A slow doomy intro with some haunting guitar tones welcomes you to Bending Light, the first song off this 5 song, 40 minute Neurosis album. It’s a song that messes with your mind as it’s tempo continues to drop slowly, but only by a notch making it feel like you’re imagining it.
The sudden burst that comes at nearly the 4 minute mark could be a completely different song. It’s not an unwelcome change, just unexpected. The first half of the song evidently lulls you into a false sense of security with the latter dropping some earth shattering tones to help clear the cobwebs out.
It’s a strong finish & an even stronger start for A Shadow Memory which retains much of the heavier tones. It drops in pace, letting a simple guitar melody play out alongside an effect that eats away at your brain, keeping the song fresh. Doom can get stale when played without much variation but Neurosis are masters of their craft & there is little that will bore here.
Some of the odd effects don’t really add much to some of the songs but they don’t actively take away from the music either.
Fire is the End Lesson has a sharper edge in the guitar tone that follows alongside the vocals nicely. The slow melodic part in the middle is simply fantastic & builds perfectly back into a sickeningly heavy beat.
The final two songs come in at a just over a whopping 19 minutes starting with Broken Ground, a delightfully mellow song with flashes of pace that keep things balancing on a knifes edge perfectly. It’s another fantastic song that has moments where you’ll find you’re mouth dropping open in surprise.
It’s unfortunate that Reach isn’t able to sustain the same level of quality, being more monotone & forgettable. The final few minutes (of a 10+ minute song) tries to bring things back around with some darkened riffs & heaviness that could sink a boat but it’s too little, too late.
It’s not a fitting way to finish this epic of an album. A small blip on what is an incredible piece of music. This is an album that demands your time & attention, give it…you won’t regret it.
Overall Track List:
1. Bending Light
2. A Shadow Memory
3. Fire is the End Lesson
4. Broken Ground
Neurosis - Fires Within Fires (Neurot Recordings)