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Neurosis live at Boston, MA’s Paradise Rock Club


Neurosis has soldiered on for 30 years – much of that time with an unwavering lineup – and progressed from their hardcore roots through experimental sludge to the dawn of post-metal with nary a misstep along the way. Their live shows, rare and sacred events in recent years, are the stuff of legend. In short, they have a bulletproof reputation, and they’ve earned it. Naturally, their announcement of a proper summer tour this year, their largest in quite some time, stirred up a bit of excitement.

Outside Boston’s Paradise Rock Club on August 8th, it was a familiar scene: lots of black jeans, Tryptikon t-shirts and dudes who definitely look like they could be Scott Kelly’s stunt double. All the people you recognize from heavy shows of disparate subgenres around town were there – because it was Neurosis. People who had to go through Herculean efforts to get to the city were there – because it was Neurosis. People who can’t stand this venue and vowed to never come back were there – because it was Neurosis. Though New England was graced with an appearance from the band a mere two years ago in Providence, excitement was still palpable.

A bevy of openers awaited the sold-out crowd before Neurosis took the stage just after 11, but it was a diverse and well-curated lot that captivated rather than inspiring people to check their watches. Portland, OR duo The Body, up first, shrieked and pounded their way through a characteristically dissonant set. Their live assault works best in a more claustrophobic space, but the band held its own in a bigger room. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, fronted by Tad Doyle of Seattle grunge-metal underdogs Tad, brought a more expansive sound. The four-piece conjured up psych-tinged sludge in multi-part epics that never headed exactly where you expected them to.

Sumac put on the most impressive of the opening sets; a vicious power-trio ripping into relentless, airtight jams. Isis’ Aaron Turner, who never stopped headbanging, unless it was to start screaming, was a force of nature on guitar and vocals, and drummer Nick Yacyshyn played with a visceral precision. They’re a riveting live band, and the fact that they’ve only been a band in any capacity since last year is pretty astounding.

Neurosis emerged at last, shrouded in darkness as the night’s fourth and final act. They sounded no less cosmic of course. The band had no new record to promote, their last being 2012’s Honor Found in Decay, but that gave them a perfect opportunity to offer up a retrospective on their illustrious career. Opening with the title track from 2001’s A Sun That Never Sets, the band spent nearly two hours traversing the breadth of their discography.

They could sound gorgeous and they could sound crushing, often within the same song. The band’s progression and innovation was evident when you juxtaposed songs like “My Heart For Deliverance” and “Through Silver and Blood” in the same set, and it stood to reinforce how good Neurosis are at what they do, and how long they have been.

Neurosis are veterans, but they perform with the conviction of a younger band. They don’t play their instruments so much as they wield them, raining down all-consuming heaviness on their audience, but with brief respites that demonstrate their mastery of dynamics. Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till match one another beat for beat with barking, throat-scraping vocals and guitars held aloft, and secret-weapon keyboardist Noah Landis rocks his instruments back and forth, physically transmitting the gravity of each song.

This wasn’t a Neurosis performance that offered something we’ve never seen before, but that’s fine. A reinforcement of one of metal’s most inventive and enduring bands is never something to balk at. They delivered the sort of powerful, barricade-rattling set that affirms the legacy they’ve earned.

—Ben Stas

The Body



Brothers of the Sonic Cloth




















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