I still remember the first time I heard The Word as Law, shortly after it was released in 1990. From the first chords of “Double-Edged Sword” I was hooked – the sounds seemed to send some sort of powerful electrical current coursing through my body – and by the time the feedback faded out at the end of “Blisters” I was emotionally spent. I had never heard anything like it: The Word as Law completely changed my understanding of three different musical genres – punk, hardcore, and metal.
The record blends elements of all three. There is the raw moodiness of punk. The ferocity and anger of hardcore. The musicianship and dynamics of metal. But The Word as Law transcends all those labels, in the process creating something utterly unique.
It hit me on so many levels. It spoke to the anger I had as a young punk, my sense that I was trapped in a dog-eat-dog world of relentless capitalist competition, my alienation from the broader society. But it also resonated on a deeper level. My father killed himself when I was a teenager, leaving me mourning, feeling as if I were surrounded by a thick fog of despair. The Word as Law is not happy collection of songs, but it played this incredibly positive and cathartic role in my life. Listening to it over and over, gave me an odd sense of comfort. I realized that I wasn’t the only person struggling with deep emotional turmoil and found myself slowly working through the anger and grief that had enveloped me.
More than 25 years later they are still my favorite band. And I still try to attend every Neurosis show I can.
The Word as Law was a massive influence on an entire generation of bands including my own, Econochrist. It’s the bridge to what Neurosis would become in later years. So put it back on your turntable. Step to the front the falling is today. – Ben Sizemore
The 2017 reissue of The Word As Law was completely remastered by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering. The album’s cover artwork has been reworked by Neurosis’ former live visual architect Josh Graham to match the previous reissued titles.