SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — One of the most influential underground groups to surface from the Bay Area since the 1980s, experimental punk/metal band Neurosis has established a reputation as a fearless and forward-thinking exponent of heavy music. Rising from the ashes of Oakland hardcore outfit Violent Coercion, Neurosis was founded by guitarist Scott Kelly, bassist Dave Edwardson and drummer Jason Roeder to explore aggressive and politically charged sounds inspired by British crust-punk groups like Discharge and Amebix.
Their first two albums Pain of Mind and The Word as Law (the first to feature contributions from the addition of new guitarist Steve Von Till in 1989) largely stuck to the hardcore template of those influences, but by the time the group issued Souls at Zero on Alternative Tentacles in 1992, Neurosis was introducing elements of doom, heavy psychedelia and droning industrial into a sound that would later be classified as “post metal.”
The band would continue to refine its iconoclastic approach on subsequent and progressively more ambitious albums for Relapse Records starting with Through Silver in Blood in 1996. Having grown its audience with tours supporting more mainstream groups likes Pantera, Neurosis pushed the boundaries of heavy music even further with 1999’s Times of Grace. The first of a long string of works recorded with famed engineer Steve Albini, the effort was designed to be played simultaneously with Grace, a companion recording by the group’s ambient alter ego Tribes of Neurot.
Launching its own label Neurot Recordings in 2000 with the EP Sovereign, the band would continue to expand its feverishly loyal cult of fans with a lumbering mix of viscous down-tuned riffs, ambient electronic drones and tribal drum. The group gradually introducing more acoustic guitars and clean vocal tones with their landmark 2001 effort A Sun That Never Sets and the 2004 follow-up The Eye of Every Storm.
While the band has taken more time between albums to allow for a variety side projects by Kelly, Von Till and the other members (drummer Roeder has been playing with reformed stoner metal trio Sleep since 2010), it has stayed at the top of its game, delivering such critically acclaimed efforts as Honor Found In Decay in 2012 and its most recent celebrated album, Fires Within Fires two years ago.
The band’s current West Coast tour also features veteran experimental punks Converge. Formed by vocalist Jacob Bannon and guitarist Kurt Ballou in Salem, Massachusetts in 1990, the group’s mix of hardcore and metal influences hit an early apex with the breakthrough 2000 album Jane Doe. The band recently issued the short 5-song hardcore EP Beautiful Ruin comprised of tunes recorded during the making of their most recent full length, last year’s Dusk in Us. Belgian post-metal outfit and Neurot Recordings artist Amenra opens this show at Berkeley’s UC Theatre Tuesday before the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco hosts a second sold-out concert.
Neurosis with Converge
Tuesday, July 10, 8 p.m. $35
Wednesday, July 11, 8 p.m. $40 (sold out)
Great American Music Hall