6. Souls At Zero (1992)
Souls At Zero marked the emergence of the 'real' Neurosis: a crazy-quilt of doom metal, hardcore, tribal rhythms, looped samples, exotic instrumentation, and druggy drones. Uninitiated listeners who want to take an extended tour of Neurosis's catalog would do well to start here.
This is an incredibly bold album, and upon its release in 1992 it must have seemed like an artifact from a parallel dimension. Neurosis wouldn't master their own machinery until Enemy Of The Sun, and they struggle to operate it at times here. Some songs sound unfinished, while others overstay their welcome.
But for a first crack at such an ambitious sound, Souls At Zero is a huge success. This lean and hungry incarnation of Neurosis is thrilling and frightening to behold in its better moments. "To Crawl Under One's Skin," "A Chronology For Survival," and the title track remain among the greatest tunes the band ever put to tape. Simon McIlroy, Neurosis's first keys/samples man, made his debut here, establishing the band's psychedelic edge and paving the way for Souls At Zero's tremendous follow-up.