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THROUGH SILVER IN BLOOD

Neurosis

Experimental/Post Metal


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UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Through Silver In Blood is the fifth studio album from post/ experimental/ sludge metal legends Neurosis. The two last studio albums from Neurosis called Souls at Zero and Enemy of the Sun have really impressed me and opened my eyes to Neurosis very unique brand of experimental metal. Slow doomy metal mixed with angry hardcore vocals and atmospheric samples and keyboards. Unconventional song structures and an overall aggressive, depressive and tense atmosphere is some of the trademarks of Neurosis on those albums. Neurosis started out as a pretty straight aggressive hardcore band, but you can already sense their willingness to experiment on their second album called The Word As Law even though that album is still basically a hardcore album. On Neurosis third album Souls at Zero we´re confronted with their experimental doomy metal style for the first time. I absolutely adore that album. Enemy of the Sun which was their fourth album is even more dark and experimental and Through Silver In Blood continues down that dark and intensely angry path. Seldom have I heard anything this intense.

You´re instantly reminded that it´s a Neurosis album you´re listening to when you notice the tribal like drumming from Jason Roeder. It´s one of the most characteristic trademarks in Neurosis sound and also a very unique feature that sets them apart from other bands in the genre ( or at least did in 1996). The vocals from Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till are aggressive hardcore shouts and they compliment each other extremely well. It´s so powerful with the high pitched and the more deep angry vocals. There are some pretty great slide guitar riffs that sounds so powerful and aggressive and even though most of the riffing is slow they are still exciting for me ( which is a bit of a mystery as I normally prefer fast metal riffing). The keyboards and samples from Noah Landis are mostly kept in the background but they mean a lot for the atmosphere of the songs. I really enjoy his effect orientated way of thinking/ playing. Dave Edwardson´s distorted bass playing also needs to be mentioned here as it brings much power into the music.

It´s almost impossible to point out the highligts on Through Silver In Blood because the whole album is one 70:32 minute long highlight. Songs like the opening title track, Eye and Locust Star are are excellent examples of Neurosis when they are most aggressive, but the album also feature tracks of a different nature. Strength of Fates takes us into post rock territory with it´s long and slow building structure and Aeon is different with it´s use of both violin and piano. All songs are slow doomy and generally very heavy though.

The production is perfect. It emphasise just the right things in the music at the right time. A very heavy and raw sound, but still sophisticated enough to hear every detail.

Some albums grap your attention and won´t let go until they´re finished with you. That´s the case with Through Silver In Blood for me. As soon as I put on Through Silver In Blood it takes control over me and I just have to surrender to the dark and angry emotions the music evoke. The album decides when I´m finished listening to it, I´m helpless to its power. A bit dramatic I know, but never the less it´s pretty much true. Enemy of the Sun and Through Silver In Blood have many things in common but even though I really find Enemy of the Sun to be an excellent album, Through Silver In Blood takes Neurosis music to a new level and because of this I can´t give Through Silver In Blood less than 5 stars. This is a perfect dark, angry, doomy and experimental metal album. It´s highly recommendable.

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Posted Friday, November 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
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.

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Posted Friday, June 04, 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.

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Posted Tuesday, January 04, 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.

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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.

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Posted Thursday, February 02, 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.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#629782)
Posted Friday, February 10, 2012 | Review Permalink

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