Unlike seemingly every other metal fan out there, I never really got into Neurosis. However, I am certainly familiar with many of today’s artists in the genre that Neurosis helped spawn: heavyweights like Intronaut, Mouth of the Architect, Isis, Pelican, The Ocean, and Mastodon all share some debt to Neurosis’s pioneering blend of hardcore and crushing doom. I finally got a taste of Oakland’s forefathers of post-metal with the re-release of 1993’s Enemy of the Sun, and I’ve gotta say that even today, most bands out there pale in comparison.
Neurosis’s own label Neurot Recordings is celebrating the band’s 25th anniversary with another reissue of their classic Enemy of the Sun, which was also reissued in 1999. Enemy of the Sun is really where Neurosis’s potent post-hardcore sound came into its own, and even among today’s slew of heavy post-metal and sludge acts, this album remains one of the most brutal and uncompromising slabs of music ever released. In a genre where new bands seem to be intent on one-upping each other in heaviness and extremity of sound, it’s a testament to Neurosis’s talent and vision that their early albums such as Enemy of the Sun still stick out as some of the most pummeling and difficult to listen to in the genre. Many of today’s bands have mastered the soft-loud-soft pattern of mixing sludgy downtuned riffing with moody acoustics, but back in ‘93 there was none of that. Enemy of the Sun doesn’t let the listener go for a second of its cataclysmic length, and Neurosis’s use of dense, tribal percussion patterns only added to the primal onslaught.
The tracklist of Enemy of the Sun 2010 is the same as the previous reissue, with the only perceivable difference being that this edition bears a completely redesigned booklet courtesy of Neurosis’s visual mastermind (and ex-Red Sparowes guitarist) Josh Graham. So if you already have the album, I’m not sure this new edition has much to offer, but if you’re like me and haven’t checked out Neurosis yet, you probably won’t find a much better place to start.