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THROUGH SILVER IN BLOOD

Neurosis

Experimental/Post Metal


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UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Through Silver In Blood" is the 5th full-length studio album by US, California based sludge/Post-metal act Neurosis. The album was released through Relapse Records in April 1996. It´s the successor to "Enemy Of The Sun" from 1993 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as keyboard player Simon McIlroy has been replaced by Noah Landis. "Through Silver In Blood" was recorded in December 1995 with producer Billy Anderson. It was a rather painful labour as some band members had personal issues at the time with drug addiction, homelessness, and depression. "Through Silver In Blood" was preceded by its Tribes of Neurot (Neurosis experimental ambient/noise side-project) companion album "Silver Blood Transmission (1995)".

Stylistically the material on "Through Silver In Blood" builds on the experimental and atmospheric sludge/post-metal of "Enemy Of The Sun" (1993). It´s a harsh, bleak, and heavy album reeking of depression, decay, and frustration. The guitar riffs are slow and doomy, but they are still aggressive and hard-edged in nature, showing that the band have not completely forgotten their hardcore roots (there´s an unhinged "close to feedback" sound to them, which suits the music well). The drumming is almost tribal styled, with drummer Jason Roeder playing rhythmic drum patterns rather than the more usual heavy slow drumming of many doom related releases. The vocals are raw and aggressive shouting alternating between an aggressive mid-range vocal style and a lower end slightly more gruff vocal style (not growling though). Landis builds atmosphere with his keyboards and samples, and the band even use bagpipes and violin/cello on a couple of tracks.

The tracks often build from simple mellow beginnings to loud and raw climaxes, but just as often alternate between the styles, and the material are overall quite adventurous and boundary pushing. Early Swans is definitely an influence (I hear influences from artists like Killing Joke and Melvins here too), but Neurosis are generally a much heavier beast. "Through Silver In Blood" features a heavy, detailed, and well sounding production job, which suits the material perfectly, and upon conclusion it´s a high quality release in its genre. It´s also a groundbreaking release, which has influenced many artists since. The combination of doomy hardcore infused riffs, the aggressive vocals, the tribal drumming, and the bleak atmospheric keyboards and samples, ultimately make for a rather unique listen.

It´s not an easy listen and the slow building repetitive nature of the tracks is probably an aquired taste, but that element is used to support and build the sombre oppressive atmosphere of the album, and it´s a key ingredient of the band´s sound. Personally I think Neurosis take it a bit too far and drag the songs out too much on "Strength of Fates", "Aeon", and on "Enclosure in Flame" (which is basically the last 30 minutes of the album), but again it´s probably an aquired taste if you find those tracks too slow building and uneventful, or if you find them purposedly building dark and brooding atmosphere. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Report this review (#189218)
Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After continuously boring you with references to Neurosis in all my Isis and Cult Of Luna reviews, it's about time I get on with my reviews for this most original force of colossal brutality.

Neurosis is not the kind of band that is likely to engage much interest from progressive rock fans, no surprise given their harsh and brutally dissonant sound. But the fact that I'm only the second soul to pop in for a review of this particular masterpiece is still quite surprising.

Through Silver In Blood brings out the best of all things Neurosis had been experimenting with. Tribal beats start pounding and building up with layers of electronic sounds and guitars, at 3 minutes, a heavy bass groove gets this monster rolling and it doesn't let down anymore. As in most sludge-core-whatever bands, the vocals might be the hardest bit to get into. Neurosis has the advantage of featuring two skilled shouters, one with those typical dry hard core shouts and another with a deeper grunting style. Luckily none of them tries to sing during the harsh tracks, an attempt at accessibility that would diminish the impact of this album.

Neurosis are masters at dynamics. Their sound is very rich in texture, as they employ lots of sampling and sound effects. It ties them to the bands they got their inspiration from. Most obviously that is Swans of course, whose trademark is all over the place here, particularly on the hardest hitting tracks like Eye, Purify or Locust Star. Another ground-breaking industrial band that comes to mind is Foetus. The closing Enclosure in Flame has some traits of them.

Neurosis add brutal doses of doom metal to that industrial sound, as if things weren't dense enough yet. No, easy digestible music is not Neurosis' trade. Luckily there's some room to breathe left and right, as in the opening minute of Purify.

Neurosis were one of the biggest creative forces of the 90's, blending very diverse influences into a steaming melting pot that would spew a whole generation of copy-cats. Some of those produced excellent albums as well but none ever matched the fire and inspiration of this masterpiece. Approach with utmost care, this may hurt your ears and crush everything inbetween to pulp.

Report this review (#284834)
Posted Friday, June 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
FruMp
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This monolithic slab of molten post-metal is one of the cornerstones of the genre.

The historical importance and influence of this album is immense. Whenever I'm talking about post-metal with someone new to the concept, the two albums I single out are Through Silver in Blood by Neurosis and Panopticon by Isis. The former pioneered the genre and the latter defined it.

