Enemy of the Sun

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In retrospect, pitch-black goth/tribal/metal noise apocalypses shot through with found sound samples would become a common enough thing, at least if one lived with Godspeed You Black Emperor! fans. But in 1993, Neurosis, and in a different but related way Swans, were practically on their own, and on Enemy of the Sun Neurosis built upon the reach and power of Souls at Zero to create another masterpiece of on-the-edge, high-volume rampage that resists easy genre classification. Consisting of eight songs, for the most part again constructed with the deliberate arrangements familiar from the earlier album, Enemy of the Sun once more finds the common ground between a variety of approaches, whether it be rough-voiced grindcore (there's a definite Godflesh jones more than once) or operatic chant/synth mixes. More than once the rhythm section takes a certain stage without having to spell it out -- the frenetic work on the title track, especially by Jason Roeder as lead drummer, is truly fierce. Sometimes the shift between extremes can be, well, extreme -- witness "Raze the Stray" suddenly changing the volume level from one to ten -- but note as well how the opening piano can still be heard amidst the full feedback chaos, a sign that the band knows exactly what they are doing. The use of contextual samples once again shows its effectiveness, notably with the news report regarding a notorious Vietnam War-era incident that makes up most of "Burning Flesh in Year of Pig." A couple of more straightforward songs here and there like "Cold Ascending" get made up for easily with the concluding monster, "Cleanse." With tribal percussion provided by both bandmembers and guests, including general noise rock guru Mason Jones, its combination of drums, vocal snippets, and didgeridoo makes for a mystical, unnerving half-hour conclusion.

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