Live at Roadburn 2007

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Nine songs in 77:30. Neurosis don't do anything on a small scale. Their brand of slow, epic metal (with ambient interludes and proggy ballads) has won them a fervent cult following, and this live album captures the experience of one of their shows about as well as any fan could hope. The set is dynamic and fairly wide-ranging; one-third is devoted to their then-new studio album, Given to the Rising, but they also play tracks from The Eye of Every Storm and Times of Grace, blending it all into a seamless, if ponderous, whole. Neurosis don't seem to be about catharsis as much as displays of stamina -- they're gonna bash away at this crushingly heavy riff for ten minutes straight, and if you can stick with 'em the whole time, good for you. It's not unlike the trick Swans were pulling around the time of Children of God or Greed/Holy Money, but with slightly more instrumental virtuosity and a greater feel for dynamics; the loudness is balanced by drones that aren't quite soft, but are oddly soothing. Special attention should be paid to the mix, which is phenomenal; every note the band plays is crystal clear, and the crowd noise is impeccably recorded as well, mixing applause and approving comments that hover just below the threshold of decipherability. If you're a Neurosis fan, you couldn't ask for a better document of their live show than this.

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