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Neurosis - A Sun That Never Sets CD (album) cover



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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A Sun That Never Sets is the seventh studio album from experimental/ post metal act Neurosis. Itīs a quite different album compared to their earlier releases and my first listens were not succesful. The inclusion of more melody and less heavy sections ( itīs still a very heavy album, but compared with earlier releases itīs more varied and the music has far more mellow sections) didnīt exactly tickle my treat and itīs only after several listens that Iīve surrendered and realised that Neurosis is still Neurosis even though they have mellowed out a bit. Itīs important to note that they have not sold out if you like that expression. Theyīve changed their style because they felt a need to do it. Not to make more money ( well everybody likes money, but itīs not the primary reason IMO).

The music is still crushingly heavy experimental metal but A Sun That Never Sets incorporates clean vocals into Neurosis sound which was an exception on earlier releases. There are still harsh hardcore vocals too though which makes this album the most varied release from the band out of the first seven albums. When I heard the clean vocals come in on The Tide I instantly had this thought: When did Nick Cave become the new vocalist in Neurosis? Well after repeated listens I have a more nuanced view on the vocals, which do remind me of Nick Cave at times, but ultimately sound very different from his style. There are some really great songs on the album in The Tide, From The Hill, A Sun That Never Sets and the great Falling Unknown. From Where Its Roots Run is a chanting kind of song that divides the album in two. Unfortunately Iīm not as happy about the second part of the album as I am about the first. Itīs as if Neurosis take in a lot of mellower post rock tendencies on the last songs on the album and even though this is not bad at all, I like Neurosis better when theyīre heavy.

The musicianship is as always excellent. No fast runs or shredding of course but a lot of emphasis on anger and melancholic emotion. Neurosis actually emphasise melancholy more than anger on A Sun That Never Sets.

The production is excellent. A bit warmer than usual, but very well crafted and crushingly heavy.

A Sun That Never Sets marks a shift in sound for Neurosis and even though my favorite period from the band is probably their most heavy and aggressive period ( Souls at Zero to Times of Grace) I do welcome this softer change in sound ( after all what is a progressive act if they donīt progress?)and I canīt wait to hear the last albums from the band that I have in backlog. 4 stars is well deserved and I fully understand those who feel that A Sun That Never Sets is a masterpiece.

Report this review (#196840)
Posted Friday, January 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
4 stars Neurosis is a band with a distinctive sound driven by sludgy guitars and aggresive screaming vocals while still maintaining atmospheric. They are often regarded as the pioneers of post- metal and have influenced many major bands in that genre, like Isis and Pelican. The band's seventh full length studio album, A Sun That Never Sets, shows the band taking a more avant- garde and experimental direction than before.

The album features very frequent softer and atmospheric parts, making the album very atmospheric. The songs often progress, starting out with clean guitar playing and slowly moving towards sludgy riffs and fierce screams. Despite the low tempos that the sludgy riffs are played in, they rarely fail to sound powerful, fierce and rough. Every now and then the typical instruments are accompanied by violin or something that sounds like a bagpipe. This proves to work out really well and helps to make the album more diverse in sound. Apart from the album having a very fine overall atmosphere, most of the individual pieces are able to stand on their own legs perfectly as well. The first half of the album clearly features more heavy outbursts than the music after the exotic piece "From Where Its Roots Run", serving as some kind of turning point in the album's flow. The sound of the music after this interlude is less fierce and aggresive, though still very angst laden. The album knows several highlights, like "From The Hill" with its bagpipes; the title track with its experimental tendencies; the epic finale of "Falling Unknown; and "Stones From the Sky", probably being my favorite track of the album. I personally don't think this album really has any weak tracks, though some are significantly less outstanding than others.

A Sun That Never Sets is a great album, though not what I would call a masterpiece. Lasting almost 70 minutes, it tends to drag a bit when listening to the entire album. Still, the album doesn't lack roughness, aggresion and slow, sludgy riffs. Therefore, I feel the album is worth four stars, being an excellent album but no masterpiece.

Report this review (#280486)
Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars 8/10

"A Sun That Never Sets" is the huge, slow-moving guardian of the endless fire sparks that keep alive the distant skies of the darkest heaven.

With "A Sun That Never Sets" Neurosis start to go on a slightly different path than the one of their second period (from "Soul At Zero" to "Times Of Grace"), reaching to a third period that will end with the last album "Given To The Rising". Maybe some die-hard fans of "Through Silver In Blood" will get a little turned off by this 2001 release, and even more with "The Eye Of Every Storm" in 2004, but in truth ASTNS is one of the greatest releases of this legendary band.

The reason this album could turn off fans is because it's simply more experimental, more calm and atmospheric, and the sludgier moments are put a little aside. Sampling is still present, but they got a lot weirder sounding, and also the more electronic sounds are much more well done than their previous albums. Here Neurosis almost sounds like a prog band, even though they've always shown plenty of influences of such kind. In some moments the music gets even a little orchestral ( Times Of Grace had some moments such as these though), so with all these characteristics you can clearly see it's a somewhat unusual Neurosis album.

While "Times Of Grace" and "Silver In Blood" felt like in-your-face, enormous beasts, " Sun That Never Sets" is the huge, slow-moving guardian of the endless fire sparks, that keep alive the distant skies of the darkest heaven you can imagine . It's an alarmed album, that seems like it's always tense and looking for something, and when it does see something, a doomy riff will explode and again melt your face like Neurosis usually does.

The unusualness of the album is clear from the starting notes of "Tide"; when ever has Neurosis started an LP in such a calm, mysterious way? I loved the fact that "A Sun That Never Sets" begins like this, ), so disturbingly quiet ( even though this track does start after the intro, that gives in my opinion a lot of hype for the following piece). Eventually the song explodes into a nice sludgy riff, that would give a smile to every die-hard fan. The album has no low points, all the songs go from good to great; "From The Hill" is the follow up to "Tide", an interesting song with an interesting structure, and some great riffs here and there. The title track has one of the coolest effects Neurosis has ever come up with, it really gives an eerie atmosphere to the track. Other highlights are "Crawl Back In", a somewhat tenser, more mysterious and calmer song, and the final near ten minute epic "Stones From The Sky", a perfect ending to this album, with a dramatic, epic tone to it. "Falling Unknown" seems to be highly regarded also; one of the band's longest songs (clocks around thirteen minutes), it is majestically structured, mainly in two parts, both of these have outstanding build-ups that culminate in outstanding bursts. The shamanic "From Where It's Roots Run" and the constantly vigilant "Watchtower" are also really good pieces that have to be mentioned.

This seventh effort for Neurosis is one of the best examples of Atmospheric Sludge Metal, it has a perfect balance between the calm and the aggressive. An album recommendable to any metal fan, a great listen that if you're a fan of such music you'll very most likely love.

Report this review (#539800)
Posted Saturday, October 1, 2011 | Review Permalink

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