3. Enemy Of The Sun (1993)
Enemy Of The Sun opens with a sample from The Sheltering Sky, a 1990 film adopted from the 1949 Paul Bowles novel of the same name. It's a reminder of the transience of life: "Because we don't know when we will die, we come to think of life as an inexhaustible well. But everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really … and yet it all seems limitless."
Neurosis's choice of sample was prescient. Enemy Of The Sun stands at the beginning of one of the most fertile creative periods in metal history. It and its successors spawned an entire subgenre; it's so ingrained in the current metal scene that it's easy to take for granted. Still, 19 years after its release, Enemy Of The Sun remains a shocking listen. All of its disparate elements — mucky riffs, bad-trip electronics, violins and horns, Roeder's inexorable tom pounding — coalesce into a unified whole, held taut by the last of Neurosis's punk sinews. Most of these ideas appeared first on Souls At Zero, but here all of them work in harmony.
Enemy Of The Sun's other defining samples comes on "Burning Flesh In Year Of Pig" — a voiceover account of a monk burning himself in Saigon during the Vietnam War. That self-immolating intensity rages through this album, peaking as the whole band attacks Roeder's kit on closer "Cleanse."