Neurosis is an American avant-garde metal band from Oakland, California. It was formed in 1985 by guitarist Scott Kelly, bassist Dave Edwardson, and drummer Jason Roeder, initially as a hardcore punk band. Chad Salter joined as a second guitarist and appeared on the band's 1987 debut Pain of Mind before being replaced by Steve Von Till in 1989. The following year, the lineup further expanded to include a keyboardist and a visual artist. Beginning with their third album Souls at Zero (1992), Neurosis developed a unique musical style crucial to the emergence of the post-metal and sludge metal genres.
|Origin||Oakland, California, U.S.|
The band's lineup stabilized in 1995 with the addition of Noah Landis, who replaced Simon McIlroy on keyboards and electronics. That same year they formed the experimental music group Tribes of Neurot and in 1999 the record label Neurot Recordings. As of 2019, they have released 11 studio albums, garnering critical recognition. The BBC credited them with taking "heavy music to previously unimaginable spaces ... [and shaping] metal's definitive response to the 21st century."
Formation and early years (1985–1995)Edit
In late 1985, Scott Kelly, Dave Edwardson, and Jason Roeder, formerly members of Violent Coercion, founded Neurosis as a hardcore punk outfit, inspired also by British crust punk in the vein of Amebix and Crass.
In 1986 Chad Salter was added on second guitar and vocals. There have only been a few changes in the lineup of Neurosis' musicians since band's inception. In 1989 guitarist/vocalist Chad Salter was replaced by Steve Von Till, who previously played in bands Transgressor, Peace Test and Tribe of Resistance, and in 1990, Simon McIlroy joined the band as a synthesizer/sampler with Adam Kendall as visual artist (Adam and Simon have been friends since they were teenagers and they were doing a lot of experimental music together before). In 1995 Noah Landis, a childhood friend of Dave Edwardson, replaced Simon McIlroy as keyboardist.
With The Word as Law, Neurosis began to transition from the hardcore punk of Pain of Mind to the more experimental sound of Souls at Zero, which would ultimately form the basis for post-metal and atmospheric sludge metal. Neurosis' signature sound came into full force with Enemy of the Sun, with The Quietus observing that "at the time few could have predicted this black hole of agonizingly precise metal riffs, unnerving backmasking, industrial folkisms and extensive sampling".
Through Silver in Blood to The Eye of Every Storm (1996–2004)Edit
In 1996, Neurosis attracted mainstream attention with its Relapse Records debut, Through Silver in Blood and subsequent tour with Pantera. In 1999, Neurosis released Times of Grace, which was designed to be played synchronously with Grace, an album released by Neurosis' ambient side project, Tribes of Neurot.
In the early 2000s, the band founded their own independent record label, Neurot Recordings, which, in addition to releasing material from Neurosis and its associated projects, signed several other artists.
Beginning with A Sun That Never Sets, Neurosis began incorporating clean vocals and acoustic instrumentation with a growing folk music influence, more noted presence of classical string instruments (which had been used sparsely since Souls At Zero) as well as slower tempos and a more contemplative sound. Allmusic described this change as an "aesthetic sea change". 2004's The Eye of Every Storm expanded upon this change by incorporating more ambient textures into the mix and presenting a softer post-rock oriented sound.
Recent activity (2007–present)Edit
The band released their ninth studio album Given to the Rising on May 8, 2007 through Neurot Records. On this album Neurosis re-incorporated a more aggressive approach into their music once again, and the album was well received by critics.
The band performed at Roadburn 2016, with Brooklyn Vegan's Ian Cory writing that "once the house lights came up it was hard to justify watching anything else." This was part of their series of shows performed in celebration of their 30th anniversary as a band.
From 1990 to 1993, Adam G. Kendall was recruited to create visuals and perform live with the band. Following his departure from touring, Pete Inc. took over the job, although Kendall continued to contribute visuals for the band until as late as 1997. Kendall also shot the footage for the "Locust Star" video.
