Now I must admit that it can be a bit rubbish when reviewers spend time going on about their night and not discussing and dissecting the music/gig itself, but having said that, the last time I saw Neurosis I ended up discussing the events of my evening ( here) and so I’m gonna count Neurosis shows as my wildcard. Basically, the doors opened at 7.00pm with the first band on at 7.20 — unfortunately though I was told differently by venue staff on the phone and turned up at 8.00, pissing wet from the English weather and accordingly pissed off as the line-up, instead of taking a natural angle upwards from minimal tech noise to Zeuhl-driven instrumental wizardry to brutal booming post-metal, had Guapo on first which meant they ended at 8.00. Ah well, I can safely say though that they were awesome, as they always are.
Nothing against Justin Broadrick’s Final either — the Godflesh/Jesu man’s solo project is a fascinating one and well worth investigating, although there is an argument that suggests that a venue as large as Shepherd’s Bush Empire is a little off the mark. Broadrick uses his guitar and a laptop to manufacture and manipulate sounds and noises creating an array of blunt, soft and harsh whites pinks and browns — alternatively (with differing opinion) offering nuggets of investigatory minimal noise/noises or longer, continual landscapes. As suggested, the venue is far less intimate than you would like though, in order to fully immerse and involve yourself in the event, however, bearing in mind the rabble of drinkers it worked out ok.
Back again for a surprising second appearance in London in just over six months, Neurosis came out to a full cheering crowd, all ready for the barrage and return to noise that is Given To The Rising, alive in the flesh. Without the desire to disappoint, in burst its opening manoeuvre the title track, with a typically huge, deep riff, swirling around with keyboard atmosphere in amongst the distortion and meaty vocal attacks. Neurosis commanding grasp of the powerful riff and ability to then slow it all down, perhaps a touch only to burst back in, or to pare it all right down to crawl around or build up for minutes on end, is deeply affecting and tonight’s show was testament to that fact. Powering through an array of new album material, including the development from light melodic strains into chaos of “To The Wind” and the ‘instant hit’ driving discordant chug of “Water Is Not Enough” the crowd were suitably impressed, often howling at opening riffs — as much for the new material as with older efforts like “Burn” from the previous record The Eye Of Every Storm. Prehaps the biggest crowd-noise came though for a track at the end of the set, the hypnotic muted-math mammoth “The Doorway” from 1999’s Time of Grace, at a point fiteen or so years into a career which had mostly had them sat off the radar but still functioning influentially. Now nearly another ten years on they still seem somewhat underground, perhaps due to their uncompromising brutality — even when they are calm and serene there is a particular menace about them — however, they pack such an immense metal force and are still so necessary, or perhaps even moreso within this current doom-filled climate.