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SOULS AT ZERO

Neurosis

Experimental/Post Metal


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Neurosis Souls At Zero album cover
4.31 | 49 ratings | 7 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music


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Studio Album, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. To Crawl Under One's Skin 7:51
2. Souls At Zero 9:18
3. Zero 1:41
4. Flight 4:07
5. The Web 4:55
6. Sterile Vision 6:20
7. A Chronology For Survival 9:34
8. Stripped 8:01
9. Takeahnase 7:56
10. Empty 1:36

Total time: 61:20

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

Scott Kelly / guitars, vocals
Steve Von Till / guitars, vocals
Dave Edwardson / bass
Simon McIlroy / keyboards
Jason Roeder / drums

Releases information

Alt. Tentacles

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Buy NEUROSIS Souls At Zero Music


Souls at ZeroSouls at Zero
Extra tracks
Neurot Recordings 1999
Audio CD$17.28
$9.98 (used)
Souls at Zero 2xLP Reissue (Grey)Souls at Zero 2xLP Reissue (Grey)
Relapse Records
Vinyl$99.99
Souls at ZeroSouls at Zero
Import
3d 2000
Audio CD$24.09 (used)
Souls At Zero/Enemy Of The SunSouls At Zero/Enemy Of The Sun
Extra tracks · Import
2000
Audio CD$15.99
$14.55 (used)


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NEUROSIS Souls At Zero ratings distribution


4.31
(49 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
33%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
39%
Good, but non-essential (16%)
16%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

NEUROSIS Souls At Zero reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#175416) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 26, 2008

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars Neurosis third album is a recent discovery for me. I had always skipped it because of my disappointment with the first couple of anonymous thrash-hardcore albums that preceded it. Big was my surprise to find how much Neurosis had come into their own on this release. Even though it is much faster-paced and livelier then later albums, Souls At Zero bears the clear Neurosis trademark all over it: insane heaviness, bursts of aggression, sonic and formal experimentations, and tons of attitude!

There's actually little 'classic' metal in this music. An occasional gritty thrash metal or heavy doom riff aside, the style couldn't be better described than post-metal indeed. This music takes metal into new and exciting territories, adding un-metal instruments like violins and samples and fusing diverse styles such as hard-core, thrash, post-punk, industrial music and post-rock. Neurosis were sure one of the most exciting bands in those highly creative early 90's years and this album bears ample proof of it.

Are they entirely original then? No, of course not, nothing is. Neurosis builds heavenly on the legacy of 80's proto-industrial post-punk acts such as Foetus, Swans and to a lesser extent Prong. If you are a Neurosis fan but didn't hear those bands yet you have some serious catching-up to do. Swans especially, because it is the band that had made similar music 10 years earlier. Unfortunately, only a small section of the public was ready for it. A song like Flight for example is pure early Swans that got a metal reworking. Neurosis had the chance of better timing, when they unleashed their eclectic extreme metal with brains upon us, the world was ready for it and they would give rise to a whole new generation of bands.

Neurosis has melted countless of influences in their furnace. Throughout the album, they takes us on a stunning trip through the dark side of musical history, from Black Sabbath via heavy Crimson to hard-core, thrash and the harsher side of the 80's post-punk scene. Also the influence of the sleazy grunge of the Melvins can not be underestimated. The opening of Stripped even shows their affinity with jazz-rock and Crimsonite guitar scales. The continuation of the track reveals the thundering tribal impetus of early Killing Joke and the industrial sonics of Foetus. The result is a very diverse album that could please everybody who likes intense music, provided you can deal with the hoarse and gruff hard-core styles. While I'm usually not a fan of it, I can assure you that their two vocalists pull off this style most convincingly.

This album hasn't aged one bit and still sounds frighteningly relevant. After a good 10 spins it has quickly become one of my favourite Neurosis albums and I'm quite sure it will further grow on me. To ensure that process, it's being transferred to my summer-cycling ipod as we speak. Dark music like this is the ideal sunblock! 4.5 stars, at least.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#267428) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 22, 2010

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 8/10

"Souls At Zero" is a dark, mysterious piece of work, seminal for the forming of Sludge Metal and not only.

Neurosis nowadays is considered the perfect example of "post-metal",a genre not everybody accepts. But before their glorious days, in the 80's they released two Hardcore albums that were very much forgotten, especially when "Souls At Zero" came out. This album was a first approach to the sound that Neurosis still has today. In a way, "Souls At Zero" is the band's second debut.

