My expectations for Neurosis were amazingly high. They are legendary, i'd been listening to them for years, and i'd never had a chance to see them live. Oddly enough, i didn't know what to expect. I had no image for them to live up to. It was curiously blank. A sound tech bowed to the crowd, and the lights dropped.

Neurosis have one of the most powerful stage presences i've ever sensed. Their guitars sound like plate tectonics, the bass and drums kick you in the intestines for a couple of hours, and you love every second of it!

Seemingly coming from more of a hardcore punk rock than heavy metal; they are cleaner, tighter, fiercer, more focused. Metal is inherently hairy, sort of fuzzy. Its kind of adorable in its own way. Hardcore is a different beast all together; all about purity, transcendence, all about evolution. Throughout their set, they played against a backdrop of fire, wolves, trees, flowers opening. I got the sense that they feel nature is pure, and that mankind is flawed; that we need to cleanse ourselves and build a new society. Their live performances are a ritual to invoke that new society. People who witness the spectacle are moved by the experience.

Sonically, they covered the diverse range of their whole career, from stomping headbangers to semi-acoustic dirges, that reminded me of Steve Von Till's solo work. Keyboard flourishes, and layered vocals kept things interesting, with Steve Von Till, Scott Kelly, and Dave Edwardson all providing guttural howling. The amount of growling can be a bit much for me, and it will probably be a turn-off for non-'heads, but i think that's part of the point. This is underground music, speaking to a very specific cross-section of the populace. Music for initiates. I was beaten into submission for an hour-and-a-half, beaten into exhaustion. I crawled off to the bus, staggered home at 3 am, to dream and to process.

It is only now, the day after, that i am beginning to appreciate what i witnessed. My eyes are ears are fresh to the Northwest; life is brand-new. I am wondering what kind of person i will become. Sitting in the backyard of my friends' house, listening to Given to the Rising, Neurosis' most recent non-Live record, looking up lyrics and set-lists on a Macbook, i have been noticing running themes of topics that i have been exploring this summer: death, rebirth; nature, humanity; magick, self-realization, and using music as a means to get there. They are a powerful band of wizards, summoning dark matter for devotees in the middle of the night; for the urban commandoes and wiccans and druids and vampires. A soundtrack for spiritual warriors who don't dress in flowy skirts or gowns. Some of us are born to endless night. Some of us will go down with our boots on. Some of us get down and dirty by the fireside. They harness mystery through volume, loud guitars, heavy bass, and screaming. It sounds fucking awesome. They know precisely what they're doing.

See this band live. Do it. Do not sleep. You've been told.

Neurosis, Roseland Theater 9.10.11
Portland, Or

Set List

Locust Star
Given to the Rising
End of the Harvest
At the Well
Water is not Enough
At the End of the Road
Killing Elk
Through Silver in Blood