No band rules the low end quite like Neurosis. Whether they’re practicing a more laid-back, post-rock influenced approach like on The Eye Of Every Storm, or beating listener’s brains in as on Times of Grace, this group of sludgy troubadours has been on the march for around 25 years and they show no signs of slowing down. Like the world’s biggest bulldozer, Neurosis crushes all in their path in a relentless, slothy assault. Nothing is spared; nothing is saved; nothing can survive the endless trudge forward of Steve Von Till’s aural war machine.
Through riff after riff, the engines slowly burn, chugging along through valleys of ambience and finding their way over mountains of lethargic chaos. It’s hard to really emphasize just how big the sound of Neurosis is: it’s something that one must just experience for themselves. There’s nothing else quite like them, but their sound, once dissected and examined, can definitely be traced back to various components. And it’s these components we examined to bring you a list of bands that are easily recommendable to Neurosis, for one reason or the next. Proudly, Heavy Blog Is Heavy presents: For Fans Of: Neurosis.
Look, I hate crust punks just as much as the next guy. Often times they smell weird, spill their beer on me at shows, then somehow manage to ask me for spare change for bus/cab fair while I stare directly at the new merch they just bought tucked under their arm. But, if there is one thing to be said for crust punks, it is that they make some undeniably wonderful, extreme music, often helping to define trends within the world of extreme music. Such is the case with Nux Vomica, who formerly made up most of the band Wake Up On Fire, and, during their tragically short career, churned out some of the most absolutely mind blowing records ever heard. While they may not fit exactly into the Neurosis style, the influence is undeniable, as Nux Vomica weaves sludgy, atmospheric sections flawlessly between frantic blasts of blackened crust punk so vile that even Ram Lord would be jealous. Add to that some always interestingly used melo death and thrash riffs, and bam, you have a 10 minute long song by none other than Nux Vomica that will completely captivate you start to finish. It’s shame these guys decided to call it quits because, if their Relapse debut and last full length was any indication, the only direction they were headed was up, and would have undeniably become a staple band in the world of extreme music if they had only decided to stick it out.
Cederstrom is not exactly what you’d call a “well-known” project (less than 110 likes on their facebook page), which is honestly a tragedy. The one-man band of Gabriel Wheeler, it combines drone metal, sludge, and ambient components into a grim cacophony that’s thicker than molasses in January. The sheer amount of atmosphere here is what most smacks of Neurosis: both bands have a similar approach, favoring long, drowned-out, minimal compositions that come to a climax, quiet down, and then aggregate even more silt following them to explode once more into a frenzy of noise. Frantic bursts of sound are bookended by long valleys of buildup, and then the pattern repeats once more.
Imagine a drawn out, slower version of a Neurosis album: that’s what Cederstrom’s Of Life And Death I is, the even more minimalist version of the post-sludge pioneers. Across the album’s four tracks, there’s a subtly huge monster building here that explodes violently and seems to phase out. It’s a beautiful piece of work, worthy of the attention of any post-metal fan.
While post-metal is often rife with the aural manifestation of pain, it is incredibly taxing for a band – of any genre, for that matter – to experience that emotion in the actual loss of someone who helped to channel their musical voices. After the loss of their vocalist Vadim Apanasovich, the remaining members of Belarusian based Anna Coralie were faced with the tragedy and pain that their music often conveys. Though they decided to retire the Anna Coralie name due to Apanasovich’s passing, their final album Drama is a more than worthy final impact for him to have left in his lifetime. With influences from post hardcore and ambient as well as a hefty helping of sludge in their post metal mixture, Anna Coralie lay their emotions before them as frankly and nude as possible, unafraid of challenging the listener to feel the exact same sense of being emotionally consumed. Apanasovich’s vocal delivery is varied and tortured, assuming in tying everything together into one perversely wrapped package. Drama is not only for fans of Neurosis and post metal, but for metal listeners who want to be challenged with immense sonic catharsis.
While it is certainly tragic that we probably won’t ever hear new music from the legendary bands Isis and Botch ever again, getting a new project involving Aaron Turner and Brian Cook is almost better. Their latest musical explorations, put under the cryptic name Sumac, show right away that this band are masters of their craft. Rounded out by drummer Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists), Sumac’s 2015 debut The Deal is one of the best pieces of work in any of the member’s respective catalogs. Combining the apocalyptic, ugly and doom-laden atmospheres of Neurosis with a healthy dose of tripped-out experimentation, dense songwriting and even forays into mathematical riff assaults, this album has it all. What makes things even more impressive is knowing that the band didn’t even form until last year, showing their instant chemistry as musicians of the highest calibre. If you’re looking for the best new face in challenging and unbelievably intense post-metal, you’ve got it right here.
I had a number of bands that I was itching to write about for this entry, but none of them deserve the recognition that has been unjustly denied Mouth of the Architect. Peddling in the most depressing, somber and melancholic post-metal around, these guys not only have a history of excellence but also of constant change, growth and insight. While they enjoy quite and extensive back-catalogue, their latest release is by far their best. Quietly is one of those albums that you find carrying with you along the way, silently reinstating itself into your rotation from time to time.
This is mostly due to how refreshing, intense and well thought it is. It contains touching, intimate passages as well as back breaking, throat burning tracks, echoing back to that addictive blend of heavy and light that Neurosis are best known for. Other influences include Pelican, with long, drawn out instrumental passages often lending the flesh and tone to this album. I once stumbled across a YouTube comment that said that these guys paint not with light, but with darkness and I have never read a truer thing since. In the silent moments between the avalanche, in the absence of constant sound and aggression, Mouth of the Architect tread the path that Neurosis long ago set.