On this album Neurosis maintained some Hardcore influences, especially in the vocals, which never loose their intensity. But mostly, the sound is very much different. The band now incorporates heavier riffs, even though not quite sludgy yet, a very strong progressive influence, especially concerning the structure of these songs, but also noticeable in the instrumentation, which some times includes violin, flute, or sax. There's also quite a lot of sampling, in almost every intro. I've heard a few people saying that Neurosis were influenced by King Crimson here, and you notice that at times, particularly when it comes to layer the sound in songs like the title track. But those experimental post-punk bands from the 80's are a much heavier influence, like Prong but especially Swans (I do think Neurosis are the official heirs of the latter band). Of course, there is some Black Sabbath in the mix, otherwise it wouldn't sound so dark and doomy at times.

Indeed, "Souls At Zero" is a pretty dark, claustrophobic album, with dark melodies and a gloomy sound. But that's the thing of this album, it never loses its intensity, even when the music quiets down and gets a little cleaner. Listening to this feels like being trapped in a sort of well, you're calling for help but an angel comes to you and says "you're on your own, it's up to you to live or die". The music is most of the time stretched out and repetitive, ironically, I do feel like maybe the shorter songs end unfinished, like if they were just too short. Neurosis is at it's best with long songs, its a fact (exceptions later in their career will be made, and plenty of them).

These ten tracks have all good moments, some of them are fantastic; the build up of the opener "To Crawl Under One's Skin" is just perfect, and a perfectly executed song as well, that incarnates the very essence of what this album is, along with the following track, "Souls At Zero", another flawless track, mysterious, tense, that eventually gets heavy and very dark. Highlights are also "Stripped", possibly the most progressive song here, or the hypnotic "Takeahnase". A mention should be given also for "A Chronology For Survival" and "Sterile Vision" two really good tracks that are essential for the structure of the album.

Overall "Souls At Zero" is a dark, mysterious piece of work, but it's also a seminal album for the forming of Sludge Metal and not only. If you are into that sort of experimental metal, this is a must, mostly because of its importance in creating the genre.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#518960) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 10, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Souls at Zero finds Neurosis exploring a dizzying variety of different directions to expand their sound in, with the end result being that it's a foundational album of not just sludge metal but also post-metal. The distorted, muzzy guitars and shouted hardcore-influenced vocals of sludge emerge here and there, whilst other musical passages manage to incorporate the classic post-rock sound before many of its proponents even managed to put out an album. I can well see why this album would be startling coming from a band who had previously played in a solidly thrash/hardcore melange up to this point - even after hearing albums like Through Silver In Blood, I find myself taken aback by how varied and how excellent the album is.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#755825) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2012

Review by siLLy puPPy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This album starts out with a talking bowl accompanied by spoken words about starting out on a journey. Wow. They aren't kidding. This album is a sonic journey indeed.

I have not heard the first two albums by NEUROSIS so I can only speculate by reading reviews that they were fairly simple creatures that had not yet blossomed into what we hear on this masterpiece of metal music. I actually came across this album by listening to a college radio station that played "Stripped" and I was so extremely taken by the ingenuity of the track that I immediately went out and bought the album after learning who it was and by only recently being officially NEUROSIS-ized with the intoxicating THROUGH SILVER IN BLOOD.

NEUROSIS took a great leap of faith with this album. By incorporating the vocal influences of Swans, the industrial riffing of Godflesh and the progressive post-rock of Talk Talk with additional embellishments of progressive layerings including piano, violin, Gregorian chants and others into the mix, NEUROSIS simply created a well balanced musical masterpiece by putting all the pieces in the proper places. It is amazing how well this album flows from beginning to end and despite wanting to sample a little just to get a little more perspective before this review, so sucked in was I that I couldn't resist listening to the entire album again. It is so good that it has a gravitational pull that I cannot resist.

And now I must comment on the album cover. The band says that it was supposed to be a likeness from the movie "The Wicker Man" but since they couldn't get permission to use it they had to make a mysterious figure that evoked its image. For me this also reminds me of the Shrike's image from the cover of the fantastic sci-fi books from the Hyperion series but it also evokes a likeness to the Man himself at the Black Rock Desert, Nevada event Burning Man (which I have attended ? Woohoo!)

Not only is this album a masterpiece but a full-fledged turning point in music that combined post rock and metal and added progressive elements. One of the best albums of all time.

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Send comments to siLLy puPPy (BETA) | Report this review (#1116629) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 19, 2014

Latest members reviews

4 stars Oh my. This is good, visceral and thought provoking stuff... I've had several musical epiphanies this summer, starting with Mastodon, moving on to Meshuggah and then through Tool, King Crimson and Dream Theater, finally happening upon Neurosis a few days ago after seeing them positively name ... (read more)

Report this review (#194692) | Posted by Namor | Monday, December 22, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wow, I simply cannot believe there is no review yet for this seminal sludge/post-metal piece of superbly crafted music. Neurosis have been and - by the sound of their latest effort, Given To The Rising - still are HEAVY in a way few other bands manage to be. They may not be fast or quirky, but t ... (read more)

Report this review (#157978) | Posted by Asphalt | Monday, January 07, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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