Continuing the run of recent Neurosis reissues is 2000's Sovereign EP, a keystone release bridging the gap between Times Of Grace and A Sun That Never Sets at the beginning of their long-standing relationship with famed engineer Steve Albini. With the final traces of their punk roots all but eliminated, Sovereign finds the band moving at a snail's pace, the music crawling along through nightmarish surroundings like the soundtrack to a Lovecraftian thriller; this is imbued with a bleakness that many aspire to, but few succeed so terrifyingly.
Neurosis toy with the idea of noise as music, the subtle screams of guitar feedback blending into thunderous riffs that go nowhere but everywhere at the same time, giving space for the listener to conjure their own twisted images; sparse soundscapes give way to rich dense walls of sound, carefully woven yet utterly organic behemoths. The EP is supplemented by the extra track 'Misgiven', recorded at the same time but left off the original; the dark, minimalistic drones brings the release to a depressing, majestic end as it pulls off the rare trick of enhancing the record despite being merely a bonus.
Dominic Hemy looks back at a quick dose of sludge.