|Ambient, Post-Hardcore, Progressive Sludge, Tribal
Alternative Tentacles, Neurot Recordings (2010)
August 17th, 1993
Release length: 1:16:14
There really is no denying how influential this album was, especially for the time it was originally released. There is also no denying how important an album Enemy of the Sun is even today. For the band to make such a jump to the style of music presented here truly took a great deal of brilliance to pull together, and in the long run, it’s quite obvious just by listening to the album. While “Lost” may take a little while to pick up due to the amount of feedback utilized, and the matching higher pitched vocals presented. Both of these are enough to make the listeners fillings in their teeth vibrate if the volume is high enough, but after that, Enemy of the Sun becomes a real experience, and even “Lost” will become of your favorite songs off here as it progresses into a very heavy Sludge filled track that brings in sound clips to set a nice ambience to the song at the start and the end. This track really does a great job setting the album up for the listener, as there isn’t much else to expect from this album that wasn’t presented on this track except for more tribal-based music, especially in the drumming, and some true ambient moments outside of a specific atmosphere brought on by various elements of the music working together.
As far as the tribal elements go, the first real taste of this aspect to the song writing of Neurosis doesn’t really show until the start of “Cold Ascending”. The song does a great job utilizing tribal drums against some very awkward sounding guitars and twanging bass, all of which stand out on their own and really make the first part of this song so enjoyable. As it continues, it progresses into a faster pace, deterring slightly from the tribal material for just a little bit as the vocals chime in, heading more into the Sludge atmosphere that much of the album seems to stem greatly from, but as the song continues, it goes back into the tribal beat once more, which continues into “Lexicon”, which is really the first time you’ll hear the Ambient aspect of this band come into play as they blend together some futuristic sounds, an audio clip, and a little free form Jazz into the mix to make a rather unique, yet oddly catchy song. Of course, this doesn’t mean the band’s roots are completely eliminated, as there is a strong Hardcore presence in the title track “Enemy of the Sun”, which is very predominant in the music throughout, but there is still some tribal mysticism going on here a little more then half way through when the song seemlessly slows down and jumps right into some tribal sounding drums that carry the song until the matching guitars kick in and the song continues to pick up pace before returning to the tribal drums only once more, making this one of the most impressive cuts on the release.
There really aren’t any moments were the music seems to be held back, or even brings the album down. Yes, the start of “Lost” isn’t the most flattering to the album, but the song does pick up and make up for the off sounding vocals. In addition to that, there’s also “The Time of the Beasts”, which is definitely one of the more Ambient based tracks on the release, and it does it’s job well. The problem is that it’s just not all that impressive most of the time. “The Time of the Beasts” lasts for a solid eight minutes, as you get about half way through, things start to sound a bit repetitive and, in the end, wind up becoming a bit bland, leaving the listener open for distractions until some sound effects kick in about two thirds of the way through the song, leaving it to ring out with keyboards and tribal drumming, the latter of which is carried over into the closing song, “Cleanse”, an instrumental track composed prodominantly of this tribal drumming that is simply jaw dropping, and nicely complimented with some additional Australian Didgeridoo in the background.
This edition (2010 Reissue) of the album features the same bonus materials as the 1993 reissue. The only difference here is that it features altered artwork, and a slipcase that features the same artwork, but in a greyscale with a little red in it, and the track listing where the barcode was on the actual jewelcase artwork. Other then that, nothing has changed, and really just seems to be out there to replace the discontinued 1993 reissue of the album. For fans who didn’t get this before, it makes for a nice piece, but if you already own the previous reissue from Neurot Records, then there’s really no substantial reason to pick this one up to outside of being an avid collector or die hard Neurosis fan. Well, that or if you like the altered artwork moreso then the original.
Enemy of the Sun makes for a fantastic musical trip that not many bands, especially in it’s day of release, are able to capture so easily or ellequently. If you’re into a more experimental type of sound, then this early Neurosis gem is definitely something that should be taken into heavy consideration. It’s practically flawless, only having a few elements that leave the listeneing a little less interested, but enough moments that will draw him or her right back into the fray. However, as far as the reissues go, either one would suffice over the original, mostly thanks to the two bonus tracks included, but which one at this point would be a personal choice.
01. Lost – 9:41
02. Raze the Stray – 8:41
03. Burning Flesh in Year of Pig – 1:37
04. Cold Ascending – 4:35
05. Lexicon – 5:41
06. Enemy of the Sun – 7:33
07. The Time of the Beasts – 7:59
08. Cleanse – 15:51
|Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10
2010 Reissue Score: 9/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by Neurot Recordings.