Tribes Of Neurot - Grace gatefold-2-LP WHITE Vinyl
As with all Neurosis albums, the first time I listened to Times of Grace it didn't click with me, in fact, you could even say I downright hated it. I went through a prolonged period of time where I saw Neurosis as nothing more than over hyped post metal band offering very little for me in turns of musical enjoyment. However, after listening through their discography and giving Times of Grace much more time to sink in it begun to grow on me, I started to like it, maybe even love it. Neurosis is a band that is so steeped in complexity that each subsequent listen brings about previously unheard elements.
Times of Grace show Neurosis in transition, the middle point between the densely layered and progressive sound of Through Silver in Blood to the sparser, more folk influenced A Sun That Never Sets. The quieter dynamics that Neurosis have perfected over time are coming a much more prominent force within the music whilst the band still hones their craft of the big riff, and these riffs are really freaking huge. The second track in particular opens with a riff that is one of the bands heaviest moments. The guitars are huge, Steve Albini has done a great job in mixing and mastering this album and as a whole the production is far better than Through Silver in Blood.
Although the band still retains elements of their dense sludge metal, the quieter elements are the stand outs of this album. There’s a much greater focus on atmospheric progression than Through Silver in Blood, the mixture of mellow and harsh sections allows Times of Grace more leeway in exploring atmospheric intensities. There’s a large post rock vibe running throughout the album as the band utilize the quiet-loud dynamic to full effect. As a whole much of the tracks work towards a climax, progressing through quiet, atmospheric sections until the band reaches its final bombastic climax.
The use of different instruments is great too, presenting the album as a grand multi-dimensional opus that runs through many contrasting musical territories yet managing to remain a cohesive entity. Although lacking the raw primal intensity that made Through Silver in Blood such a fantastic record, Times of Grace more than makes up for it through the use of greater experimentation. The ambiance of this album is mind blowing, whether that’s from the creepy synth work of Belief to the post rock inspired sections of The Last You’ll Ever Know, the atmosphere is delivered in spades.
I found that there’s very little to critique about Times of Grace, mixing the harsh, abrasive sound of their earlier days with elements that will come to define their newest releases, Times of Grace is an atmospheric powerhouse unmatched in terms of atmospheric scope and grandeur. As with much of Neurosis’ discography, this is a very bleak, dismal album, and although it never reaches the same monochromatic blankness of A Sun That Never Sets or The Eye of Every Storm, the moods and tones of this album is far beyond what most bands can hope to accomplish. The primal anger that Neurosis deliver has been internalized and as a whole the album is far more introspective than the ones that came before. This isn't an album for those looking for something fun and catchy to listen to; this is deep, poetic music that speaks on an emotional level that is rarely seen. Essential.
Super deluxe vinyl reissues of TRIBES OF NEUROT's 'Grace' (originally released in 1999)
All records are pressed on 180 gram vinyl and housed in Stoughton 'tip-on' jackets.