Friday, November 09, 2012

Neurosis: Honor Found in Decay (2012)

Me: Suitably Chastised

I haven’t meticulously researched this--I’m not that kind of nerd--but it seems to me there are a handful of bands that have probably been mentioned in every single issue of Decibel, even if it’s just a passing reference. Black Sabbath, obviously. Metallica. Again, it’s not brain surgery to figure out why. Slayer, most likely. And Neurosis, I’d wager, is in all of them too. If you put together a list of the most influential bands in metal history, it’s easy to place the Oakland pioneers in the top ten.

Yet, most of their catalog is a notable gap in my knowledge base. (I found and explored Isis instead.) I’m familiar only with Through Silver in Blood and Given to the Rising, and even those I haven’t listened to much. Since I last heard those, I really got into the dark Americana vibe they work into their music, due in no small part to Von Till’s and Kelly’s solo material. So, understand that the following statement is based on limited knowledge, and a vastly increased appreciation for an important aspect of their sound.

Honor Found in Decay is my favorite Neurosis album.

I will need to revisit the other records and expand my Neurosis collection to confirm, but this record is profoundly powerful. It’s moody, heavy, dark, beautiful, abrasive, and dynamic. In other words, everything you should expect from good post-metal. Big and meaty riffs, often intricate drums, and gruff vocals provide the brute force. All of this is great, but it’s the dynamism that really sets this apart from similar fare. It starts with the loud/quiet/loud dynamic, but they do it with mastery that makes me wonder why I ever thought that was played-out. For instance, opener “We All Rage in Gold” gets significantly heavier and louder about 2/3 of the way in. It has the dual effect of, first, making that moment in the song much more powerful, and, second, encouraging you to listen at a higher volume the whole way through.

As those of you familiar with the band already know (which I presume is most of you), the dynamics also include the work of Noah Landis, the guy who essentially plays “everything else.” And he does a fantastic job of adding extra layers of subtle texture. To me, what sounds like violin on the first couple tracks is the most notable of his contributions.

I consider Honor a big slap in my face for my ignorance. Consider me suitably chastised.

The Verdict: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy Honor Found in Decay


  1. For some reason I can't get into Neurosis at all. I have tried to listen to them several times over the years and it just does not do anything for me. It's the same with Isis and all the other bands of this style.

  2. Counselor - For one song try "locust star" off Silver in Blood or for a whole album A Sun That Never Sets.

  3. Looking forward to hearing this!

    The Neurosis records I personally know and love are "Souls at Zero" and "Enemy of the Sun." I think they came out consecutively in the early 90's and they rule. Highly recommended.