Neurosis

Sovereign

Neurot Recordings 2011

I'll admit I have never been a huge fan of Neurosis.  Part of that is my own past narrow-mindedness.  However, since Neurot has been doing some amazing rereleases of some of Neurosis' earlier works I decided it was high time I gave myself some proper exposure to their work.  So I am going start in the middle with the Sovereign EP originally released in 2000.  I know that there is not much new I can say about this band, but I am still going to dissect this release as if it were new.  I know they call this an EP but the 5 songs here (the bonus track Misgiven is listed a proper track on the repress) have a total running time of 39:24 which could be considered a full-length by most bands.  Anyways, back to the music.  Prayer gets the tumbleweed rolling as the stark minimalism of soft voice and occasional plinking give way to a rising tide of tribal beatings and angry voices with an undercurrent of low noise.  Up next is An Offering and I am immediately struck by eerie similarities to Godflesh's Streetcleaner with its hard percussive pounding.  This is quickly dropped in favor of a slow, grinding sludge and multiple vocalists.  This creates a dark and striking wave of undulating sounds.  The undulation quickens towards the song's climax.  There are even more pronounced Godflesh references in Flood.  And then we reach the title track which creeps along, stealthily, throbbing drone in the background and huge lumbering riffs rising and vibrating from within the darkness.  The momentum of the song increases as the voices unite and the guitars become more insistent.  At times a melody almost surfaces presenting a moment of reflection before it crushed underneath the bulldozer riffs.  Misgiven brings proceedings to a close.  Its rusty shudderings collide with shrieking, piercing elements of noise.  It's like your mind is being attacked by shards of noise until they focus into one mighty spear of sound.  This track is really hard to listen to as it repeatedly stabs at your ears and mind.  As a whole Sovereign is quite an interesting listen and I see that I have been missing out by dismissing Neurosis.  The EP is varied in its approach yet remains unified in theme.  Neurosis has captured my imagination.