NEUROSIS — Times Of Grace (review)

NEUROSIS — Times Of Grace album cover Album · 1999 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Graceful & painful

My adventure with Neurosis had some of the most difficult beginnings of all my difficult beginnings. While not the heaviest band in the world, there is something about Neurosis that makes them one of the least welcoming. Where there's a will there's a way, though. A way to appreciate something as abrasive and heavy as this music can be at its darkest. And yet, despite the doom and gloom, the creativity, subtle lyricism and emotional charge that flow through this music make of it an experience bordering on synesthesia.

The sixth album by Neurosis continues the post-sludge journey started in Souls At Zero and greatly developed on Through Silver In Blood. And as with any journey, no stage is exactly the same. Times Of Grace demands lots of focus, although not as much as its predecessor. Whereas TSIB was a bleak, hypnotizing colossus of industrial sludge, tinged with an ominous tribal feel, Times of Grace is a record pervaded with austere, cinematic, somewhat primordial atmosphere (perfectly mirrored by the cover art). Songwriting seems to be tighter, more focused on pace changes and rhythm experimentation at the cost of long atmospheric build-ups. I can safely say that despite both albums being more or less on a par in my book, Times Of Grace is more complex and more daring in terms of composition. Not as unrelenting and less groundbreaking than TSIB was at the time of release, it's an album that takes all previously used non-metal elements and brings them to a new level. It's the path that will eventually lead the band to their most post and least metal record, The Eye Of Every Storm.

Times Of Grace is one of the two most acclaimed albums by Neurosis and for a good reason. It's a great successor to the brilliant TSIB and another milestone in the evolution of post-metal. It's a must for all fans of experimental music, especially those who are into atmospheric sludge in the vein of Isis or Cult of Luna, who, by the way, both took inspiration from Neurosis in the first place.
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