There's something a little jarring about a band that started out playing hardcore punk (and has always retained a sort of punk ethos) evolve toward something that reminds me a lot of 70s prog rock (esp. Red-era King Crimson), but that doesn't stop me from loving this album. I find myself coming back to this one pretty often.
The glint remains. The glint from staring into the consuming flame...the glint from the brilliant flash of lightning connecting Earth and Sky...the glint from the lawman’s flashlight intruding your vision. After you close your eyes the glint remains, and it remains because of its importance.
For Oakland, California’s Neurosis, their entire catalog can be considered brilliant not only for its sonic merit but also for its need to wander from the beaten path. Rare is it that a band can make you feel the cold and hard texture of concrete while allowing you to smell the growing vine in the confines of one song. Countless bands have borrowed from the table of Neurot...from Isis and Pelican to High On Fire and Mastodon. Neurosis is pure emotion, in every positive or negative form. Their first offering Pain Of Mind (1988) set a powerful foundation of punk-influenced scathing that attracted the musical labels “post-hardcore” and “post-thrash”, while 1990’s The Word As Law broadened the band’s musical scope by blending influence from such left-field artists as King Crimson and Melvins into their crossover concoction.
Souls At Zero is Neurosis’ first flash of true brilliance. Never before were they able to show their passions and exploratory needs so eloquently, while still keeping their musical hearth concussive and visceral. Synthesizers, acoustic guitars and other non-traditional instruments came into play, as did tribal chants and an ethereal smokescreen which enabled Neurosis to shapeshift from one musical being to another. “Sterile Vision” breathes with a barbaric folk tinge, while the menacing industrial rhythms of “Flight” and “The Web” steamroll through the senses. No more did the band simply write songs, Souls At Zero delivered soundscapes that invoke beauty, woe, celebration and betrayal within its 10 original songs. The maniacal trepidation of “Zero” acts as the ying to the melancholic yang of “Empty”, a perfect example of the balance displayed within the album. Neurosis’ expansion into the uncompromising and groundbreaking act that they are now began here, making the importance of Souls At Zero larger than even the band could ever know at the time. This album is the glint that never leaves your aural vision, no matter how hard you try to escape it. A catastrophic tinnitus that you hope won’t go away.
Neurot Records is proud to reissue this perpetual flame of a release while celebrating the band's 25 years of brilliance. With demo version additions of “Zero” and the title track along with a bonus live cut “Cleanse III”, this updated release is the perfect portal to witness the development of underground music’s titan force. Artwork by the revered Josh Graham completes an awesome package worthy of timeless worship.
released August 9, 1999
In 1992, Neurosis was:
Scott Kelly - guitar, vocals
Steve Von Till - guitar, vocals
Dave Edwardson - bass, vocals
Simon McIlroy - keyboards, tapes, samples
Jason Roeder - drums
Adam Kendall - visual media
Additional musicians on this recording:
Kris Force - violin, viola
Sarah Augros - flute
Walter P. Sunday - cello
Siobhan King - trumpet
All music, words, arrangements by Neurosis
(C) 1992, Neurot Music (ASCAP)
Recorded and mixed at Starlight Sound, Richmond, CA, Feb-Mar 1992
Engineered by Bill Thompson
Assistant engineers; Malcom Sherwood, Jeff Fogerty, Jeffrey Gray
Produced by Neurosis
Mixed by Neurosis and Jello Biafra
"Souls (Demo Version)" & "Zero (Demo Version)" recorded by Bart Thurber, Oct. 1991
"Cleanse III (Live in London)" recorded by Malcom Sherwood, May 1996
Artwork by Josh Graham
Road crew - Pete the Roadie
Live sound - Dave Clark
NEUROSIS is music. Music in the same way that Wagner is music. Or that it all comes down. Or the graying granite planet we
call home is both the cradle and coffin of all desire and hopes and expression forces its way through us and into wires and out of speakers framing a journey from here to there and not back again. Ever. This is a one-way trip....more
supported by 311 fans who also own “Souls at Zero”
When I first discovered this album in 2008 it opened up a whole new soundscape to me. It was really something else. The slow pace and the repetitive melodic patterns drew me in completely. It hasn't lost any of its magic during the years. rowsu