Roeder (drums). THE WORD AS LAW is a transition album of sort that while mostly stationed in the hardcore punk world as was their debut "Pain Of Mind," the band ramp up their experimental tendencies quite a bit. While only four musicians were present on the debut, there are five on this sophomore release. Steve Von Till replaces Chad Salter on guitar and Simon McIlroy joins the team to add keyboards, tapes and sampling effects and while the atmospheric focus is far from the bizarre world of their next album "Souls At Zero," it is a bit more obvious of the direction the band would meander albeit with 20/20 hindsight vision. THE WORD AS LAW takes the hardcore punk approach of the debut and steers it more into experimental post-hardcore territory with an emphasis on the instruments taking separate roles in the musical process.

While the guitar continues the monstrosity of punk riffing, the bass takes on a more active role with not only supplemental support but unique grooves that create distinct counterpoints to the main guitar driven rhythms. Likewise with the drum rolls of Roeder as he takes liberties to give a more jazzed up heavy metal approach to the percussion side of things instead of lazily adhering to the traditional punk approach. The track "Tomorrow's Reality" actually sounds more like the doomed sludge metal that the band would become famous for rather than the punk world they were quickly leaving behind. Although it has a rather punk feel in timbres, tones and tenaciousness, it has a nonchalant sludge effect in tempo and cranks up a diverse rotation of chord changes and a more quickened punk section that has a rather alternative metal approach in the bass and drums even bringing a little funk to the table.

"Common Inconsistencies" debuts their unique atmospheric style in the intro that takes feedback and effects and dips into a hardcore world of surrealism before getting cold feet and retreating back to the Fugazi style post-hardcore comfort zone. While the vocals on THE WORD AS LAW are very much in the angry shouted anarchy side of things, i can actually hear where Sikth got inspired by the short but unsweet "Insensitivity" which contains the blueprints for the frenetic vocal style that Sikth would make a career out of proving that NEUROSIS inspired in many ways even at this stage. The final track "Blisters" is perhaps the only thing close to the progressive experimental metal they would perfect in the future. This track is performed in mid tempo, has a steady flow but has some progressive time signatures although it also feels like a proto-impression of the post-metal they would have a hand in developing. Despite being somewhat unique, it is a little too jittery for what they're grasping for.

THE WORD AS LAW has come out in two significant forms. Firstly in its LP version that contains the eight original tracks but the 1991 CD release added a whole seven extra tracks that included four re-recorded tracks from "Pain Of Mind" which placed them in the more interesting transitional phase of the band's career and fit in with this album quite well. It also includes three extra tracks, one being a cover of Joy Division's "Day Of The Lords" and another sneak peek into their lesser known side project Tribes Of Neurot with a hidden untitled seventh track that features over ten minutes of ambient guitar feedback and multi-dimensional freakiness. Personally i think the edition with the bonus tracks is definitely the version to seek out. These tracks are in many ways better than the album itself but THE WORD AS LAW shows a significant improvement over the debut even if it pales in comparison to the awesomeness that follows. starting with the phenomenal "Souls At Zero."

3.5 rounded down

Report this review (#1744049)
Posted Sunday, July 16, 2017 | Review Permalink

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