NEUROSIS - The Word As Law
September 5, 2017, 17 days ago
This 1990 album is looked back on as a turning-point release for the mighty Neurosis, the band taking their punk roots and starting to incorporate a more thoughtful, expansive sound. Sure, 1992’s Souls At Zero was where things really started to take off, but The Word As Law, here reissued by the band’s own Neurot Recordings, showed a huge step up in maturity and ambition from 1987 debut Pain Of Mind. How does it hold up today? Surprisingly well, actually: you never know how much slightly apocalyptic weirdo punk with crust and doom influences hits the spot until you put it on, and songs like great opener “Double Edged Sword” and the “Obsequious Obsolescence,” which hints at the band’s doomy future, prove.
“Tomorrow’s Reality,” crushing closer “Blisters”, and “To What End?” also made it very clear that these guys were ready to move ahead to loftier musical heights (those songs also make the fact that this was originally released on punk mainstay Lookout! Records endlessly entertaining and mind-boggling). Neurosis has chosen to not add any extra material here (previous reissues contained bonus songs), and what a great decision that is: we don’t need to hear demo or live versions of these songs, we need to hear the album as it originally was, just remastered to get with the times a bit. This works as a fascinating look back at a truly unique band’s beginnings, but also shreds on its own merits all these years later, which is very impressive.