Neurosis – The Word as Law (reissue)

Rating

Man, I’m looking forward to seeing Neurosis again in Toronto next month! Of course, they don’t really have any new material to promote—their last album came out last year—but we do get this reissue of The Word as Law, their second album from back in 1990. At this point, Souls at Zero was still two years away, and Through Silver in Blood wouldn’t see the light of day for another six. So if you’re expecting progressive post-sludge metal, you may be disappointed. The band was very much still in its formative years—in fact, this album was Steve Von Till’s first recording. Suffice to say, Noah Landis would not join the fray for another few years…

This eight-track effort opens with a mellow flourish, but it’s just a matter of seconds before a mid-paced hardcore stomp kicks off “Double-Edged Sword,” which picks up the pace from there, with some frantic guitar and a galloping bass line begetting a slow chorus breakdown. Placed next to the likes of COC and the Cro-Mags of the time, this stuff holds up. “The Choice” has some of the angular structures of later Neurosis numbers, but it’s presented in the context of hardcore/noise-rock, kinda like Black Flag (a la My War) meets Unsane. Things do get a bit trippier toward the end of Side A, with “Obsequious Obsolescence” and “To What End?” seemingly setting the table for their next record.

On the B Side, “Tomorrow’s Reality” starts off slow ‘n sludgy, again with a My War vibe, throwing in a by-gawd bass solo around the two-minute mark, before things get a little more frantic, particularly in the vocal department. “Common Inconsistencies” offers a similar approach, albeit with fewer time changes, before “Blisters” ends things on a haunting, mid-paced note. What this song lacks in heaviness, it makes up in creepiness…

While not a classic by any stretch, this record isn’t worth overlooking, either. Still, I’d be surprised if any tunes from this one make their way into the setlist!

www.neurotrecordings.com/news/neurosis-reissues-the-word-as-law

Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.

7.0 Rating