Neurosis - Sovereign
Here is another Neurosis reissue, as the band, via its own Neurot label, continues its focus on its history. And what a history it has been. "Sovereign," originally released as a four song EP in 2000, is now available as a five song set in both vinyl and CD. This is one of the more compelling reissues, allowing as it does a chance to hear the band at the relative beginning of their career, and to notice just how many of the pieces were already in place for what was to come.
The haunting, meditative "Prayer" leads off with a slow, minimal riff that is pensive but tense throughout, with occasional bursts of catharsis. This is the dark holy power that bands like Alice in Chains, for all their greatness, could only rarely express. "An Offering" doesn't really kick in with anything close to that power until the last few of its seven minutes; before that is a more or less generic prog exercise, one clearly hampered by the hangover from "Prayer."An instrumental, "Flood," follows, mostly allowing drummer Jason Roeder to show off his considerable chops. He keeps a martial rhythm all the way as the guitars build on layers of atmospherics.
The thirteen minute plus title track is the centerpiece, and is epic in feel and delivery. Guitarist/singer Scott Kelly lets loose full force on the vocals, and his guitar anchors a melody that ranges from prog ambient to blistering riff to drone. "Misgiven" is an odd little closer, almost pure noise in the fashion of Merzbow or Macronympha. A surprising and cheeky edition to their catalog.
"Soverign" displays all the gritty power and soaring drama that Neurosis has consistently been capable of in its almost thirty year history. They keep rolling along with passion and precision, and this reissue shows that that has been part of their sound from the get-go.
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