There is a famous quote by the philosopher Friederich Nietzsche “if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you”. If this is true then the sound of the staring abyss would be the fifth album by Oakland metal band Neurosis “through silver in blood”.
There are some bands who try and be dark. The black metal genre for example is littered with blokes in corpse paint and inverted crosses, satanism for show. However “through silver in blood” is one of the darkest albums ever recorded because rather than trying to find some external darkness, Neurosis focus entirely on the inside of your own head.
WARNING: this is not an easy album to listen too. It is not something to dip in and out of. You don’t stick it on in the background and you don’t sing along to it. There isn’t a track on this that could be considered to be a “single”. In fact it’s better to view the 9 tracks of this album as one solitary body of work. As they say long and hard is the road out of hell and at a punishing 70 minutes this album is a commitment. If you commit to it and let this band move around the deepest crawl spaces of your own psyche the rewards are worth it.
So how to describe this band for the uninitiated? Neurosis started as a hardcore punk band then swiftly evolved into what they are now. Slow sludgy metal with sudden flashes of electronic and industrial sounds. It’s like being covered slowly in cold liquid lead, or being at the depth in the ocean where there is no light and the pressure is trying to crush you. It’s brutally heavy, bleak in its subject matter and ruthless in its delivery.
The trade off is the musicianship. This band are stunning. Rather than being individual musicians the band are one crushing unit. It’s not that every member doesn’t have a voice, far from it. They are just so tight that it’s almost like telepathy. While the band charge on the two guitarists/vocalists Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till trade off gut wrenching screams that add a human element to the destructive force that Neurosis are. The pacing is also amazing. There are a few small almost ambient passages that allow you to briefly surface for air before plunging straight back in. These little breaks are much needed but also gives so much weight to the heaviness when it drops back in.
Even if I have put you off this band I actively encourage you to try them. Every album is a classic and they have stuck to their guns throughout their career, following the path that means most artistically to them. They are one of the best bands not just in metal but in music. They are explorers of the darker parts of the human soul and for that they should be revered as one of the few one off bands to ever play.