Top positive review
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influential political hardcore
on April 16, 2004
"Pain of Mind" (1987) is Bay Area hardcore pioneers Neurosis' first album, a much different effort from their later material. Whereas later Neurosis, as y'all know, is sludgy, experimental, even tribal metal, this is balls-to-the-wall metallic hardcore punk, from back when they played Gilman Street every other weekend with bands that would go on to achieve superstardom (Operation Ivy for example).
But aside from the novelty of hearing one of the best-loved underground metal bands in their punky infancy, this is still a really good album, and highly influential to many political punk bands even today. Most songs are rough-and-tumble mid-tempo scorchers, with quite a few thrashy outbursts thrown in as well. At times, the melodic, metallic guitar lines and almost growled vocals recall latter-day crusty hardcore bands like His Hero Is Gone and current faves From Ashes Rise and Tragedy. Honestly, without the foundation laid by Neurosis on this record I doubt the whole Memphis/Portland DIY hardcore punk sound that's all the rage these days would have developed.
Other tracks, with duelling male vocals and speedy, Discharge-esque riffs and drummming, remind me a lot of Aus Rotten or other similar bands. But whereas Aus Rotten bores the hell out of me, Neurosis doesn't, so that's a good thing.
This album, along with releases from earlier groups like Christ on Parade and later groups like Filth would cement the East Bay hardcore sound -- I'm not talking AFI here, I'm talking the nihilistic, PO'ed, metallic brand of hardcore punk played by smelly guys with dreadlocks in dirty black clothing. The echoes of "Pain of Mind" still ring today in the DIY punk scene. Good album.