Release DetailsLABEL Neurot Recordings
RELEASED ON 8/30/2010
Enemy Of The Sun (Reissue)
posted on 8/2010 By:
To understand Neurosis, you have to understand Josh Graham. More specifically, you have to understand why the rest of the band calls him a member.
Graham, who joined the band in 2000, does not play an instrument for Neurosis. Nor does he provide vocals. He, like his predecessors Pete Inc. and Adam Kendall, provides 'visual media' for the band. He generates Neurosis's album art and the video loops they use in their infrequent live shows. He's also responsible for redesigning the Enemy of the Sun layout in his trademark stark colors for this reissue. This aesthetic reboot is the only new content included.
So we find ourselves with a band member who doesn't play an instrument, sprucing up an album that he didn't originally contribute to and that doesn't seem to need a re-release. What gives?
The simplest answer is that Neurosis are preoccupied with symbolism -- especially that of cycles. As the band marks its 25th anniversary, it follows that they would ask the man who has dominated their visual iconography for a decade to re-imagine their breakthrough release.
And when you listen to this disc, it's easy to see why it's held in such high esteem. Though Neurosis's masterworks came later, the primal roar that defines their sound first broke free on Enemy of the Sun.
In some ways, Neurosis were still refining themselves on Enemy. Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till sling ruddy power chords; their guitars had not yet collapsed into a singularity. Dave Edwardson's bass punches clean through the mix, its rowdy buzz betraying his punk roots. The band's influences are more obvious here -- Godflesh and Swans each make their presence known, and it's no wonder that the latter's Michael Gira (reputedly) considered asking Neurosis to back him after this album dropped.
But drummer Jason Roeder -- the band's unsung star -- makes all the difference. His shamanistic rumble draws the other band members into its orbit. Everything -- guitars, bass, vocals, and even samples -- becomes a drum when exposed to Roeder's tribal zeal (literally on closer "Cleanse"). Despite the generally slow tempos, this music conjures up ecstatic ceremony, evoking repeated phases of death, rebirth and apotheosis. Thus does Neurosis transcend heavy metal and punk rock; thus do they tap into something much older, much deeper, and somehow, much more alive.
Kelly and von Till have consistently described Neurosis as a self-indulgent project; it exists for the satisfaction of its own members. So while Neurot's reissue presents an opportunity for neophytes to pick up this seminal effort, the band probably would have pressed it even if they didn't think anyone would buy it. True to their cyclical motif, Neurosis have come full circle, and revisiting Enemy of the Sun illustrates just how thoroughly they have accomplished their goals.
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