Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 15/4
Fires Within Fires
Written by: MIN on 17/03/2017 10:45:10
Disclaimer: I have not heard every album that Neurosis has ever made. However, I believe that I’ve explored enough of their previous material to give this review a qualified go despite not being an expert on the band. Before even listening to “Fires Within Fires”, Neurosis’ eleventh studio album, I could tell from the track list that this was going to be a lot easier to digest than the band’s previous opuses, such as the (impressive) “Through Silver in Blood”, “The Eye of Every Storm”, et cetera, due to its shorter duration of only 40 minutes. Throughout their career, Neurosis have covered all of the important aspects of a genre that they practically created on their own; from smooth, mesmerizing droning over early, sludgy hardcore battering and unto song-structures so heavy that you think your mind might implode. In short, Neurosis is best described as a slumbering volcano that’s ready to erupt at any second — and sometimes, it does.
“Fires Within Fires” take many of the band’s different sounds and blends them into single entities, which either have drastic changes in sound or flow nicely from point A to point B. Album-closer “Reach”, for instance, kicks off with some psychedelic guitar effects that initiate the somber, hypnotizing tempo that the band flows into, aided by Scott Kelly’s soft vocals that are just as soothing as the music itself. The second half of the song is then led by a more melodic guitar, which suddenly launches into a powerful riff and works as a catalyst for Kelly to gruff up his vocal approach and finish off the album in a more heavy manner than what the song initially suggested.
Album-opener “Bending Light”, however, feels more impulsive and undergoes several fast transitions. From heavy riffs over to ambient drones, the song feels more compulsive and thus much more entertaining, and when Scott Kelly suddenly bellows ”Peeling the skin away // reveals the heart” repeatedly, you know that the band is in their right element. Because despite the beauty of Neurosis’ quieter material on “Fires Within Fires”, the band definitely works best when able to take the listener aback — when you really feel like being pushed and shoved into the rails; when it feels like you’re in the passenger seat of a car that suddenly hits the breaks and your shoulder is forcefully thrust against the seat belt. But despite these moments of grandeur, “Fires Within Fires” never really manages to amaze me. It’s constantly well-executed by every member of the band, and it’s too short to become tedious, but it feels a bit like Neurosis just going through the motions.
The record is shorter, the tracks are actually digestible and even the slow songs have tempo-changes that pick up the pace more often than usual, but somehow the record still sounds — dare I say it — a little too safe and predictable. Certainly, Neurosis have created yet another great album, but it just doesn’t feel quite as thrilling or mesmerizing as some of their previous material. “Fires Within Fires” is a good album to start with if you’re new to Neurosis discography, as it covers much of the ground they’ve tread. But if you want the real goods, I’d suggest that you delve a little deeper than this, because the band’s true fires burn so much brighter beneath the scorched surface.
Download: Bending Light, A Shadow Memory
For the fans of: Isis, Yob, Cult of Luna, Pelican
Release date 23.09.2016