We all know that life can change in a moment.
Sometimes those moments are major events. Other times, they are less so. I’d wager a guess that, at least for people who really love music, there are certain moments, albums, songs, that changed their musical lives as well.
I wouldn’t be overstating it to say that Through Silver in Blood by Neurosis changed my musical life.
Disconnected by Fates Warning, while an all time favorite album of mine, didn’t do much to change how I thought about music. It was still something that was pretty squarely in my wheelhouse. But Through Silver in Blood was something different all together. Discovering Neurosis opened entire new avenues of heavy music for me to explore. And I am grateful to this day that it did.
I’ve talked about heavy music here before (Mammoth Storm, Alruna). I’ve talked about challenging music (Mirror Reaper). Well, here we have both. Through Silver in Blood is dense. It is dark. It is a long album, with long songs. The vocals are uncompromising, with some growls, some screams, some good old hardcore wails.
The guitars build, swell, explode. Neurosis are masters of the fine art of crescendo and denouement. There are quiet moments on this album. Yet the serve to make the heavy moments mean all that much more. This is hardcore music that has been stretched and given room to become something much more, something different. There is some sludge here, there is some punk, and most importantly, we witness, through this and other Neurosis albums, the true birth of post-metal.
The title track starts with industrial noises. Drums then build in slowly and the song adds and adds until it explodes into one of the most punishing tracks I’ve ever heard. It continues to build, flow and wax and wane over the course of its 12 minutes, ending with a pounding drum beat that drives the listener into submission. “Aeon” begins with piano and string, until the bomb drops, almost a full 3 minutes in, with crushing guitars and vocals that could strip the paint right off the wall.
But what makes Neurosis, and Through Silver in Blood, so powerful and effective is their refusal to keep the needle pegged at 11. Dynamics abound, with a scaling back of the songs that prevents it from all feeling like too much. “Locust Star” would be the one exception to this, and even that takes over a full minute to really begin.
I openly admit that Neurosis is one of my favorite bands. Depending on the day, they are either pretty much even with Fates Warning, or possibly just a tad ahead. Through Silver in Blood is my “desert island” album. If I could listen to only one more album for the rest of my life, this would be it. There are enough dynamics, enough amazing music, that this has it all. But it isn’t easy. It isn’t accessible. Not everyone is going to listen to and enjoy this album. Heck, it even took me a while of really sitting down and listening to Neurosis before it clicked for me. But once it did, it clicked hard. And Through Silver in Blood is one of the most important and influential albums that most people have never heard.