Corrections House - Last City Zero
Neurot Recordings
Experimental/Drone/Doom
8 songs (46:49)
Release year: 2013
Neurot Recordings
Reviewed by Neill

What an experience this is. I could not wait to get my hands on this record. Members of Neurosis, Eyehategod, Minsk and the almighty Yakuza together on one album. This has "classic" written all over it. Getting this album was a highlight for me, and I wasted no time listening to it, and taking in what it had to offer. I had very high expectations on this album.

The album starts off very melodic, and slowly. Repetitive music/noises and monotone vocals. Being a fan of Neurosis I mean this in the best way of course. Scott has a very identifiable voice, and it fits so well with what is being offered. About two and a half minutes into opening track Serve or Survive things get heavier, and a lot more distorted. The screaming vocals in the background and the pounding noise is just enveloping. You can already tell this album DEMANDS attention. Truthfully, I feel I would be doing the album a disservice by breaking down the tracks. This album is best experienced as one piece, with several movements. However, I will make sure to point out highlights in each movement.

Nothing on the album seems to be out of place. Each section of music, every bit of noise, every vocal line had a purpose, and just grabs the listener and doesn't let go. The first movement alone may seem like an odd, possibly "slow" start to the record, but it picks up amazingly. Bullets and Graves Is the shortest movement, and just heavy as can be. Once again, it is juxtaposed perfectly with what preceded it. You get a sense of real purpose and, again, an experience rather than just a "song".

The production on the record is just fantastic as well. It truly helps this album be something more than just an album. Sanford Parker is an incredible producer/mixer and anyone familiar with his work would know what to expect, and not be disappointed. Everything sounds as it should, clear when needing to be, but done more so as a wall of sound to really envelop the listener and take them on a journey inside their minds. Everything is just so damn powerful. Even the "soft" part of the album, Run Through The Night is powerful, but in its own way. Beautiful acoustic guitar, buzzing noise in the background, deep crooning vocals. Amazing. This does lead to some more noise, and some whispered, almost hissed vocals. The transitions in this one movement are just so well done and incredible.

The album is not without fault though, sad to say. It may just be from having too high an expectation, but there a few things that standout for sure. Given the talent involved, I was actually hoping for more experimentation. That may sound odd to anyone who has heard the album. It's not "conventional" by any means, but a few movements do follow the same structure, and around the halfway point, the piece does feel like it begins to drag a bit. Also, while not a problem for me personally, I do know some people who dislike vocals that are more spoken word than sung. There are plenty of aspects of spoken word vocals on this record, and while, again, I do not find it wrong, as it is part of the experience, there may be some turned off by this. Chances are they are not looking into this record anyway, but fair warning.

As soon as the piece seems to drag a bit, the titular track Last City Zero comes in. Next to I feel this is the best movement, and just incredibly powerful. This is an example of the spoken word done so damn well. Soft guitar beneath poetic lyrics. Really mind opening, thought provoking stuff. The final movement brings us back to the heavy noise we had heard prior. Again, while not being a typical band, there is a slight element of having heard this all before. The piece ends as well as it began, and the final lyrics resonate in the mind of the listener. The experience has come to an end, and with some slight lulls, it was a journey worth taking.

Needless to say, given the talent involved, a listener may have an idea of what to expect, but there are still plenty of surprises along the way with this record. Maybe not as many as I was hoping for, but I digress. I found it to be a very engaging, and fulfilling record. It wasn't the absolute classic I had hoped, but maybe my expectations were too high. There were some small flaws, but the album was very powerful, and truly a wonderful listen. I think anyone interested in experimental music or any fans of the other bands these men play with should check this out instantly.

Killing Songs :
Serve Or Survive, Run Through The Night, Last City Zero
Neill quoted 85 / 100
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