“Given to the Rising”
As proven on 2004's “The Eye of Every Storm,” Bay Area metal pioneers Neurosis aren’t just crushing monoliths anymore.
However, the follow-up to that, “Given to the Rising,” is something of a return to form. It’s more direct and urgent than their previous album, but still carries the mottled mind-set they started forging.
Make no mistake. Neurosis’ trademark march-to-the-gallows stomp is still omnipresent, courtesy of drummer Jason Roeder. It’s just the hues and tones over top of it that have evolved — into something even more strangely celestial and sinister than anything they’ve ever done before. As foreboding as Neurosis’ sound has long been, they made it seem like second nature to lock into these hypnotically leviathan grooves that made you look forward to the endtimes. They can still do that, and their addition of psychedelic noise seems a natural progression.
The title track commences right out of the gate, perhaps the quickest start since the band transformed itself into the dirgey shaman that’s known and respected by so many. It leaves a lot of room for the gorgeously scarred music and abrasive elements that were heretofore alien to their classic sound.
That trend is repeated throughout, from the darkened, yawning siege of “Fear and Sickness” that disintegrates into harsh detrition to the abyssal attack of “Water is Not Enough” that ends in eerie, spectral tones. The faster tempo of “To the Wind” harkens back to their progressive punk days. The steely harmonics and space-travel dissonance of “Hidden Faces” is reminiscent of their landmark release “Through Silver in Blood.” And just to show they haven’t lost their touch, there’s the apocalyptic urgency of “Distill (Watching the Swarm)” and its swallowing aftermath that’s never been done better.
“Given to the Rising” is Neurosis’ most varied and distinct work yet, combining the best of both their worlds. But to longtime fans, the important aspect to know is these vets can still mesmerize by building aural works of art that transcend both beauty and brutality.