NEUROSIS — Times Of Grace (review)

NEUROSIS — Times Of Grace album cover Album · 1999 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
After releasing their landmark “Through Silver In Blood,” NEUROSIS was a much better known act after touring with Pantera and continuing their mind blowing pioneering efforts in the world of post metal and sludge. The temptation to create a sequel to “Silver” had to have been intense but once again NEUROSIS proved that you can continuously move on into new musical territories and create something new out of the old. Such is the case with their sixth full album TIMES OF GRACE. Although this is clearly endowed with much of the sludgery of the past, it is a clear attempt to mellow things down a bit. In fact all throughout the 90s NEUROSIS was also producing ambient music under the name Tribes Of Neurot, which included all the band members and other musicians not in NEUROSIS and the band had always added some of their ambient electronic wizardry to their metal releases but on this album they add even more and this album was actually designed to be heard side by side with the “Grace” album by their Tribes Of Neurot project.

TIMES OF GRACE delivers much more of a post-rock feel than a sludge assault and although there are still remnants of the frenetic tribal drumming on the “Under The Surface,” we get a much calmer and simplified drumming style on this album reminding me more of bands like Isis or Pelican. The intro track “Suspended In Light” is a full-on ambient number and the electronic background soundscapes continue throughout the entire run. The guitars seem to me to sound more like grunge at times. By the time we get to some of the later tracks like “Away” it sounds like the album totally morphed into the post-rock world with little metal at all being heard. The slow recurring clean guitar sounds with the slow hypnotic drumming and mournful violins sound more like A Silver Mt Zion release than the NEUROSIS of yesteryear.

The result of this toning down meant that this album took longer to grow on me than the preceding ones that immediately blow the roof off the house. The rewards are more subtle and require patience. I have only started to warm up to this album lately. It has always been one of my lesser favorites of their outstanding output. One of the things i really love about NEUROSIS has been the frenetic drumming and pummeling sludgery so i had to learn how to appreciate this one on a whole different level. That i have learned how to do but despite warming up to this release i still like it less than most others. NEUROSIS have always been pioneers with their bold experimentation but here they don’t seem to really add anything new to these particular sounds, they just mix it up a bit. That is fine and dandy and it really is good for what it is but they spoiled me and i was expecting more. Luckily this was just a rest stop on the musical highway and other than on the EP “Sovereign” they would move on to new musical pastures.
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