Album:Honor Found in Decay
Review date: Oct. 29, 2012
[this is from Dusted Magazine…and here is the link to the original piece]
‘Dear readers who have paid proper attention to the heavier or metal neighborhoods of the musical underground: Unless you have a solid hour to spend in a fugue state comprised entirely of awe, do not stop to ponder exactly how influential and important Neurosis has been to heavy music over the past two decades. Let’s take a cursory look at some of the stops on the road to blowing that mind:
- That strain of mid-1990s hardcore that figured out how to be really heavy AND really good (see His Hero is Gone for the sterling example) without all the thuggish, roid-rage collateral damage that had cursed so much of the metal and hardcore liaison for years? Neurosis had a whole lot to do with that one.
- The heavy and heavy-on-mood instrumental mainstays like Mogwai, Mono, Pelican, Godspeed! You Black Emperor or any “post-rock” band that wasn’t afraid to bare some teeth? The Neurosis footprint is massive in that corner, too.
- It’s best to not even get started with the whole “post-metal” thing, and probably best to not mention that term within 100 feet of a Neurosis member, come to think of it.
- The regionally-correct yet sonically-misused “Southern Metal” tag, bandied about (and made the subject of a documentary) in reference to greats like Kylesa, Sourvein, EYEHATEGOD, Black Tusk, Mastodon, Crowbar and a whole lot more? There’s more Neurosis in the bloodstreams than there is whisky, odds would have it.
Since locking into something truly special in the early-to-mid-’90s, Neurosis have made the lumbering, towering riff-pummel feel fresh and exhilarating several times, with 2007’s Given to the Rising marking the last retooling of what they invented in the first place. Honor Found in Decay, the band’s 11th or so studio album, is an organic, humanizing refinement of said retooling, one that is very subtle yet undoubtedly informed by guitarist Steve Von Till and bassist Scott Kelly’s forays into the fandom and unadorned tribute exercises regarding the late Townes Van Zandt (not to mention each members’ acoustic solo albums released during the last decade). And, yes, there are the occasional sounds of harmonica and violin on Honor…, but there’s also “Bleed the Pigs.” The second half of this relatively succinct album is all exercises in epic-ness; most of these tracks follow the Neurosis formula of quietly coming out of the gate and assuming a slow-burn build, not entirely unlike early-Swans.
All in all, this isn’t Neurosis submitting a patent for anything, especially given the realm of their previous accomplishments, but it is a fine record by one of heavy music’s vital individualists, and definitely superior to the majority of imitators spawned since Y2K.’
By Andrew Earles
These pics showcase two of the things that have defined the past seven days: Camping with family and my latest plunge re: the front yard. The latter, which remains a work in progress, included the planting of a Japanese Maple, the transformation of yard into flower/shrub/tree bed and a brand new lawn mower. The former took place at Chickasaw State Park, our favored camping destination, and included some interesting stuff in the sky, which of course, is not part of this post.
Follow that link or read what I’ve pasted below…or move on to more interesting fare…
Label: Handmade Birds
Review date: Sep. 27, 2012
Pinkish Black’s self-titled debut LP comes courtesy of Texas’s Handmade Birds, a label helmed by R. Loren of Pyramids, the Denton five-piece that happens to be one of the more inventively-listenable aural entities in heavy music/metal’s left field. Like Pyramids, Pinkish Black has no immediate or even eventual sonic forefathers. And yet it manages to feel at home in the Handmade Birds roster (His Name Is Alive, Blut Aus Nord, Black Boned Angel and Celestial to name a few) by expertly occupying the darker side of the label’s light-and-dark balance.
Pinkish Black deliver a modern update of the blurry boundary between the wailing-wall of goth-rock drama and the darker realms explored by early-1980s post-punk, bringing to mind not what Christian Death or The Birthday Party or .45 Grave actually sound like, but how we all honestly wishedthey sounded at the end of the day. There are sporadic flirtations with doom-metal and the mid-’90s post-hardcore foray into rough keyboard treatment (The VSS), but mostly this is unlike anything past or present. Furthermore, this is only two people, and even more remarkable is that one of those people commands a keyboard while the other sits behind a drum kit. That pretty much goes against the rules of heavy unless the practitioners in question are truly adept at what they do, and these two are just that.
While a good portion of this record plods along mid-tempo or slower, Side B opener “Tell Her I’m Dead” explodes midway through with an almost free-form onslaught — a hyperblast all-instruments-go! freakout of a most welcome nature. Album closer “Against the Door” has the keyboard doing double-duty, providing furry sheets of thick sound while acting as an ultra low-end bass for the track’s rhythmic feel of chasing someone to the death. Four out of these seven tracks lock into a good and catchy groove, be it by way of vocal hook or rhythmic repetition, but this is not a pop exercise nor does it conjure the p-word in the least. This is dark stuff that rocks when it wants to rock, and that’s approximately 60 to 70 percent of the time. Pinkish Black achieve a heaviness far beyond what their instrumental or two-man means should allow, and this should appeal to those whose tastes spread across the entire landscape of heavy.
By Andrew Earles
How about some photos? No curator-culture laziness here, as all of these were taken by either Beth or myself. Hell is not other people. Hell is mediocrity. If this ends up being the final resting place for a reviewed record, it’s safe to assume a comfortable fit under the banner of the big ‘M’….
And for one of the oldest jokes in my laugh-lexicon…