Our top 10 Neurosis songs list digs deep into the music of an American band esteemed for its post-metal/sludge metal sound. Neurosis was established in 1985 by bassist Dave Edwardson, drummer Jason Roeder, and vocalist/guitarist Scott Kelly. Initially, the band started as a hardcore punk as evidenced by its debut studio album Pain of Mind. However, later records showcase the band’s evolution to avant-garde metal, post-metal, and sludge metal sound influences.
Together with the English band Godflesh, Neurosis has been cited to be among the pioneers of post-metal, especially with their ‘90s records. While Neurosis has made post-metal and sludge metal its mainstays, its records feature experimental metal and doom metal influences, earmarking the band as a multi-dimensional metal band. Neurosis has seen its impressive music career inspire other metal acts including Mastodon, Isis, Slipknot, Wolves in the Throne Room, Yob, and Chelsea Wolfe.
Neurosis’ Career Beginnings and Breakthrough
In 1985, the youthful members of Neurosis came together in pursuit of a musical career inspired (or rather obsessed) with the crust punk/hardcore punk sound of the English bands, Discharge, Amebix, and Antisect. The crust punk/hardcore punk influences were heavily featured on the band’s debut studio album Pain of Mind, issued in 1987 through Alchemy Records. Outstanding songs from Pain of Mind include “Self-taught Infection,” “Black,” “Self-Taught Infection,” and the album title track.
However, Neurosis’ sophomore studio album The Word as Law, issued in 1990 through Lookout! Records, revealed the band’s slow but noteworthy progression to avant-garde metal. Additional members to the band’s lineup featured on The Word as Law including keyboardist Simon McIlroy and guitarist/vocalist Steve Von Till. Some of the best Neurosis songs from The Word as Law include “The Choice,” “Double-Edged Sword,” and To What End?”
The band managed to blend post-metal, sludge metal, and avant-garde metal influences in its third studio album Souls at Zero, issued in 1992 through Alternative Tentacles Records. Among the notable technical personnel contracted to work on this album was mixer Jello Biafra, best known for his contribution to the success of Lard and Dead Kennedys. “Takeahnase,” “Sterile Vision,” “The Web,” and “A Chronology for Survival” are some of the notable musical gems from Souls at Zero.
Other Album Releases by Neurosis
Neurosis returned the following year with its fourth studio album Enemy of the Sun. The album was quite momentous marking the band’s growing impact in the post-metal and sludge metal scene. “Lost,” “Raze the Sun,” and the album title track are some of the best Neurosis songs from the album.
Through Silver in Blood, issued in 1996, marked the band’s fifth studio album, and first release under Relapse Records. Other artists who have issued records through the label include Chris Connelly (known for his work with Ministry and Revolting Cocks), Dying Fetus, Obituary, Amorphis, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon, and Godflesh. “Locust Star,” “Through Silver in Blood,” and Aeon” are the most popular songs by Neurosis from this post-metal album.
In 1999, the band issued its sixth studio album Times of Grace through Relapse Records. Joining Neurosis in Times of Grace on the keyboards is Noah Landis, replacing the band’s former member Simon McIlroy. Times of Grace saw the band link up with Steve Albini in the production. Steve is best known for his work with PJ Harvey, Nirvana, Robert Plant, The Breeders, and Pixies. “Under the Surface,” “Away,” “Times of Grace,” and “The Doorway” are the best Neurosis songs from the album.
Neurosis teamed up once again with Steve Albini in working on its four-track extended play Sovereign, issued in 2000 through Neurot Records. Following up close was the band’s seventh studio album A Sun That Never Sets, issued in 2001 through Relapse Records. The album was quite a success featuring some of the fan-favorite tracks from Neurosis including “The Tide,” “Stones from the Sky,” “Crawl Back In,” and the title track.
In 2003, Neurosis issued a collaborative record entitled Neurosis & Jarboe with Jarboe, a former member of The Swans. The record was issued through Neurot Records featuring musical gems such as “Within” and “His Last Words.” Neurosis & Jarboe was closely followed up by the band’s eighth studio album The Eye of Every Storm. Among the top songs by Neurosis from the album include “Burn, “A Season in the Sky,” and “No River to Take Me Home.”