Peripheral considerations impact and context aside this is simply an epic, crushing and depressing album. The title track opener is a great snapshot of the bigger picture, repetitive commanding tribal drumming with long heavy riffs and desperate vocals. Doom metal is an obvious reference point but there is a lot more to TSiB in terms of atmospherics and structure, the path is often paved with massive building crescendos and eerie samples and sound effects that set it apart from doom and progress it further than sludge.

The greatness of this album isn't in its influence or revolutionary approach or any single part. It is the unifying greatness of the album that elevates it above the rest. This is not the kind of album you can pick and choose songs from, you really need to set aside a good 70 odd minutes and listen to the whole thing through to be taken on a post-apocalyptic ride of human despair as it was intended. This album has a high emotional impact and if you let it you will easily get sucked in to the misanthropic vortex and come out feeling pretty gloomy by the end.

Through Silver in Blood remains one of the great artistic statements of the relatively new post and sludge metal genres and continues to serve as both a guide and a benchmark for other bands who aspire to such heights.

Report this review (#372990)
Posted Tuesday, January 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 10/10

"Through Silver In Blood" can easily be defined as the greatest Sludge Metal album ever released.

I've thought of Neurosis as a band of the critics, not of the public. This band seems to be praised to death by the first, but they tend to be overlooked by the latter, or simply not as appreciated. People who like any type of metal that is experimental in any way are pretty young, that weren't around or were not aware of liking it back in 1996, so a lot of people listen to "Through Silver In Blood" only after discovering that they love the genre, so when they listen to this, they might think that there's nothing new to it. But, in 1996, this was revolutionary, and today we find it a lot less so because of its major influence. Thus it's historical importance for some might precede the music itself. But doing so would be a huge mistake.

Not everybody is comfortable with the existence of a genre such as "post-metal" ( I must admit I'm one of these), and rather define this as Sludge Metal, or even more precisely Atmospheric Sludge Metal. Lately I've seen this term use in a way that maybe wasn't what I was expecting: bands like Blindead or Ghost Brigade, to name two, have a lot of cleanness to their sound and of course a lot of repetition. As far as Neurosis is concerned, Atmospheric Sludge Metal is everything but clean. As a matter of fact, this album is one of the most face- melting, ground shaking records ever recorded. The heavy, loud parts are full of layers, including some reverb, which very successfully make the sound huge. The tribal drums give a pretty effective apocalyptic feel too. "Through Silver In Blood" has a lot of differences from their previous efforts, it is a lot more progressive and mature in its nature, and the most well done yet. Only a few elements, like the vocal style, persist, but even these have changed a bit, it almost feels like it plays a second role to the music. But things are so much different now, it almost feels like this is a completely new band from the one that recorded "Enemy of The Sun" only three years earlier. The progressiveness in Neurosis's masterpiece is highlighted with a genius use of sampling, unusual instrumentation (piano, bagpipes), strange metallic sounds and loops here and there, some nice, atmospheric moods that usually start a piece. From these moments, most of the times there is a phenomenon for which Neurosis is especially famous for: building, and climax. These songs start very slow, and have a beautiful crescendo that culminates with some of the most mind-blowing sound textures you'll ever hear, to then ease down a little bit, and perhaps start another build up. A pattern that isn't always respected (thank God), since each song is unique in its own way.

Listening to "Silver In Blood" can almost be considered a visceral experience, its like finding yourself in the middle of the ocean in the dark of night, the water is at first calm but it slowly starts to be more agitated, until a huge seaquake creates these enormous waves that go right at you, and your struggling to survive on your little raft. When you listen to this, everything around you seems to be melting, or that maybe an earthquake is taking place. There are many ways, as you can see, to describe this monster. The structure of the album is consistent, and the flow of the songs is just perfect.

The opening title track is a fantastic example of Neurosis new style, because of the layered sound, the samples, and the build-up. "Purify" is another long, perfect track, that has many parts, but all of them are majestically connected, the use of sampled loops here is perfect, and the surprising bagpipes at the end of the song give an unexpected touch of beauty. "Aeon" is another flawless Neurosis track, sounding, a bit different from the other two songs but still amazing. "Enclosure In Flame" is a very unusual way to finish an album; for ten minutes you listen carefully, thinking that the song will explode, but, even if it gets really close to doing so, there never really is a complete build up. "Strength Of Fates" has probably the most astonishing build up ever; from almost unperceivable sounds they arrive to a massive wall of sound, that kicks in at around seven minutes, and goes on for the remaining two minutes. The shorter songs are amazing as well; "Locust Star" has become a classic song for Sludge Metal", and "Eye", even though underrated, blows me away every time with its massively thick sound. Even the two interludes, that are basically puzzles of samples, are very well done, and their job perfectly.

I literally have no complaints about "Through Silver In Blood". This is easily my favorite Sludge Metal record ever, and one of my favorite album of all time. If you're into metal in general, this album is absolutely essential.

