If 2004’s The Eye Of Every Storm was an expansive foray into the band’s experimental atmospheric tendencies, then certainly Given To The Rising is Neurosis reinterpreting the sound that established them as underground metal legends in the first place and basically showing everyone who’s tried to sound like them ever since how it’s done. What actually makes the album work is that it’s in no way a rehash, just a different direction.
The reason you’ve heard so much about how Neurosis are “going back to their roots” with this album is because the different direction is heavier, and so was their earlier material. But listening to a song like “To The Wind,” the vibe is completely different. True, there’s a shared complexity of composition with earlier material on albums like Through Silver In Blood and Enemy Of The Sun, but it’s been a decade since then and Neurosis have grown.
The material shows that growth. It’s calculated and established, comfortable enough to stretch out when it needs to and crush when it needs to. Organic in its sound, the work of longtime producer Steve Albini is evident in the live feel of the music. Neurosis have never sounded better. Working within darker atmospheres suits them well and the material’s added dose of intensity gives this album a contrary feel to The Eye Of Every Storm.
That said, this is still Neurosis, and no matter what they write, it’s still going to have that intangible individuality that so many bands nowadays are keen on copying. And there are plenty of ambient moments on Given, but on the whole, this is a bleaker world view crammed with a more thundering crunch than anything the band has done in a long time. It should make a lot of people very happy.
In A Word: Risen