Given to the Rising, issued in 2007, marked the band’s ninth studio album. The album was Neurosis’ first full-length album issued through Neurot Records. Once again, the band used the services of Steve Albini in the production of this album. Given to the Rising was a mainstream success, rising to the thirty-first spot on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart. “Origin,” “Water is Not Enough,” and the album title track are the best Neurosis songs from the album.
In 2012, Neurosis issued its tenth studio album Honor Found in Decay. The album is yet another mainstream successful release, rising to the tenth spot on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart. Honor Found in Decay also made it to the Billboard Top Hard Rock Albums Chart, peaking at number twenty-three. “My Heart for Deliverance,” “At the Well,” and “We All Rage in Gold” are the most popular songs from the album.
Fire Within Fires, issued in 2016, marks the band’s eleventh and most recent studio album. The album made it to the eighth spot on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart, rising to the twelfth spot on the Billboard Top Hard Rock Albums Chart. Fire Within Fires also made it to the thirty-ninth spot on the Billboard Top Rock Albums Chart. “Bending Light” and “A Shadow Memory” are the top musical gems by Neurosis from the album.
Neurosis’ Other Musical Pursuits and Legacy
Over the years, the band has explored multiple sub-genres of the metal sound while earning credit as a pioneering act in the post-metal scene. Neurosis has served as an inspiration to other metal bands including, Slipknot, Yob, Wolves in the Throne Room, Isis, Chelsea Wolfe, and Mastodon. With eleven studio albums to its name, Neurosis has been one of the most active bands in the metal scene.
Neurosis has been credited with the establishment of Neurot Records, an independent record label through which several bands, including Neurosis themselves, have issued recordings. The members of the Neurosis have been involved in multiple side projects including Tribes of Neurot, Battle of Mice, Shrinebuilder, Sleep, and Harvestman. Here we present the ten best Neurosis songs of all time.
#10- Times of Grace
Ushering us to the ten best Neurosis songs list is the haunting hit “Times of Grace.” The song serves as the album title track of Neurosis’ sixth studio album. “Times of Grace” features hard-hitting drum beats and guitar riffs, with each of the instruments seemingly battling it out for dominance. Nevertheless, the ominous guitar riffs and heavy drum beats are not enough to suppress the harmonic vibes of this hit.
In seven minutes, the band manages to give us a taste of its uncompromising blend of post-metal and sludge metal influences. Notably, “Times of Grace” features some elements of doom metal. Thanks to the doom metal influences in this song Neurosis manages to fully trash its earlier punk influences.
#9- My Heart for Deliverance
“My Heart for Deliverance” is by far the cornerstone of Neurosis’ tenth studio album Honor Found in Decay. The song proves the band’s continued excellence at penning masterpieces. However, the greatest takeaway from this song is the band’s ability to fuse (and balance) the brutality of metal offerings and the agonizing atmospheric experimentations.
“My Heart for Deliverance” unleashes a Swans-Esque groove which tells of the band’s endless pursuits of experimental rock. However, the song’s atmospheric sounds do not compromise Neurosis’ heavy guitar riffs which serve as the backbone of the band’s post-metal pursuits. The song features narration by Anna Brown at its eighth minute.
#8- Through Silver in Blood
Coming in at the eighth spot on our ten best Neurosis songs list is the hypnotic hit “Through Silver in Blood.” The song serves as the album title track of the band’s fifth studio album. “Through Silver in Blood” features some slow yet hard-hitting guitar riffs which give the song a hard-edge feel. It is the monolithic guitar riffs in songs like “Through Silver in Blood” that went on to influence other metal bands such as Mastodon, Isis, Slipknot, and Wolves in the Throne Room.
While “Through Silver in Blood” possesses doom-laden guitar riffs, the hardcore roots of the band can still be felt from afar. This incredible twelve-minute lead track sets the pace for the following later recordings showcasing in totality the diverse experimentation of Neurosis in this album.
#7- No River to Take Me Home
Spellbinding, dark, and superbly heavy is the hit “No River to Take Me Home,” a song featured on the band’s eighth studio album The Eye of Every Storm. The song has its lyrics alluding to the singer’s struggle with grief and fear, albeit finding him resolving to accept these two seemingly monstrous feelings.
Scott’s vocals on this hit are quite compelling for metal heads. While “No River to Take Me Home” kicks off with heavy post-metal sounds, the song sporadically manages to bring experimental metal influences. Like most of the songs on The Eye of Every Storm, “No River to Take Me Home” serves as an embodiment of Neurosis’ exploration of musical ideas and emotions as well.
