Neurosis @ Psycho Las Vegas



The Joint

Las Vegas

If there’s a heavier band on the face of the earth than Neurosis then they should probably be illegal, or at the very least come with some sort of health warning. Of course, there’s the likes of Slipknot and Slayer, the latter having pummelled Vegas into submission only a few weeks ago, but theirs’ is a different kind of heaviness, like drag racing or standing in the path of a jet engine, short bursts of violence and breakneck speed. Watching Neurosis is more like being pressed to death, a suffocating heaviness, perhaps all the more unnerving because it’s in no hurry, each song taking just a little more air.

If this sounds unpleasant then maybe it should; Neurosis are not for everyone, and certainly not for the faint of heart. Such is the band’s intensity that a full set can be overwhelming at times, claustrophobic even in such a large venue as The Joint. Opening tonight with the colossal Lost, a nine and a half minute epic from the classic from 1993’s Enemy Of The Sun, this show is no exception. Nearly twenty-five years after it’s release, the song can still send shivers down your spine, and it sets the tone here, offering no respite, crushing. Fuck, this band is good!

For the next hour, Neurosis are simply unrelenting. They don’t do hits as such, Locust Star and the aforementioned Lost being about as close as you’ll get, nor indeed do they play a huge amount of songs, since their shortest is around six or seven minutes long. But that’s not the point; like I said, they’re in no hurry to cross this bleak sonic landscape, and that’s what makes the overall effect so brilliant, and ultimately so suffocating. With many great bands you walk away buzzing, exhilarated. With Neurosis you feel stunned, drained, and probably in need of a stiff drink. Yeah, they’re really that good!

Having written for Kerrang! magazine since 1989, I started shooting for them, pretty much by accident, in the early 90’s when all their photographers refused to go on tour with my favourite punk band Poison Idea. With pretensions of being as good as Mark Leialoha and taller than Ross Halfin, I shot everyone from Ozzy Osbourne, Slayer and Slipknot to The Prodigy and was published all around the world (full-ish list in the ‘published in’ section) before stumbling into fetish and pin up photography in 2006 when I married Masuimi Max. I quit Kerrang! in 2008 and now shoot the rock stuff for Metal Hammer and Terrorizer.