Sound — 10
Neurosis, a band out of Oakland, California, has been making albums for the past twenty years, each release furthering themselves from their past albums. A once hardcore punk band can now be called one of the godfathers of sludge metal. So as I sit here, listening to the sound of hopelessness and despair, where no joy can or will ever be found, I have to wonder why would anyone listen to something like this. The first song you are brought to is "The Tide," a song as haunting as your local abandoned house where no child dares enter. The vocals are sirens that lure you into the water and soon swallow you whole. From there the album takes you to a world where the ground is ash and sand and the sun never sets (hints the name of the album itself). That's why people listen to it, because it takes you away. It takes you to your roots and shows you an apocalypse unseen.
There is, however, a flaw to this piece of doom artistry. The main problem is time, some of the songs are a bit longer then they need to be. Though I enjoy the dark ambient they bring to each song, they drag it out a little too long for some peoples', including my own, tastes. If you're just listening while working on something else you may not mind, but if you are sitting down for the first time, you may be turned off by the long ambient that floods some of the songs.
To summarize: the album's sound is amazedly dark, foreboding, and perfect for the band apocalyptic style. Just need to edit the songs to be a little shorter then what they need to be.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics, like all Neurosis lyrics, are about our human tribal roots, about our hunter instincts, and about our awareness of our, soon, fall. This can be pointed at in the lyrics, "A watchfire brings strength. Breathe in the heat. In the eternal path, armoured against life"; from the song "Watchfire." Though in some cases, only Neurosis knows what they are singing about, and all we have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
Overall Impression — 9
So what is there to take away from the album after listening to it? A feeling of impending doom? The hairs of your neck standing on ends because you feel something behind you? Or is it the feeling of watching a horror movie and walking out thinking about what just happened? Either way, the album does it job in all three questions. You are left questioning not the album, but the past, the present, and the future. Your past because you want to know where you have come from (hints the song "From Where Its Roots Run"). Your present because you wonder what is going on in your world today and how you will grow for tomorrow (hints the song "Falling Unknown"). Finally, your future because you want to know how everything will end, slowly and drawn out or suddenly without warning (hints the final song "Stones from the Sky").
This is truly an amazing album and should be own by any Neurosis fan, or any heavy metal fan out there. A quick fact about this album: the band The Sound of Animals Fighting sample the song "A Sun That Never Sets" for their song "Skullflower," off of their album, "Lover, the Lord Has Left Us...," the sample was only used on the promo album, not the album that can be found in any store. So be on the lookout on the internet for this version of the album or song.