Report this review (#525474)
Posted Saturday, September 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A compelling album on which Neurosis set out the boundaries of what would later become known as post-metal, fusing their doomy sludge metal riffs and slow, oozing song structures with sonic techniques more reminiscent of post-rock bands such as Godspeed You Black Emperor! or A Silver Mt. Zion - especially when it comes to the use of sampling on the album, which ranges from selecting thematically appropriate quotes to accompany the music to creating soundscapes more reminiscent of ambient industrial music to embellish the background. An impressive example of how a metal band can take on substantial non-metal influences and, if anything, end up even heavier for it.
Report this review (#625286)
Posted Thursday, February 2, 2012 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of the most respected metal albums on this site (and probably deserves your respect) considering that prog isn't the first thing to spark when I hear anything from it. Progressive? Absolutely considering all of the post-metal to follow, Neurosis seemed to blaze the trail for most of those acts through this work.

One could call the music of THROUGH THE SILVER AND BLOOD sludge metal rather easily, and it fits considering that most of the songs aren't high octane, have an incredible amount of thickness to them and any changes of song structure are few and far between. If we take the opening title track as an example, Neurosis spend a good amount of time simply setting up the main riff, mostly working with the thickness of the sound as well as the tension. If there is anything that Neurosis do fantastically, it's establishing perfect tension even if the riff they're currently on does not change a lick. It's that anticipation of whether the band will explode musically is what make the long tracks so gripping.

As for the vocals, any chance at normal singing is reserved for the beginning of ''Strength of Fates'' (the common source of the albums' sound exceptions); the vocals are either halfway death grunting or full-blown hardcore punk-ish screams. There is a bit of murmured singing in the beginning of the aforementioned ''Strength of Fates'', but the vocals fit the music well without going into ridiculous pretention territory. They can give you a migraine only if you aren't fully prepared for the onslaught.

To summarize the rest of the album, it's all about the tension. It's heavy, aggressive and booming only when it needs to be, and much of the buildup to this heaviness on the longer sounds implement pianos and softer tones to bother the atmosphere. You know that something loud is coming even if it's just a subtle guitar lick; that's the genius other reviewers have found in this gem and to a certain degree, I buy into that.

THROUGH THE SILVER AND BLOOD is a whole 70+ minutes of mood-setting and tension buildup disguised as a collection of 7 songs. I am not counting the two transition pieces as songs, nor do I count them into my rating this time since they aren't too numerous. This thing is so different from the prog metal you're used to that it's worth the effort to investigate the hype.

Report this review (#629782)
Posted Friday, February 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars NEUROSIS continues their steak of innovative metal music on their 5th studio album THROUGH SILVER IN BLOOD. They boldly continue their experimental path by upping some of their traits but also retain others. For example, they still use a little bit of the sampling utilized on the previous album but don't overdo it. Where they excel on this most popular album of their entire discography is in the delivery of the most intense sludgy metal riffs ever created with some intense tribal drumming patterns that are unlike anything metal at this point had incorporated into its mix. In fact some of the drumming reminds me of electronic music mostly associated with psytrance, psybient and other non-metal genres but NEUROSIS freely borrows here and there and successfully fuses it all with some of the most wicked sludge riffing ever! They also master the art of slow hypnotic atmospheric construction. Slow acoustic passages build up to intense aggressive punk-inspired shouted ragefests.

This is a perfectly balanced album that delivers all the right ingredients in the proper proportions. An epic affair if I do say. Although the main instruments include the usual metal suspects such as guitar, bass, keyboards and drums, there is also the occasional appearance of bagpipes, cello and violin. This is a post-metal masterpiece that flows brilliantly from beginning to end. Another one of those albums that rubbed me the right way upon first listen but consistently grows on me more every time I listen to it. Once again NEUROSIS doesn't rest on their laurels. They know exactly how to evolve from one album to the next taking risks by adding new elements but never deviating so far from their core sound as to totally alienate any dedicated followers. With a sound so successful I am thankful that they have chosen to retain a core sound as their template because it is a successful one that deserves a lot of room for exploration.

Report this review (#1280804)
Posted Sunday, September 21, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Through silver in blood is one of the greatest and most influential and genre defining album of post-metal. The album is long, with it being a little over seventy minutes and there only being nine songs. The album is a mix of industrial music, sludge metal, and atmospheric music, which is essentially the basis for which post-metal was built upon. The heavy drop A riffs are slow and doomy and the two vocalists screech and growl throughout the length of the album. Their are ambient-like atmospheric parts that serve as a nice break from the chaos that the album is. Neurosis was a very influential band for post-metal bands and sludge/doom metal bands alike, and bands that played both styles. Through silver in blood is a masterpiece of not only sludge, doom and post-metal, it is a masterpiece of metal music as a whole. This album can serve as a great start for someone who is getting into post-metal or Neurosis as a band. The album is essential listening for the metal music fan.
Report this review (#2447602)
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2020 | Review Permalink

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