The time has come once again for one of the most hallowed names in metal to rear their heads and spit out a dark, sludgy piece of goodness for their legion of fans. It’s been five years since we last heard from Neurosis, and Honor Found In Decay is easily nothing less than one of the most anticipated metal releases of 2012. Unlike a lot of bands of their caliber, though, I don’t think anyone’s worried that the new record won’t measure up. The Oakland six-piece are competent enough, have been doing this long enough that a new record’s quality is no longer in question. The real significance of a new Neurosis record will only be interpreted months or years after the fact, after it’s been dissected, absorbed and digested by the faithful. But fans can rest assured that upon first contact, Honor lives up to the legacy of the post-metal masters.

Neurosis records don’t start off with a bang; it’s more about slowly immersing yourself into the sound once again. “We All Rage In Gold” is no exception – it creeps up like a malaise before sending the album trudging along on its path to a final destination. For being one of the arbiters of post-metal, Neurosis continue to transcend a genre they propped up – throughout the first song, the genre that came to mind was a filthy form of shoegaze, with a fuzzed out lead guitar line and a wall of sound, except with the signature aggressive vocal stylings of Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till. “My Heart For Deliverance” is where you can find Neurosis resembling anyone else – their use of a sample before a major crescendo called to mind German post-rock-punks Arktika’s release from a couple months ago, but my countrymen manage to put their own stamp on it. It’s not hard to imagine, though, since they were doing it first and are still doing it best.

“Bleeding The Pigs” might just be my favorite track on the record, though. It begins with an eerie, atmospheric echo, before receding and acting as a stepping stone for a positively apocalyptic vocal line to develop. Then the signature Neurosis percussion begins to build into a punishing, sample-laden burst of strength. It’s seven and a half minutes long, but it feels tight enough that it could be three and I wouldn’t notice. “Casting Of The Ages” manages to follow it up with an almost medieval-sounding clean intro that even breaks into what sounds like harmonica (what the hell?). Between the strange sounds and the shifting pitch of the organ, it’s one of the more experimental tracks, and it’s another exciting example of how Neurosis are willing to continue experimentation at this stage of their career.

This is a situation where the score doesn’t really reflect my opinion. Like I said up at the top, the real significance of Honor Found In Decay remains to be seen. I don’t feel like this record should have a score yet. But I put that up there so that you know this is another solid record from Oakland’s finest. To the faithful of the cult of Neurosis, welcome back, you’re home again.

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