Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Neurosis played in Perth last week. Bet many people didn’t ever think they’d get to say that sentence in their lives but, after nearly 30 years of waiting, who could blame them? These genre-defying heavy pioneers lived a lifetime of toils, rapture and spoils before they set foot on Australian soil for the first time. Though experiencing these weathered musicians in the flesh was worth every single second of anticipation as they proved they are still are – and will always be – a world above anyone else in their game.
What better pairing on the night than with locals Drowning Horse opening? Stepping out to play before they ramp down on the live front for a while, this act is just as enthralling as the headliners – and it was easy to draw comparisons between the two. Obviously huge fans of the Californian post-metal titans themselves, this five-piece consistently work to redefine what constitutes heavy music – with silence proving to be just as deafening as the most crushing guitar notes. Drummer James Will’s impeccable style is always proving to be a focal point; he even moved away from the kit to add trombone tones at one stage.
A short time later and the room fell silent. Neurosis entered the stage silently, with not a single person from the crowd uttering a word. The air was thick. Without any introductions, the first lethargic and dulcet opening bars of The Sun That Never Sets signaled the start of one of the most harrowing live sets ever to grace the Capitol stage.
The sheer presence and chemistry of vocalists Steve Von Till and Scott Kelly rang of true artistic conviction in each word they roared. “The blood that flows through me is not my own,” spat Kelly at the peak of their debut track. Unsurprisingly leaning on an array of songs from their most recent effort, Honor Found In Decay (2012) signals a new era for the band – not only musically, but visually also. Departing from longstanding visual artist Josh Graham around the album release date, it was interesting to see the set unfold without visions of exploding suns pressing over the band. The result equaled a stripped-back version of Neurosis – yet one that was rawer and more intimidating than ever before.
Moments included the apocalyptic tides of Locust Star, featured on the standout 1996 offering Through Silver And Blood, Water Is Not Enough from Given To The Rising (2007) and My Heart For Deliverance off their latest album. Ending off on The Sun That Never Sets, from the 2001 album of the same name, the crowd and band were utterly spent. This night was about purging the darkest recesses of your soul and being reborn – emotionally, physically and spiritually. And each of us certainly walked this path with a band we had all idolised for so long.