Release DetailsLABEL Neurot Recordings
RELEASED ON 9/7/2010
Live At Roadburn 2007
posted on 10/2010 By:
Live albums can be double-edged swords, even for great live bands. They can serve as opportunities to trot out a string of classics, display improvisational prowess, or debut previously-unheard material. Alternately, they can disappoint fans with inadequate sound quality, dubious setlists, or flubbed performances.
Anyone who has seen psych-metal legends Neurosis live knows that they are a truly great stage act—one of the best, in fact. But despite their mind-boggling performances, Neurosis gets a little more of that sword’s shittier edge on the mildly disappointing Live at Roadburn 2007.
Their execution certainly isn’t the problem. If Live at Roadburn 2007 does anything, it proves that Neurosis can replicate their studio material down to the finest detail onstage. The band locks into grooves with a fluid ease that’s clearly the product of countless hours in the practice room. Even keys-tickler/sample-master Noah Landis replicates his trippy effects glaze with perfect clarity.
The setlist is another story, though. Of Live at Roadburn’s nine songs, four are from 2007’s Given to the Rising and three from 2004’s The Eye of Every Storm, with a song apiece from Times of Grace (“The Doorway”) and A Sun That Never Sets (“Crawl Back In”) thrown in for good measure. The band was touring behind Given to the Rising at the time, so their focus on that album is understandable. Still, their first ‘official’ live album might have benefited from a more diverse set.
But the more serious issue is Live at Roadburn’s inability to live up to the expectations established by Neurosis’s studio recordings—and by my own memories of their live sets. Given that this band’s music involves next to no improvisation and is highly contingent on tone, their material gains little on a live album, even one as well-recorded as Live at Roadburn. There’s simply no way to render these titan riffs as thick as they are on record or as everfucking loud as they are live.
I’m perhaps being too harsh in expecting a live album to reproduce the level of sensory stimulation derived from actually seeing Neurosis live—though the conclusion of “The Doorway” admittedly comes close. Live at Roadburn could conceivably serve to tide over fans who’ve never caught one of Neurosis’s increasingly rare performances, but it’s a mediocre substitute nonetheless.
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Honor Found In Decay
Souls At Zero (Reissue)
Enemy Of The Sun (Reissue)
Given to the Rising
The Eye of Every Storm