Neurosis Credit: Stefaan Temmerman

More than 30 years in, progressive-metal legends Neurosis know exactly how to deliver—their 11th studio album, last fall’s Fires Within Fires (Neurot), is a ruthlessly efficient travelogue of varied soundscapes and altered consciousness. It feels much longer than it actually is (about 40 minutes), and that’s not a function of tedium but of density. The claustrophic and ominous crushing weights of “Bending Light” and “Fire Is the End Lesson” give way to the unsettling atmospherics of the intro to “Broken Ground,” and if you have the ominous feeling you’re being set up for something, you’re right—that song and “Reach” build to a sort of apocalyptic climax not too far removed from a Swans or Psychic TV incantation. Upcoming in August is a CD reissue of their landmark 1990 release The Word as Law (remastered by Bob Weston), and it’s a treat to spin them back to back and hear how far Neurosis have come while still remaining utterly themselves.   v