Doom metal, in general, is not summertime music. When the sun’s out, the temperature’s rising and yer sweatin’ balls, you wanna cruise down the blacktop blasting some Kyuss or Fu Manchu, not some slow, melancholic, depressing tunes. Not that I have anything against slow and depressing, mind you–I just don’t have it pumping on the patio. But when the seasons change, the barren trees, icy-cold temperatures and drifting snowfall (outside of Toronto, that is) lend themselves to a more sombre musical mood.
If you dig deep enough, you’ll find plenty of cold-weather doom-metal mood music, from Orodruin’s “Pierced by Cruel Winds” to Apostle of Solitude’s dreary epic “December Drives Me to Tears.” And it hardly gets much bleaker than the band Winter and their cult classic Into Darkness album. It’s sometimes hard to believe that they hail from New York City, not some barren cave in the frozen tundra of Manitoba…
Alas, Toronto hasn’t had much of a bitter winter this year. I probably saw more snow in my five days in Ottawa than I have all season in The Big Smoke. Nevertheless, several of the albums on my year-end Top 10 list are best suited for the season that seems to be getting ever shorter round these parts. And finishing right near the top, in spite of its late October release, is the new Neurosis, Honor Found in Decay.
Mind you, like most Neurosis records, it’s probably better suited to the unpredictable Calgary winters of my youth than the static, slightly-below-zero temperatures and the relative lack of precipitation in the T-Dot. Some of the shifts in tempo on this record feel like being blasted by an unexpectedly cruel wind, or pummeled by a heavy snowfall–only you sort of know it’s coming because hey, it’s January, and you’re listening to Neurosis. Thus, while most bands avoid touring in wintertime like Expedia avoids offering mid-February getaways to Winnipeg, it almost makes sense that Neurosis has scheduled a series of two-off weekend gigs from late December through to the middle of next month. They’re not steadily bombarding the States during the winter season, simply popping up in far-off places at unexpected moments, almost a metaphor for their music, I suppose.
In any case, since I couldn’t swing a last-minute flight out to Seattle, where there’s usually more rain than snow this time of year, I’ll be heading down to New York City in two weeks’ time to catch Neurosis deep in the cold, frigid heart of Brooklyn. (Well, perhaps Fort Greene doesn’t fit that description, but I’m hardly a local.) If there was ever a band meant to play a gig in a Masonic Temple in the middle of January, well, I think you get my drift. In any case, this stands to be my first significant concert of 2013, so I’m certainly looking forward to it.