Neurosis (band)

Last updated

Neurosis 038.jpg
Neurosis live in Seattle, Washington in 2008
Background information
Origin Oakland, California, U.S.
Years active1985–present
Associated acts
Past members
  • Adam G. Kendall
  • Pete Inc.
  • Simon McIlroy
  • Chad Salter
  • Pete Rypins
  • Josh Graham

Neurosis is an American avant-garde metal band from Oakland, California. It was formed in 1985 by guitarist Scott Kelly, bassist Dave Edwardson, and drummer Jason Roeder, initially as a hardcore punk band. Chad Salter joined as a second guitarist and appeared on the band's 1987 debut Pain of Mind before being replaced by Steve Von Till in 1989. The following year, the lineup further expanded to include a keyboardist and a visual artist. Beginning with their third album Souls at Zero (1992), Neurosis developed a unique musical style crucial to the emergence of the post-metal and sludge metal genres.

Avant-garde metal subgenre of metal music

Avant-garde metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music loosely defined by use of experimentation and innovative, avant-garde elements, including non-standard and unconventional sounds, instruments, song structures, playing styles, and vocal techniques. Avant-garde metal is influenced by progressive rock and extreme metal, particularly death metal, and is closely related to progressive metal. Some local scenes include Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, and Seattle in the United States, Oslo in Norway, and Tokyo in Japan.

Oakland, California City in California, United States

Oakland is the largest city and the county seat of Alameda County, California, United States. A major West Coast port city, Oakland is the largest city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, the third largest city overall in the San Francisco Bay Area, the eighth most populated city in California, and the 45th largest city in the United States. With a population of 432,897 as of 2019, it serves as a trade center for the San Francisco Bay Area; its Port of Oakland is the busiest port in the San Francisco Bay, the entirety of Northern California, and the fifth busiest in the United States of America. An act to incorporate the city was passed on May 4, 1852, and incorporation was later approved on March 25, 1854, which officially made Oakland a city. Oakland is a charter city.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.


The band's lineup stabilized in 1995 with the addition of Noah Landis, who replaced Simon McIlroy on keyboards and electronics. That same year they formed the experimental music group Tribes of Neurot and in 1999 the record label Neurot Recordings. As of 2019, they have released 11 studio albums, garnering critical recognition. The BBC credited them with taking "heavy music to previously unimaginable spaces ... [and shaping] metal's definitive response to the 21st century." [1]

Noah Landis is the keyboard player for the Californian band Neurosis. His keyboard sound varies between textural and moody overlays, sampled effects/noises and the occasional hook. He is also a member of the experimental/noise band Tribes of Neurot, the band Blood and Time, and was the lead singer for Blister. He runs a small recording studio in Oakland and restores a vintage Chevrolet El Camino in his free time.

Experimental music is a general label for any music that pushes existing boundaries and genre definitions. Experimental compositional practice is defined broadly by exploratory sensibilites radically opposed to, and questioning of, institutionalized compositional, performing, and aesthetic conventions in music. Elements of experimental music include indeterminate music, in which the composer introduces the elements of chance or unpredictability with regard to either the composition or its performance. Artists may also approach a hybrid of disparate styles or incorporate unorthodox and unique elements.

Tribes of Neurot is an experimental music group formed by the members of Neurosis in 1995. Their music incorporates tribal sounds into ambient atmospheres.


Formation and early years (1985–1995)

In late 1985, Scott Kelly, Dave Edwardson, and Jason Roeder, formerly members of Violent Coercion, founded Neurosis as a hardcore punk outfit, inspired also by British crust punk in the vein of Amebix [2] and Crass.

