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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Enemy Of The Sun" is the 4th full-length studio album by US, California based sludge/Post-metal act Neurosis. The album was released through Alternative Tentacles in August 1993. Itīs the successor to "Souls at Zero" from 1992. "Souls at Zero (1992)" was the album where Neurosis changed their original hardcore sound towards an atmospheric, heavy and doomy (although still hardcore influenced) music style.

That development in sound is further continued on "Enemy Of The Sun", and Neurosis also continue to add new elements and refine their sound. "Enemy Of The Sun" is a cold, harsh, and angry album. Itīs drenched in a bleak and melancholic atmosphere. The ingredients of the bandīs sound are a heavy yet rhythmically adventurous rhythm section, heavy doomy riffs, feedback and noise, raw shouting aggressive hardcore type vocals (and a few cleaner sung vocals), and atmosphere enhancing use of keyboards and electronics/samples. Itīs completely uncompromising, original, and because of the unconventional nature of the riffs, the rhythms, and the atmosphere, probably a bit of an aquired taste (even for fans of heavy music).

Itīs sonically challenging music, which most listeners probably wonīt find immediately accessible, but the material are not without catchy moments. They just seldom appear in the form of a sing-along chorus, a melody part you can hum along to, or a harmony guitar part that you remember long after the album is over. In that respect the material on "Enemy Of The Sun" are a difficult listen. Itīs gritty, menacing and ugly, and generally demand the listenerīs full attention. Itīs progressive music which hasnīt lost itīs aggressive hardcore authenticity.

"Enemy Of The Sun" opens with two stand-alone tracks in "Lost" and "Raze the Stray", while "Burning Flesh In Year of Pig", "Cold Ascending" and "Lexicon" seque into each other and appear like one long track. The title track and "The Time of the Beasts" follow (the latter is a crushingly heavy track featuring a section which sounds like a funeral march with violin and trumpet) and the album closes with the 26:34 minutes long "Cleanse". "Cleanse" (which is not featured on the vinyl version of the album) is a long hypnotic song featuring tribal percussion, shouting and yelling and samples. The last 8 minutes are a pretty harsh listen as it is a sampled shout repeated over an over again. Itīs pretty surely the kind of track, which is an aquired taste. The same can be said about "Lexicon", which is an extremely noisy track. It sits on the verge of being avant garde.

"Enemy Of The Sun" features a suitingly harsh and raw sound production, which further helps the material shine. So upon conclusion itīs a high quality release by Neurosis. While "Souls at Zero (1992)" felt at lot like a transitional album (and in that case, thatīs not a bad thing), "Enemy Of The Sun" is an album featuring an almost fully developed new sound. I write almost, because the band would further develop and refine this particular sound on the next two releases, before making another change in musical style. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#180371)
Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Dark, powerful, ground-breaking and intense for some, soulless and noisy for others. There's not much of an inbetween position when it comes to Neurosis. And concluding from the masses of reviews here, it's quite obvious where most prog fans stand is this matter.

Neurosis' 4th album is a newt important step away from their thrash and hard-core roots. In fact, Enemy of the Sun is their first album that I would place in the sludge/doom style that they have become famous for. It's a particularly dense and difficult album, having next to no melody, a pace that has become so slow that it is mostly nothing but a slowly grinding pulse, loud and dead-heavy guitar dissonance and big distorted bass lines that whirl through the colossal dirty sound. There are also some more up-beat sections where they unleash their wild tribal beats. Combined with the thunderous bass it makes for a gripping listen. This isn't music you play in the background, it's demanding and compulsive. The album ends with a 26 minute experimental piece, half of which consisting of repetitive tribal drumming and the other half of noisy samples. After the 45 preceding minutes of sonic assault, it's too much really as it fails to stir the entrancing effect that it was meant to produce.

Overall, this is an astonishing album that redefines challenging and that makes words like 'listening pleasure' and 'enjoyment' awkwardly alien when you return to earth after spending more then an hour in this barren wasteland. Due to the overindulgent closing track, it's slightly less effective then the two masterpieces around it, but it sure is an exceptional and defining album.

Report this review (#268100)
Posted Thursday, February 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars 6/10

"Enemy Of The Sun" has high ambitions, but less effective results.

After the successful and amazingly done "Souls At Zero", Neurosis takes a step forward with "Enemy Of The Sun" the following year with higher ambitions, but with a lot less effective results, unfortunately.

"Enemy Of The Sun" is a step forward because it is overall more experimental than the previous album, exploring a lot of new sounds; there's more sampling, there's a very interesting tribal vibe thanks to the more tom-focused drums, there's a much wider and open sound, abandoning the claustrophobic feel in "Souls At Zero" and using effects such as reverb; this sound will be perfected with the following album "Through Silver In Blood". However, besides these things, the music does have a lot of things in common with the previous album, thus it feels like "Enemy Of The Sun" is its natural continuation.

But this album does not have the exciting, ear-dragging feel I hoped for. As a matter of fact, I get bored after the first songs, which aren't bad at all. The melodies just aren't doing it for me most of the time, and the face-melting sound that Neurosis is so famous for is just not here, even though it attempts to be present. Even the instrumentation feels like its held down a bit, and the production isn't really helping.

I cannot deny though that interesting moments are present, especially in the first half: the opener "Lost" is a mysterious, nine minute piece that is smothered in a pretty cool atmosphere, just like the even better track "Raze The Stray", which features a beautiful female vocal in the intro and along some parts that follow. "Lexicon" is also an interesting track, probably the most hypnotizing song off the album. But the title track and "The Time Of The Beasts" don't say much for me at all, and the final track "Cleanse", which is fifteen minutes in some versions of the album, but I have the twenty six minute version, is just boring, wannabe tribal drumming that occasionally changes a bit, until it reaches the fourteenth minute, where an annoying vocal loop repeats itself for ten, unbearably long minutes.

Overall, the album is pretty good, but its barely saved by those few tracks in the beginning of the album; It has a few dull moments that I surely do not want to revisit for a while. I recommend it to the fans of the genre and of Neurosis, but not to anybody else.

Report this review (#520277)
Posted Sunday, September 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars NEUROSIS has become one of my favorite bands of all time. What I love about them is their ability to give every album its own personality and sound while keeping the basic doomy sludge metal sound that they are known for. On their 4th album ENEMY OF THE SUN they continue the post metal sludge that they invented on their previous album 'Souls At Zero' but they created a more atmospheric piece this time around relying heavily on introductory samples of different source material like news clips, ambient electronica or ethnic music. The result of all this is a more experimental sounding album that sounds a little less harsh than the previous and future releases.

The first track sounds like something that could be on the first Black Sabbath album as it is clearly more doom metal than sludge but after the first couple of tracks they start introducing more bizarre soundscapes to the mix and at times some of the ambient more trippy parts remind me of Krautrock. Although I love this album from beginning to end it is not as perfectly executed as 'Souls At Zero' mostly because of the fact that some of the ambient and tribal drumming outros outstay their welcome. Just when you think it feels like it should be ending it continues and keeps going. Although that keeps this from being another masterpiece it still is an excellent album that shouldn't be overlooked simply because it falls between two of their more popular releases.

Report this review (#1179518)
Posted Monday, May 26, 2014 | Review Permalink

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