Usually I can only manage one review a week, but luckily (or not) Hurricane Sandy offered me a day off from work to drink beer and digest the new Neurosis record.
THE RECORD: Neurosis- Honor Found In Decay– Neurot Recordings 2012
The weather outside today matches this record pretty well- dark, heavy winds, rain- hurricanes are pretty metal as far as weather goes. But also like destructive weather, there is something beautiful in it as well. In fact, the title of this record, Honor Found In Decay kind of sums that idea up pretty well. It’s a great record for days like this when you have time to sit and really listen carefully- considering almost half the tracks are over 10 minutes long, it’s an album that requires a little more time. and that’s not a bad thing.
The first track, which has been made available as an online stream in several places, is “We All Rage In Gold”. First of all, I love this title. It brings to mind the imagery of an uproar that also has a contrasting grandeur to it. The lyrics discuss death and annihilation(“Death was my first companion/It showed me life and it snuffed it out”), but also nature (“The sky it holds my father/The sun recalls my soul”).
Scott Kelly’s vocals are unrelenting on every track- low, growling- moving seamlessly from slow, almost spoken-word to a heavy snarl. “Bleeding The Pigs” gets downright terrifying in the first few minutes. Only some random drumbeats in the background and guitar riffs that come in to punctuate Scott’s vocals. It soon starts to gain momentum about 3 minutes in, gets quiet again, and then this massive riff comes back in, keeping the sound huge until the end as the mix fades out.
I’m a big fan of great orchestration and Neurosis really brings that to to the forefront of this record. There are so many small pieces that stand out really effectively. “At The Well” has a killer bagpipe part about 4 and a half minutes in. I also love the end to “Raise the Dawn”- a simple violin that fades out is a really fitting end to this record.
Hurricane or no hurricane- just sit down and spend some time listening to this record.
THE BREW: Pepe Nero- Goose Island Brewing- Chicago, IL
I’ve been getting into Goose Island’s vintage line of beers a lot lately- they’re all very well done and I haven’t found a bad one yet. I wanted something dark for today, and found the Pepe Nero to be perfect. I usually crave stouts but today I wanted something dark in a different way. Pepe Nero is a Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale brewed with peppercorns. I was a little skeptical at first, but the peppery notes are very subtle. It’s dark, but not overly heavy. It pours a thick, cream-colored frothy head, and is deep espresso in color. This beer uses a blend of Saaz and Pilgrim hops, giving both earthy and citrus notes.
THE PAIRING: Again, today is about the dark and beautiful. This is a dark, yet elegant brew. Like the record, the beer has a lot of small nuances that come out as you taste/listen carefully. I do often pair dark stouts and porters with heavier records, and while this definitely covers the “dark” part, I wanted to do something that had more details and interesting elements in it for this. As this album is one I would recommend sitting for awhile and listening to, the same goes with Pepe Nero. There is a lot going on with this beer and it’s one that you can sit and enjoy, with more flavors and aromas coming out as it sits and breathes for awhile.