Scott Kelly (musician) American musician

Scott Michael Kelly is one of three founding members of Oakland, California experimental metal band Neurosis, in which he is a vocalist and guitarist. He has been writing and publishing music since 1985 with Neurosis, Tribes of Neurot, Blood and Time and his solo acoustic project. He is also involved in a project named Shrinebuilder involving Al Cisneros, Scott Weinrich, and Dale Crover. The first album from Shrinebuilder was released in October 2009. He has also guested on six studio albums by the band Mastodon. In addition to his musical projects, Scott, along with his bandmates in Neurosis, is co-owner of Neurot Recordings. Beginning in April 2011 he began hosting a monthly 3 hour streaming radio show on Scion A/ channel 5 called KMBT. He previously owned and operated an Internet radio station of his own called that featured weekly shows from him as well as others such as Eugene S. Robinson, Joe Preston, and others. Since December 2008 Kelly has written a blog, named We Burn Through the Night. In addition to information about his projects this blog also offers personal thoughts and insights, as well as stories from his life experiences. He also has worked extensively as a solo artist, releasing 3 albums and doing over 400 solo performances worldwide since the year 2000. A native of the East Bay(VERY Far East) Kelly now resides with his wife Sarah and two youngest children in the woods of Southern Oregon. His most recent collaboration is an experimental noise project with Mike IX Williams, Sanford Parker, and Bruce Lamont. Corrections House will release a 7" record in early 2013 and began its experimentation on live audiences on January 21, 2013.

Dave Edwardson is the bassist and backing vocalist for the Californian sludge metal band Neurosis. He is also a member of experimental/noise group Tribes of Neurot. In 2002 he released the album Seize The Day with Oakland punk rock band The Enemies on Lookout! Records. He is also in J.F.C.(Jesus Fucking Christ), an Oakland punk trio, has played on numerous albums by I Am Spoonbender, and is the bass player in the light-hearted Bay Area punk rock group Kicker.

Jason Roeder American musician

Jason Roeder is the drummer of the Oakland-based metal bands Neurosis and Sleep.

In 1986 Chad Salter was added on second guitar, and in 1990, Simon McIlroy joined the band as a synthesizer/sampler [3] . There have only been a few changes in the lineup of Neurosis' musicians since band's inception. In 1989 guitarist/vocalist Chad Salter was replaced by Steve Von Till, and in 1995 Noah Landis, a childhood friend of Dave Edwardson, replaced Simon McIlroy as keyboardist. [4]

Steve Von Till is an American musician, best known as the singer and guitarist of experimental metal band Neurosis, replacing Chad Salter in 1989. He is also in Tribes of Neurot and Culper Ring, and records solo work under both his given name and the moniker Harvestman. His solo albums are composed of original songs and traditional folk arrangements, using minimalistic acoustic guitar and vocal styles.

With The Word as Law , Neurosis began to transition [5] from the hardcore punk of Pain of Mind to the more experimental sound of Souls at Zero , which would ultimately form the basis for post-metal [6] and atmospheric sludge metal. Neurosis' signature sound came into full force with Enemy of the Sun , with The Quietus observing that "at the time few could have predicted this black hole of agonizingly precise metal riffs, unnerving backmasking, industrial folkisms and extensive sampling". [5]

<i>The Word as Law</i> 1990 studio album by Neurosis

The Word as Law is the second studio album by Californian band Neurosis. It was released in 1990 through Lookout! Records, originally on LP only. In 1991, the album was released on CD with several re-recorded tracks from previous releases as bonus material.

<i>Pain of Mind</i> 1987 studio album by Neurosis

Pain of Mind is the debut studio album by Californian band Neurosis, originally released on Alchemy Records in 1987. It was later reissued by Alternative Tentacles in 1994 and by Neurot Recordings in 2000; the 2000 reissue contains a special bonus disc that includes live tracks, live radio tracks, and demo tracks. Pennsylvanian politician Robert "Budd" Dwyer is pictured on the front cover of the 1994 vinyl release moments before he committed suicide during a televised press conference in 1987.

<i>Souls at Zero</i> 1992 studio album by Neurosis

Souls at Zero is the third studio album by Californian avant-garde metal band Neurosis. The name was taken from a chapter in the book The Great and Secret Show by horror writer Clive Barker. The album was released in 1992 under the Alternative Tentacles record label. It was later reissued in 1999 with bonus tracks on the band's own Neurot Recordings label. On February 15, 2010, the album was reissued on CD and digitally with new artwork under Neurot. On February 14, 2012, a fully remastered version was released on vinyl via Relapse Records.

