A Sun That Never Sets [DVD]

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While a lot of touring bands use film presentations in a live setting, perennial underground apocalyptic rockers Neurosis always kept its projected visuals as gritty as the clubs in which they were playing, syncing bleak imagery with their equally progressive, difficult music. So it was only a matter of time until the wildly creative Oakland outfit -- which explores the nether regions of Sabbath-y metal, Swans-style dirges, and Black Flagged hardcore, and diverges into sonic experimentation with its ambient/instrumental alter-ego Tribes of Neurot -- expanded its artistic vision into the DVD cosmos. Essentially, the DVD version of A Sun That Never Sets is a super-enhanced version of the corresponding (and quite underrated) album of the same name, following the CD's track listing to the letter and lending the songs further depth with corresponding videos. Of course, there's nothing typical about Neurosis' first exploration into the home video medium, the group setting aside any music-video/live-clip clich├ęs for abstract visual collages mixed with performance-art footage and impressionist shots of the band performing -- not entirely unlike the band's live shows. Whether or not you find this at all interesting depends both on how willing you are to completely submerge into the murky depths of Neurosis' life-and-death life-cycle philosophies, and on your use of chemical enhancements while watching it. Also included on the DVD is a disturbing Tribes of Neurot interpretation of the Sun That Never Sets album (the group recorded and re-recorded the sound of the album playing in a room 30 times over, creating overwhelming harmonic ringing tones which are virtually unrecognizable from the original songs; the fascinating and convoluted process is detailed in the DVD booklet), which is accompanied by video of an oscilloscope signal combined with more improvised visual textures. Certainly, the DVD package as a whole is a mind-expanding brain-bender, to be appreciated by the band's small, but worshipful cult of fans, the whole project being characteristically uninhibited (or unhinged?). Really, no less should be expected from Neurosis -- this is a wildly creative endeavor, especially when compared to the standard live show/behind-the-scenes-interviews formula of most rock acts' DVDs..

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