Number six on our ten best Neurosis songs list is the haunting hit “Lost.” The song is among the top musical gems from the band’s fourth studio album Enemy of the Sun. “Lost” kicks off with a vocal sample from the 1990 drama film The Sheltering Sky. The song serves as a perfect introduction to the band’s ‘more focused’ approach to churning more sludge metal and post-metal sounds compared to earlier albums.
The impressive bass intro and squeaking guitar riffs give the song an alluring feel. However, the drums in this song steal the show—You ought to love how Jason Roeder controls the tempo of the song (sometimes speeding it up). “Lost” was the first song of eight tracks performed by Neurosis at the 2017 Roskilde Festival. Other rock bands that graced the stage at the Roskilde Festival in 2017 include Foo Fighters, Slowdive, Anthrax, The Lumineers, and Against Me!
#5- A Sun That Never Sets
By the time Neurosis issued its seventh album A Sun That Never Sets, the band had already made its mark as a force to reckon with in the post-metal/sludge metal scene. However, songs like the album title track to this LP tried to push the band’s sound to higher limits with its crushing experimental metal influences. Nevertheless, the song maintains quite an aggressive feel despite its slow tempo.
Its sludgy guitar riffs also add to its resemblance to the band’s signature sound. The song serves its listeners with Scott Kelly’s clean vocals, albeit with tinges of hardcore influences. “A Sun That Never Sets” oozes melancholy making it quite a tempestuous avant-garde metal/sludge metal hit.
#4- Enemy of the Sun
The fourth pick on our ten best Neurosis songs list is the impressive hit “Enemy of the Sun.” “Enemy of the Sun” serves as the album title track of the band’s fourth studio album. The song sounds creepy—Even more, Scott Kelly’s vocals are almost inaccessible. So, what makes this a top gem? Tearing through the musical flesh of this hit, we get close to Neurosis’ unadulterated post-metal/sludge metal DNA in the song’s instrumental, vocal delivery, and the lyrics’ thematic approach. “Enemy of the Sun” optimally blends the aforementioned elements making it a masterpiece worth its rank on our top ten Neurosis songs list.
#3- Under the Surface
“Under the Surface” is yet another awe-inspiring offering from the band’s sixth studio album Time of Grace. The song features some punishing guitar riffs that spice its heaviness with some menacing feel. However, something more appealing happens in the song, making it one of the most rewarding tracks by Neurosis off Times of God—we are talking about the band’s evident maturity in its songwriting.
The introduction of producer Steve Albini (who worked with Pixies, Nirvana, Robert Plant, and PJ Harvey) saw the band take on a more established songwriting style. “Under the Surface” leads the pack of songs that ooze metaphoric approaches to the misfortunes of life in its lyrics. The success of Times of Grace saw the band trust Steve with the production of most of its later releases.
#2- The Tide
“The Tide” is the most fascinating hit off the band’s seventh studio album A Sun That Never Sets. Introducing us to the utter musical beauty of this track is the signature crushing sludge metal riffs, which make Scott and Steve a magical duo on the guitars. Scott’s individual brilliance is showcased in this song by his searing clean vocals. With “The Tide,” Neurosis manages to capture smoothly the depth of emotional feelings. The song gets a little melodic, thanks to beautiful violin tunes from Kris Force.
#1- Locust Star
Number one on our top ten Neurosis songs is the pulsating hit “Locust Star.” The song is Neurosis’ signature hit from the band’s fifth studio album Through Silver in Blood. “Locust Star” finds the band serving us with its usual aggressive post-metal sounds albeit with tinges of dark ambient influences. The song is the closest ever release from Through Silver in Blood by the band to become a hit.
It is anthemic hooks and aggressive vocal delivery that makes “Locust Star” stand out. “Locust Star” was among the fan-favorite his performed by the band during the 1997 Ozzfest Festival. Other bands that graced the stage at the 1997 Ozzfest Festival include Black Sabbath, Machine Head, Pantera, and Fear Factory, to name a few. Eyehategod’s sludge metal-oriented third studio album Dopesick is the closest record of 1996 to have come close to Neurosis’ album Through Silver in Blood.
Top 10 Neurosis Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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