Through Silver in Blood to The Eye of Every Storm (1996–2004)

In 1996, Neurosis attracted mainstream attention with its Relapse Records debut, Through Silver in Blood and subsequent tour with Pantera. [7] [4] In 1999, Neurosis released Times of Grace, which was designed to be played synchronously with Grace , an album released by Neurosis' ambient side project, Tribes of Neurot.

Relapse Records record label in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, United States

Relapse Records is an American independent record label based in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. It was founded by Matthew F. Jacobson in 1990. The label features a large number of grindcore, death metal, and sludge metal artists.

<i>Through Silver in Blood</i> 1996 studio album by Neurosis

Through Silver in Blood is the fifth album from the California-based avant-garde metal band Neurosis. The album was released on April 23, 1996, and was their first record to be released through Relapse Records. The album was reissued in July 2009 on the band's own label, Neurot Recordings. Since its release, Through Silver in Blood has been recognized not only as the band's critical and popular peak, but as one of the sources of post-metal and as one of the best metal albums of all time.

Pantera American heavy metal band

Pantera was an American heavy metal band from Arlington, Texas. The group was formed in 1981 by the Abbott brothers—drummer Vinnie Paul and guitarist Dimebag Darrell—along with lead vocalist Terry Glaze. Bassist Rex Brown joined the band the following year, replacing Tommy D. Bradford, who was the unofficial original. Having started as a glam metal band, Pantera released four albums during the 1980s. Looking for a new and heavier sound, Pantera replaced Glaze with Phil Anselmo in late 1986 and released Power Metal in 1988. With its fifth album, 1990's Cowboys from Hell, Pantera introduced the groove metal genre, while its 1992 follow-up Vulgar Display of Power exhibited an even heavier sound. Far Beyond Driven (1994) debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. In addition to their contribution to the groove metal genre, Pantera is credited for being part of the second wave of thrash metal scene in the early-to-mid 1990s.

In the early 2000s, the band founded their own independent record label, Neurot Recordings, which, in addition to releasing material from Neurosis and its associated projects, signed several other artists. [8]

Beginning with A Sun That Never Sets , Neurosis began incorporating clean vocals and acoustic instrumentation with a growing folk music influence, more noted presence of classical string instruments (which had been used sparsely since Souls At Zero) as well as slower tempos and a more contemplative sound. Allmusic described this change as an "aesthetic sea change". [9] 2004's The Eye of Every Storm expanded upon this change by incorporating more ambient textures into the mix and presenting a softer post-rock oriented sound.

Recent activity (2007–present)

Neurosis live at Tuska Open Air Metal Festival 2009 Neurosis-at-tuska.jpg
Neurosis live at Tuska Open Air Metal Festival 2009

The band released their ninth studio album Given to the Rising on May 8, 2007 through Neurot Records. [10] On this album Neurosis re-incorporated a more aggressive approach into their music once again, and the album was well received by critics. [11]

The band entered the studio in December 2011 to record the follow-up to Given to the Rising. The new album, entitled Honor Found in Decay , was released in late October 2012. [12]

The band performed at Roadburn 2016, with Brooklyn Vegan's Ian Cory writing that "once the house lights came up it was hard to justify watching anything else." [13] This was part of their series of shows performed in celebration of their 30th anniversary as a band. [14]

On May 5, 2016 relapse Records confirmed they were reissuing A Sun That Never Sets and The Eye of Every Storm on vinyl on June 17 with new artwork. [15] [16]

On August 1, 2016 the band released a teaser trailer for their upcoming album online. [17] Their eleventh studio album, titled Fires Within Fires , was released on September 23, 2016. [18]


From 1990 to 1993, Adam G. Kendall was recruited to create visuals and perform live with the band. Following his departure from touring, Pete Inc. took over the job, although Kendall continued to contribute visuals for the band until as late as 1997. [19] Kendall also shot the footage for the "Locust Star" video.

Josh Graham took over live visuals in early 2000 as Pete wasn't "cutting the mustard" (in the words of Steve Von Till), and created album artwork for 2004's The Eye of Every Storm, 2007's Given to the Rising, and 2012's Honor Found in Decay, as well as re-designs for the reissues of Souls at Zero and Enemy of the Sun. [20] Graham and Neurosis amicably parted ways in late November 2012 via an announcement on the band website. [21] He was not replaced and the band ceased to use live visual media.

