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3.26 | 13 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1990

Filed under Hardcore Punk


A1. Double-Edged Sword (04:05)
A2. The Choice (04:07)
A3. Obsequious Obsolescence (05:12)
A4. To What End? (06:23)
B1. Tomorrow's Reality (05:47)
B2. Common Inconsistencies (04:24)
B3. Insensitivity (00:47)
B4. Blisters (07:18)

Total Time 38:03

1991 CD edition:

9. Life on Your Knees (2:54)
10. Pain of Mind (3:10)
11. Grey (3:01)
12. United Sheep (3:15)
13. Pollution (4:09)
14. Day of the Lords (5:17)
15. [untitled] (10:35)

Total Time 70:30


- Dave Edwardson / voice, bass
- Scott Kelly / vocals, guitar
- Steve Von Till / vocals, guitar
- Jason James / drums

About this release

12" black and limited edition clear vinyl LP and cassette album released 1990 on Lookout! Records (Lookout 021).
CD released 1991 on Lookout! Records (LOOKOUT 21CD).

Tracks 1-8 recorded at Sound & Vision: 684 Indiana, San Francisco, California through the month of December, 1989.
Tracks 9 - 14 recorded at Sound & Vision, February 15-17, 1991.

Tracks 9 - 12 originally appeared on the album "Pain Of Mind" on Alchemy Records.
Track 13 originally appeared on the 7" EP "Aberration" on Lookout Records.
Track 14 originally appeared on the live 7" Single "Empty"on Allied Records.
Track 15 consists solely of feedback and is not listed on the cover.

Thanks to NecronCommander, Bosh66, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
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.”
The Angry Scotsman
Neurosis in transition

Far more familiar with their later stuff I was quite surprised upon my first listen to "The Word as Law". At first it sounded like nothing more than your typical crossover thrash album of the period. Maybe because that's pretty much what it is, but for Neurosis specifically this marks a transition from their original hardcore roots to their slow, sludgy metal to come. Of course they are not the first hardcore band to go slow, idols of the band, Melvins, did so before them as did Black Flag even earlier. That being said, in 1990 this may have not been much but looking back in time it's obvious this was a stepping stone for the band.

Also, it's not a bad album at all. May be quite atypical compared to the band's later material but I like thrash, I like punk. What's not to like about crossover? This is a fun album, not very challenging and good to rock out with. Sometimes, you are just in the mood for that over thinking about the music! Although even this is a bit different from the run of the mill crossover album. Alternating between slower sections and quick thrashy ones, with lots of punk riffing and prominent bass. However, it's actually a lot more moderate than most crossover. Instead of abrupt transitions between slow and crazy fast, the thrash here isn't too extreme. Really, it's a pretty mid tempo album with some variations in speed throughout.

Still, quicker than anything you'd expect from Neurosis, even with a solo or two thrown in and different vocals. Here there is a more yelling, punk style opposed to their later strained, sludge style. I prefer the vocals here to be honest, and also fits the quicker punk influenced music.

Not technical or mindblowing, and not brooding, atmospheric and challenging this is a fun album from old school Neurosis. Walking the middle between the two extremes of crossover thrash, their is some much slower, even building, music here especially the last song...indicating the future road the band would take.

Good Album

Three Stars

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  • Fant0mas
  • S_199
  • Peacock Feather
  • LightningRider
  • GWLHM76
  • SilentScream213
  • Necrotica
  • Unitron
  • Zargus
  • Triceratopsoil
  • progpostman

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