EP Review: The Trial by Neurosis (Living Metal Productions)

Columbian thrashers, Neurosis, have released a new EP called The Trial. The Trial was released on the 3rd of February via Living Metal Productions. It is actually a streaming rerelease of their part of a split album originally released in 2001. That split was with the band Ritual whose portion was called Pure Sick Metal.

Founded in the mid 80’s, Neurosis are a hard working band predominantly in the thrash and death genres. They have previously gone under the name War Machine in the US to avoid confusion with the avant-garde metallers, Neurosis. They have also been known as Neurosis Inc. for the same reasons. With 4 studio albums, 3 live albums, 2 compilations and 4 EPs under their name they have been an important part of the South American scene for decades.

Neurosis are a 5 piece with Gary Otaro and Jorge MacKenzie on guitars. Diego Salgado is on vocals. José Escandon is on the bass and John Hunting Command is on drums.

The Trial Neurosis

The last release from Neurosis was 2018’s EP, Las Centurias de la Muerte. That was a damn fine release – how does The Trial hold up, 19 years after it’s original release?

The Trial is 4 tracks long and nice and heavy with a sound that actually harks back to older than when it was recorded originally. I imagine, in 2001, it sounded old school for then but in a way that fills you with warmth. Neurosis have captured a wonderful fuzzy sound that transports you back in time a few decades. Think And Justice For All but with a bit more bass. It’s raw but in all the right ways.

The opening track is The Trial which starts with a clever church organ sound before dropping into a thick and bassy riff. The mix of raw and fuzzy riffing with the undercurrent of organ is excellent. As it kicks in, we get punched with a quick and dirty riff with quick drums, loads of bass and growled vocals. It’s proper foot stomping, head banging material with some nice squealing lead guitar layers near the end.

Battle for Fire comes next and keeps to the filthy tone set on The Trial. A nice acoustic melody a little added synth build the track in layers before it drops into a slow, brooding riff. It’s a solid start that captures your attention quickly. I love the slower weighty groove. It really grabs you and pulls you in. Chuck in some excellent backing growls and powerful lead vocals that stay very much on the death metal side and you have a banger of a track.

As the Bombs Fall is the next song. This song has a fantastic pace to it. The drums and bass shake through you while the vocals mix the tone up a bit. The guitars are solid, simple but effective. The chug in the instrumental sections of the track is phenomenal and demands your neck gets involved. More of the screeching leads at the end lift the dirty fuzz out of the swamp for a few precious moments of air.

The final track is Children of the Grave and it closes the EP out brilliantly. The galloping rhythms in the intro are brilliant. I would challenge anyone to listen to this intro and not start head banging or air drumming. The rest of the track is just as good too. Really heavy, really dirty but with little elevating moments from a scratchy solo to a gentle bit of keys in the backing.

The Trial surprised me in just how much I love it. I knew I would like it. I’m a fan of the band but enough that I thought a 4 track of raw sounding Neurosis Inc should be a fun listen and probably a solid 7 out of 10. I was wrong. The Trial is insanely listenable. All 4 tracks mesmerise with their clever and raw punch. The filthy tones, the screaming solos, the growls and roars, it is a fantastic release. One that should please fans of old school death and thrash. Excellent stuff that deserves to be heard this second time around, if you missed it first time round.

Grab yourself a copy now from Bandcamp for the original or from any streaming service for the rerelease.

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The Trial by Neurosis (Living Metal Productions)
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