Often experimental and psychedelic in nature, Neurosis' visual media have added to the reputation of their live performances. Many of the visuals for their tours supporting Through Silver in Blood are taken from Ken Russell's film Altered States . Other images are included in the enhanced portion of the Sovereign E.P, and on the A Sun That Never Sets DVD video release. The majority of the DVD release was directed by Graham, with an additional video by Chad Rullman.

Musical style and influences

Neurosis emerged as a hardcore punk band, performing a blend of hardcore and heavy metal inspired by British punk [22] and described as crust punk [23] or crossover. [1] However, already their second album The Word as Law (1990) introduced some elements of avant-garde music and sludge metal, [24] a genre which was emerging as a fusion of hardcore and doom metal. Thereafter, the band developed a unique sound; Greg Moffitt of the BBC wrote that through a "process of evolution and refinement" beginning with Souls at Zero (1992) and culminating in Through Silver in Blood (1996), they "[took] heavy music to previously unimaginable spaces and, in the process, shape[d] what has thus far been metal's definitive response to the 21st century." [1]

The style Neurosis pioneered has been named post-metal, [25] characterised by an "expansive, progressive and often apocalyptic" sound [1] "adding alien sounds, oddball instrumentation and atmospheric depth to [the] viscerally crushing approach" of sludge metal. [23] The band's sound has also been described as experimental [26] /avant-garde metal, [22] doom metal, [22] [27] post-hardcore, [28] industrial metal, [29] drone metal, [28] stoner metal, [27] psychedelic metal, [30] progressive metal, [31] alternative metal [32] and extreme metal, [22] and as employing elements of folk. [22] [31] Steve Huey of AllMusic called it as a blend of industrial, metal, and alternative rock rooted in sludge metal, [33] while Kory Grow of Rolling Stone called it a mix of "metal, punk, sludge and avant-garde experiments." [34]

When asked what the band's influences are in a 2000 interview, Scott Kelly stated: "Mainly ourselves at this point, but our foundation ranges through Black Flag, Pink Floyd, Die Kreuzen, Amebix, Jimi Hendrix, King Crimson, The Melvins, Celtic Frost and, of course, Hank Williams." [19] In 2007, Steve Von Till stated that lyrically he and Kelly are inspired by literature, alluding to writers such as Cormac McCarthy, Jack London, and Paul Bowles. [35]



Neurosis (band)


Studio albums

Side projects

Related Research Articles

Sludge metal is an extreme style of music that originated through combining elements of doom metal and hardcore punk. It is typically harsh and abrasive, often featuring shouted vocals, heavily distorted instruments and sharply contrasting tempos. While the Melvins from the US state of Washington laid the groundwork for both sludge metal and grunge in the 1980s, sludge as a distinct genre emerged after 1990 through the work of Louisiana bands such as Eyehategod and Crowbar. Later bands often border on stoner rock or post-metal.

Post-metal is a style of music that is rooted in heavy metal but explores approaches beyond the genre's conventions. It emerged in the 1990s through the work of bands such as Neurosis and Godflesh who transformed metal texture through experimental composition. Associated with and inspired by post-rock and post-hardcore, the genre employs the darkness and intensity of extreme metal but emphasizes atmosphere, emotion, and even "revelation", drawing on a wide range of sources including ambient, noise, psychedelic, progressive, and classical music to develop an expansive but introspective sound. Post-metal songs are typically long, with loose and layered structures that discard the verse–chorus form in favor of crescendos and repeating themes. The sound centres on guitars and drums; any vocals are usually screamed or growled and resemble an additional instrument.

<i>Enemy of the Sun</i> 1993 studio album by Neurosis

Enemy of the Sun is the fourth studio album by Californian avant-garde metal band Neurosis. It was originally released on Alternative Tentacles in 1993 and later reissued on Neurot Recordings in 1999. The album was reissued with new cover artwork on August 20, 2010. On February 14, 2012, a fully remastered version was released on vinyl via Relapse Records.

