"A Sun That Never Sets" (Relapse; 2001)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

My first experience with Neurosis was when I happened to catch the band on the first full-touring version of Ozzfest back in 1997. The fact that the two bands I remember the most from the second stage were Neurosis and Drain S.T.H. should tell you something about the diversity of those early OzzFest extravaganzas, but I digress. I was a bit awed by the pummeling, epic, trance-like grind of Neurosis, although I couldn't say I liked it a whole lot at the time. Basically I wasn't prepared for their sonic assault and tribal approach that Neurosis favored on discs such as "Through Silver In Blood."

Fast forward five years and I pick up Neurosis's seventh CD "A Sun That Never Sets." Boy was I in for a shock. "A Sun That Never Sets" came off more as a somber soundscape than a tribal, cathartic release of energy. Just goes to show me that some bands have many facets - and the desire, will, and skill to pull it off. Gone are the crushing guitars (save a few appearances) and the controlled aggression of tribal drumming.

There's more than 68 minutes of material to digest on "A Sun That Never Sets" and often times it seems longer than that, but not in a negative way. Sometimes the length of the songs and the overall length of the CD works in its favor as the listener tends to let their short-term musical memory become a clean slate with the songs slowly working their way into your subconscious. "A Sun That Never Sets" is a calm-induced state of hypnosis, rather than the trance-inducing barrage of "Through Silver In Blood."

I can't really recommend Neurosis' "A Sun That Never Sets" to the casual heavy music fan. Metal fans that gravitate towards the likes of apocalyptic, dismal doom rather than sheer aggression will appreciate "A Sun That Never Sets."

"A Sun That Never Sets" was produced by Neurosis and recorded by Steve Albini. One of my chief complaints of the recorded material that I'd heard from Neurosis on compilations and the like was the terrible, muddy production. Clear and distinctive production is the order of the day as far as "A Sun That Never Sets" goes and that is a welcome relief.

Neurosis: Steve Von Till on guitar and voice, Scott Kelly on guitar and voice, Dave Edwardson on bass, Noah Landis on keyboards, samples, and sound manipulation, and Jason Roeder on drums. Kris Force contributes violin and viola.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 May 2017 23:02:43 -0400.