Sound — 9
Neurosis never cease to go in whatever musical direction they wish to, thus each of their albums have their own specific style and sound. "Times Of Grace", the follow up to the amazing "Through Silver In Blood", is one of Neurosis' heaviest albums. The guitar parts in "Times Of Grace" are unrelenting and huge, but can also become somewhat psychedelic and spacey. Neurosis has always brought interesting and powerful drumming to their music which has often delved into old tribal rhythms, this definitely brings a sense of urgency and intensity as well as giving the songs an air of age and mysticism which many other bands can't accomplish. As well as having the pure sound of doom in their music, with tracks like "The Last You'll Know" and "The Doorway", Neurosis can also be very hypnotic and alien. With the opening track "Suspended In Light" Neurosis show off their ability to not only create very heavy music, but to add dynamics and layers to their songs. Neurosis are as much an ambient, instrumental band as they are a sludge and doom band. Thus they take from both of these styles and form a very dynamic, emotional, and incredibly powerful style of music.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics in this album deal with heavy subjects such as religion, morality, and of course, death. This is one of Neurosis' strongest albums lyrically, "Through Silver In Blood" and "A Sun That Never Sets" are also great. Lyrics from tracks like "End Of The Harvest", "Have you ever tasted the soil, And felt your own death in your veins? Shield your eyes from the moon, As it mocks your wretched self" and "Under The Surface" are the best in my opinion with this chanted section, "Your shell is hollow, Your shell is hollow, So am I, The Rest will follow, So will I, So will I". Most of what Neurosis' lyrics are about is evoking imagery and I believe they do this incredibly well. In terms of singing Scott Kelly, Steve Von Till, and Dave Edwardson are definitely not the greatest crooners to sing a tune, but their intense style of screams and howls greatly add to the intensity and emotional power of the music.
Overall Impression — 9
This is definitely my favorite Neurosis album, although "Through Silver In Blood" is a close second, "Times Of Grace" beats it by being more dynamic and exploring a much greater emotional range than "Silver". Standout tracks for me would include "The Doorway", "Under The Surface", and "End Of The Harvest". My only issue with this album would be song order. The same goes for "Silver", dynamically "Times Of Grace" starts out amazing with the spacey instrumental ambient track "Suspended In Light" building into "The Doorway", and continuing the doomfest with "Under The Surface" and "The Last You'll Know". They then begin to wind down for the rest of the album. Instead of throwing all of their heavy eggs in one basket they should've spread out their heaviest song with the lighter fare, if Neurosis could ever be called "light". Other than that this album is incredibly amazing and intense and a hallmark of the metal genre.