<i>Times of Grace</i> (album) album by Neurosis

Times of Grace is the sixth studio album by Californian band Neurosis, released on May 4, 1999. It continued the band's development of the post-metal genre and demonstrates gothic rock and progressive rock influences. This album and Grace, an ambient companion by the band's alter-ego Tribes of Neurot, are designed to play alongside each other. Times of Grace marked the beginning of the band's ongoing working relationship with recording engineer Steve Albini.

<i>A Sun That Never Sets</i> 2001 studio album by Neurosis

A Sun That Never Sets is the seventh studio album from the Californian band Neurosis. The album was awarded #18 on Decibel Magazine's top 100 metal albums of the decade. The band later released a DVD of a full-length film to which the album accompanies.

<i>Neurosis & Jarboe</i> 2003 studio album by Neurosis & Jarboe

Neurosis & Jarboe is a collaboration between avant-garde metal band Neurosis and singer-songwriter Jarboe formerly of Swans. It was released on October 21, 2003 by Neurot Recordings.

<i>The Eye of Every Storm</i> 2004 studio album by Neurosis

The Eye of Every Storm is the eighth studio album from the Californian band Neurosis. It retains the strong folk music influences prominent on the band's previous album A Sun that Never Sets, while exploring their trudging and massive sound with a more dynamic approach closer to post-rock than their earlier work.

<i>Given to the Rising</i> 2007 studio album by Neurosis

Given to the Rising is the ninth studio album from the Oakland, California band Neurosis, released on June 5, 2007. The album is available in a standard jewel case, a limited-edition digipak, and a limited-edition double LP, all with the same track list. Decibel Magazine listed Given to the Rising as the 76th best metal album of the decade. A DVD documentary is also available from Neurot Records. The artwork for the album, designed by Josh Graham, is a mixture of photos from Heroes Square in Budapest and drawings inspired by the place. Coincidentally, singer/guitarist Steve Von Till and Josh Graham had separately thought of the idea of using Heroes Square as the artwork for the album.

<i>Sovereign</i> (EP) 2000 EP by Neurosis

Sovereign is an EP by Californian band Neurosis. As with the previous album, Times of Grace it was recorded by Steve Albini at Electric Audio in Chicago, Illinois. The CD contains a mixed-media CD-Rom portion featuring visuals and music reminiscent of their live shows and their work under the Tribes of Neurot moniker. In 2011 Neurot Recordings released a reissue that includes bonus track "Misgiven".

U.S. Christmas is a psychedelic rock band from Marion, North Carolina, founded in 2002. After Neurosis guitarist/vocalist Scott Kelly heard their debut album Salt The Wound, he signed the band to Neurot Recordings, the label he owns with fellow Neurosis members. Their sound features elements of Americana, sludge metal, psychedelic rock, space rock and folk.

Amenra post-metal band

Amenra is a Belgian band from Kortrijk. It was formed in 1999 by vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout and guitarist Mathieu Vandekerckhove, who now perform alongside drummer Bjorn Lebon, guitarist Lennart Bossu and bassist Levy Seynaeve. Among a number of other works, they have released six studio albums in the Mass series, the latest of them through Neurot Recordings. The band's unique musical style, characterised by brooding atmospheres and spiritual intensity, is rooted in doom metal, hardcore punk and post-rock. Their live performances, accompanied by visual art, have been described as "entrancing communions". In 2005, Amenra formed Church of Ra, a collective of collaborating artists which now includes Oathbreaker and the Black Heart Rebellion.

<i>Fires Within Fires</i> 2016 studio album by Neurosis

Fires Within Fires is the eleventh studio album by American avant-garde metal band Neurosis. The album was released on September 23, 2016, via the band's own record label, Neurot Recordings. Recording began on December 27, 2015, at Electrical Audio Studio; the album was produced by Steve Albini and the cover art created by Thomas Hooper. Like Neurosis' previous albums, Fires Within Fires combines "elements from the post-metal genre they co-created [with] elements of industrial, doom, punk and folk". At just below 41 minutes it is the band's shortest studio album since The Word as Law (1990).

<i>Locust Star</i> 1996 EP (split) by Neurosis & Tribes of Neurot

Locust Star is a split EP between Oakland bands Neurosis and Tribes of Neurot released in 1996 through Relapse Records as a CD and a promo. Unlike most split releases, both groups involved with this EP are composed of the same members.


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