Josh Graham took over live visuals in early 2000 as Pete wasn't "cutting the mustard" (in the words of Steve Von Till), and created album artwork for 2004's The Eye of Every Storm, 2007's Given to the Rising, and 2012's Honor Found in Decay, as well as re-designs for the reissues of Souls at Zero and Enemy of the Sun. Graham and Neurosis amicably parted ways in late November 2012 via an announcement on the band website. He was not replaced and the band ceased to use live visual media.
Often experimental and psychedelic in nature, Neurosis' visual media have added to the reputation of their live performances. Many of the visuals for their tours supporting Through Silver in Blood are taken from Ken Russell's film Altered States. Other images are included in the enhanced portion of the Sovereign E.P, and on the A Sun That Never Sets DVD video release. The majority of the DVD release was directed by Graham, with an additional video by Chad Rullman.
Musical style and influencesEdit
Neurosis emerged as a hardcore punk band, performing a blend of hardcore and heavy metal inspired by British punk and described as crust punk or crossover. However, their second album The Word as Law (1990), introduced some elements of avant-garde music and sludge metal, a genre which was emerging as a fusion of hardcore and doom metal. Thereafter, the band developed a unique sound; Greg Moffitt of the BBC wrote that through a "process of evolution and refinement" beginning with Souls at Zero (1992) and culminating in Through Silver in Blood (1996), they "[took] heavy music to previously unimaginable spaces and, in the process, shape[d] what has thus far been metal's definitive response to the 21st century."
The style Neurosis pioneered has been named post-metal, characterised by an "expansive, progressive and often apocalyptic" sound "adding alien sounds, oddball instrumentation and atmospheric depth to [the] viscerally crushing approach" of sludge metal. The band's sound has also been described as experimental/avant-garde metal, doom metal, post-hardcore, industrial metal, drone metal, stoner metal, psychedelic metal, progressive metal, alternative metal and extreme metal, and as employing elements of folk. Steve Huey of AllMusic called it as a blend of industrial, metal, and alternative rock rooted in sludge metal, while Kory Grow of Rolling Stone called it a mix of "metal, punk, sludge and avant-garde experiments."
When asked what the band's influences are in a 2000 interview, Scott Kelly stated: "Mainly ourselves at this point, but our foundation ranges through Black Flag, Pink Floyd, Die Kreuzen, Amebix, Jimi Hendrix, King Crimson, The Melvins, Celtic Frost and, of course, Hank Williams." In 2007, Steve Von Till stated that lyrically he and Kelly are inspired by literature, alluding to writers such as Cormac McCarthy, Jack London, and Paul Bowles.
- Studio albums
- Tribes of Neurot - The "alter ego" of Neurosis; a collective of musicians that create dark ambient and noise music.
- Blood and Time - An acoustic side project of Neurosis with apocalyptic folk overtones featuring Josh Graham, Noah Landis and Scott Kelly.
- Culper Ring - A brief side project of Neurosis experimenting with dark ambient and industrial music featuring Steve Von Till.
- Red Sparowes - A group formerly featuring Josh Graham, as he departed the group early 2008.
- A Storm of Light - A heavy/drone/experimental/rock band featuring Josh Graham.
- Battle of Mice - A post hardcore band featuring Josh Graham.
- Harvestman - an ambient/industrial side band featuring Steve Von Till.
- Violent Coercion - pre-Neurosis Hardcore/punk band with Scott Kelly on guitar, Dave Edwardson on bass and Jason Roeder on drums.
- Jesus Fucking Christ - A heavy punk/thrash band reminiscent of Pain of Mind-era Neurosis featuring Dave Edwardson on bass and vocals.
- Kicker - A '77 punk/UK82 band featuring Dave Edwardson on bass and Pete the Roadie, former Neurosis roadie, on vocals.
- Shrinebuilder - A stoner metal "super group" featuring Scott Kelly.
- Corrections House - A drone/doom/experimental "super group" featuring Scott Kelly.
- Mirrors For Psychic Warfare - An experimental noise project featuring Scott Kelly.
