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Neurosis - Souls At Zero CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.29 | 65 ratings

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5 stars Souls at Zero is the third album from post metal legends Neurosis. Souls at Zero is a groundbreaking release in that particular genre and an eyeopener for me. The two first albums from Neurosis is pretty basic aggressive hardcore even though their second album The Word as Law is a bit more sophisticated than the debut. With Souls at Zero Neurosis practically invent a new genre. Itīs not the most accessible album in the world at least not for me and I must admit that itīs taken me a very long time to find the charm in Souls at Zero. At first I thought it was a good album, but a bit too repetitive and one- dimensional. There was something special about it though and I kept coming back and after listening to Souls at Zero many times I understand the legendary status this album has in post metal communities.

The music at first seemed pretty raw and primitive to me, but with time more and more details have revealed themselves to me. listen to the subtle piano in the beginning of the title track or the violin and flute section in Flight. Little progressive features that makes the heavy doomy guitar riffing go down more easy. You should also note the subtle use of keyboards in the background of many songs which gives the songs a richer more dynamic sound. The keyboards are not very dominant, they are just there and many people might not notice them at all. The music generally alternates between very heavy sections and more soft acoustic sections and the overall mood of the music is dark and depressive. The vocals which are mostly sneering hardcore shouting and occasional deeper shouting emphazise the desperation, anger and despair with a violent force. This is not music for people who are depressive. You just might kill yourself after listening to Souls at Zero. Consider this a warning.

There are still lots of hardcore influences in Neurosis music on Souls at Zero but the influence is mostly in the vocal delivery as the sometimes pretty fast paced tempo of the two first albums is nowhere to be found on Souls at Zero. This album consists solely of chrushingly heavy riffs. Sometimes Souls at Zero reminds me of Slow, Deep and Hard by Type O Negative but itīs mostly due to the heavy riffs and the occasional progressive nature of the music.

I would recommend prog heads and other curious people to listen to the song Stripped as a teaser to the album as it contains everything that is great about Neurosisīs sound on Souls at Zero which means chrushingly heavy guitars, great almost hypnotic rythms, aggressive vocals and progressive features like violin, orchestral keyboards and a short medieval choir section. Other songs worth mentioning is the opener To Crawl Under One's Skin and the doomy title track with itīs almost horror movie theme, but all songs have great parts and the atmosphere on Souls at Zero is thick with anger and despair all the way through. Neurosis never lets up and youīre in for a dark ride with this album.

The musicianship is great on Souls at Zero and even though the music is pretty primitive there is lots of nerve in every note that is played. The vocal style is something I also enjoy very much. Aggressive yet clearly distinquishable vocals. The sneering and more high register vocal is the most dominant while the deeper more low register vocal only kicks in occasionally. On the previous album The Word as Law the vocal duties were shared more evenly between Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till.

The production is very good. Itīs actually a pretty light production for such dark music and maybe thatīs why it works so well. This is exactly the kind of nineties production that I like.

This is THE album that every other release in the post metal genre is measured by. Thatīs how influential this album is and as Asphalt so truly said in his review of Souls at Zero: All other post metal bands only wish to be like Neurosis when they grow up ( Thatīs just a really funny statement Asphalt, thanks for the laugh). My personal opinion about Souls at Zero would be a big 4 star rating but I think this album deserves the full 5 stars because itīs been so immensely influential and what we are looking for here on Prog Archives is innovative music right ? This is a must hear if you like other bands in the post metal genre like Isis and Pelican but also if youīre curious to know how this genre started. This is a masterpiece album from a unique band and a quite disturbing album I might add. Beware that youīll probably have to listen to Souls at Zero many times before the charm of music reveals itself to you, but in this case patience is sure to be rewarded.

UMUR | 5/5 |


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