Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Neurosis – “Purify” from Through Silver in Blood (1996, Relapse)


It almost doesn’t even seem fair to have to try to describe Neurosis. This song has elements of being buried aliveindustrial music, and drumming that we always referred to, ignorantly, as tribal. Neurosis is a band that started with more of a straight ahead punk approach in the mid eighties, but were always real dark and real heavy, and seemed to spend the rest of their career looking inward with those two ideas in mind (for further proof of this ineradicable darkness, check the lyrics below).

I first heard Neurosis during the Through Silver in Blood era. At that time, my friends and I were listening to a lot of metal-influenced hardcore. I think there was always a sense among us that Neurosis was a hardcore-influenced metal band. They came from hardcore, but they didn’t need it, per se, and that was compelling.

There was a time in Minneapolis when just about every other dog-owning crust punk spare-changing passersby on the corner had on a Neurosis shirt. Contrast this with the fact that straightedge hardcore kids were devouring their records as well, and you get a sense of the sort of genre-busting influence of Neurosis in the nineties. In some ways, I think, a lot of what they were doing in those days paralleled what bands like Godpseed You Black Emperor and their ilk were doing more quietly.

In that spirit, let me close by mentioning that this song ends with the absolute heaviest bit of bagpiping anybody’s ever heard.

Blazing eye sees all
Nature of firey triumph
Patterns unfold
Whispers revealing
Path of spiral reaps
Fetal buried gold
Humbled in the womb
A centre opens
To the unknown
Can you feel your fate
Can you see you’re
Biding time hide
From your life
Drowning in the birth
Place of the sun
Descending the path
Of an ascending god
Purify my hells to
Climb the heavens
Sacrifice the flesh
Feeding solar visions
Set your mind to soil
Set your mind to soil
In darkness
Bringing light
A knowing old
A knowing wise
Flames to blades
On earth, stabbing
Scorching sacred lust
Fall back to stone
Fall back on spear