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Neurosis - Times Of Grace CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.79 | 84 ratings

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4 stars Times of Grace is the sixth studio album from US experimental and doomy metal act Neurosis. I rated the predecessor called Through Silver in Blood ( 1996) 5 stars. I really think itīs a great intense and angry album with many layers and qualities. So I was a bit anxious as to how Times of Grace would sound. After listening to an album that you feel is a masterpiece most bands dissapoint with their next release. Thatīs definitely not the case with Times of Grace which is an excellent album and not a disappointment at all even though it doesnīt quite reach the hights of Through Silver in Blood IMO.

The music is still unmistakably Neurosis and weīre treated with angry, heavy, doomy and intense metal. The tribal like drumming has been toned down a bit and there are a few more clean vocals but other than that Neurosis sound just like they did on the last two albums. The experimental side of the band is of course why they are here on PA and itīs as present as ever. The use of bagpipes is one of the progressive features I noticed. But I also think I hear some brass ( maybe flugelhorn?) and cello as well. The elements are additions to the trademark Neurosis sound though. Not defining for the sound. Another experimental feature is the unconventional structure of the songs which is something I greatly enjoy. Neurosis excel in doomy and bleak landscapes of anger and frustration. They emphasise emotion rather than complex playing. So donīt expect to find anything that will satisfy your craving for fast and complex metal riffing on Times of Grace.

Itīs actually one of the reasons why it has taken me almost ten years and several tries in those years before I found the charm in Neurosis music. Times of Grace was the first album I heard from the band and I was instantly let down. I just didnīt get it at all. Sure there were some interesting elements in their music but why was this band so legendary ? Neurosis have been creeping in on me in those ten years though and Iīm so happy they did. Itīs all about atmosphere and dark emotions.

The songs are generally crushingly heavy and the very dirty/ raw production makes the music sound particularly primitive at times. This is of course on purpose and once you start digging youīll discover more layers in the noisy riffing and sometimes even some very melodic and memorable parts. Songs like The Doorway, Under The Surface, The Last Youīll Know and End of the Harvest are good examples of the really heavy songs on the album while songs like Belief and Away shows the more melodic side of the band. The songs are generally pretty long ( between 6 and 9 minutes) with a few exceptions in the four shorter instrumental tracks Suspended In Light, Exist, Descent and The Road To Sovereignty.

As a side note Neurosis ambient/ experimental side project Tribes of Neurot ( which includes all members of Neurosis along with additional musicians) released the album Grace ( 1999) alongside Times of Grace. The two albums are meant to be played simultaneously which should give a special listening experience. Iīm not sure how this can be done technically but I would really like to try this one day.

The musicianship is excellent. Donīt make the mistake of thinking these guys canīt play because the pace is so slow. There are plenty of fierce playing on display here.

The production has been somewhat of an issue for me but after listening to the album many times Iīm really happy with the noisy and raw sound that Steve Albini has crafted. The sound is very stripped down and as a consequence the music sounds much more primitive than on previous albums.

Iīve been giving it a lot of thought what rate I should give Times of Grace. For a long time I considered giving the album 5 stars as I really feel the album is worth more than a 4 star rating. On the other hand Iīm a bit hesitant and thatīs enough for me to only give Times of Grace a 4 star rating. Iīll come back and re-evaluate some time in the future though. Given the test of time this might be a masterpiece after all. Itīs a very recommendable album but not the place to start for new fans of the band. I would start with Through Silver in Blood which is just a notch more polished and accessible.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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