The Angry Scotsman
With this album Neurosis takes a more standard post metal sound, though you can't knock the band for that, since they invented the sound.
I actually prefer newer Neurosis over old, simply put: atmosphere over aggression (as one person once told me). Of course atmosphere has been a Neurosis staple since '92, they've been belting out lengthy, atmospheric metal long before Isis or even Tool, but on "The Eye of Every Storm" they adopt a more heavy/light interplay style, and is greatly subdued. Their bludgeoning, sludgy guitar dirges are still around, but just much less. Neurosis has no problem utilizing melodic passages, and even minimalism.
Opening track "Burn" and "The Eye of Every Storm" have lengthy movements that are almost solely vocals, the latter being backed up a continuous "wub", psychedelic noises and splashes of guitar.
These two being standout tracks. "Burn" is, again, pretty standard post metal, though so well done. Heavy/light transitions, building to a powerful climax. His gruff, sludge metal vocals are so fitting...he does it in a more "singing" style and over soft, beautiful music it creates such an emotional, tortured feeling. Awesome song.
"The Eye of Every Storm" moves like a storm, gradually rolling in until it reaches a real moving part, before entering a long quiet section. A baritone talking takes the forefront, as mentioned earlier, backed up by various trippy noises. Really let it sink in, what he's saying, the ambiance, everything.
Another brilliant song is "Bridges". A steady, (though very distant) punk drum beat carries on while sparse piano, vocals, and fluttering psychedelic noises take the forefront. Picks up a bit before a schizo journey of drones and borderline silence takes over. Both parts are awesome, though it takes some patience to grasp all the subtlety in the quiet (on casual listen it'll sound like honest silence) before a rockin ending. Atmospheric, post metal to the nth degree.
That's really how to best describe whole album. A lot of quiet, spaced with heavy, (in their classic slow, even droning, nature) tons of little detail. Pretty heavy use of synth, though it's never prominent, just filler...another piece you may not hear at first but adds another dimension.
The vocals are still Neurosis' strained, sludge metal style though even here more subdued. He still lets it soar, but all the time and while I was never a huge fan, I like it much more here. The restraint does well, and of course makes it more powerful when he takes off.
No doubt, like most of the bands work this is a difficult album. Even I struggle a bit with some Neurosis. "The Eye of Every Storm" requires some patience and a fine ear. It's not the best for casual listening, as the long quiet parts would have to be boring, this is best for active listening. To really feel this albums power and absorb all the subtle songwriting it's best to sit down, do nothing, and let the album take you over. I like to put it on early morning after I wake up, sitting there relaxed playing this album, or doing so whenever I have some nice down time.
While it's extremely well done, the album is a tad formulaic and it's difficulty may be a turn off, (though I found it easier to get into then old school, crushing Neurosis). The gods of post metal have done it again, putting out a unique and superb post metal album.