- Sleep - A Doom Metal Band featuring Jason Roeder
- Moffitt, Greg. "Neurosis - Times of Grace Review". BBC. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
- Mikkelson, Jill (July 2007). "Neurosis Are Insulated". Exclaim.ca. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
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- Gardner, Noel (August 10, 2009). "The Quietus Looks Back At The Career Of Dynamic Metallic Neurosis". The Quietus. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
- Norton, Justin M. "Neurosis - 'Souls At Zero'". About.com. Archived from the original on April 3, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
Souls At Zero was a game-changing album, not just for Neurosis but for the entire metal genre. It's one of the records where the rules were changed and a new order established
- Ehrbar, Joe (January 31, 1997). "Dose Of Neurosis Opening For Pantera On Monday". spokesman.com. Spokane, WA: The Spokesman. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
- "an interview w/ Scott Kelly (Neurosis, Neurot, Shrinebuilder)". BrooklynVegan. April 22, 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
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- Jurek, Thom. "Neurosis: Given to the Rising". Allmusic. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
There is an aggression here that seems to have been kept in restraint for a few years and has returned now to claim its proper place.
- "Neurosis: Title Of Tenth Full-Length From Musical Pioneers Revealed". earsplitcompound.com. Earsplit. August 13, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
- "Roadburn 2016 Day 4 review & pics (Blind Idiot God, Neurosis, Ecstatic Vision, more)". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- "Neurosis Announce Special 30th Anniversary Shows". Loudwire. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- "Neurosis reissuing 'A Sun that Never Sets' and 'The Eye of Every Storm'". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- Records, Relapse. "Coming June 17th on Deluxe 2XLP". relapse.com. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- "NEUROSIS To Release 'Fires Within Fires' Album In September". Blabbermouth.net. June 21, 2016. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
- Samudrala, Ram (October 17, 2000). "Interview with Scott Kelly of Neurosis". www.ram.org. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- "An interview with Josh Graham (Neurosis, A Storm of Light)". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- "Neurosis Begins New Chapter". officialneurosis.blogspot.com. Official Neurosis Blog. November 27, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
- Thomson, Jamie (December 2, 2010). "How Neurosis blazed a trail for 'thinking man's metal' and lasted 25 years". The Guardian. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
- Heilman, Maxwell (September 26, 2016). "Neurosis brings post-metal back to its roots". The Chimes. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
- Terich, Jeff. "Celebrate the Catalog: Neurosis". Treblezine. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
- Heller, Jason (July 25, 2014). "Beak casts a post-metal shadow over "Light Outside"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
- Adams, Gregory (July 13, 2011). "Neurosis to Reissue 'Sovereign' EP". Exclaim!. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
- Distefano, Alex (December 30, 2013). "Neurosis - The Observatory - December 28, 2013". OC Weekly. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
- McCracken, Colin (January 19, 2013). "Neurosis: Honor Found In Decay – album review". Louder Than War. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
- Gardner, Noel (October 8, 2016). "Neurosis – Fires Within Fires". The Quietus. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
- Grow, Kory (November 27, 2012). "Neurosis Reveal Inspirations Behind 'Honor Found in Decay' (and Their Full 30-Year Career)". Spin. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
- Rosenberg, Tal (December 30, 2012). "Reader's Agenda Sun 12/30: Neurosis, a servants' tour, and Lawrence of Arabia". Chicago Reader. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
- Henderson, Alex. "Project: Failing Flesh – A Beautiful Sickness". AllMusic. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
alt-metal is a far-reaching term that has been used to describe everyone from Hammerlock to Neurosis to Ministry to Limp Bizkit
- Huey, Steve. "Neurosis biography". AllMusic. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
- Grow, Kory (November 22, 2016). "Neurosis on 30 Years of Finding 'New Ways of Being Heavy'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 1, 2017.
- Hesselink, Jasper. "Interview with Neurosis". lordsofmetal.nl. Lords of Metal. Retrieved July 9, 2008.