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If I Should Fall to the Field

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Album Review

This is the second solo CD from overachieving Neurosis guitarist/vocalist Steve VonTill. His 2000 solo debut, As the Crow Flies, was a minimal and unexpectedly quiet collection of home recordings, most of which were made while his housemates were asleep. That album's stark, nocturnal vibe carries over here, but this time the instrumentation is more fleshed out, with banjo, fiddle, and pedal steel guitar alternately accompanying VonTill's acoustic guitar picking and parched, half-whispered vocals (a few of the songs even have drums). VonTill's lyrics — with their constant references to rivers, grain, blood, stones, and barren fields — depict him as a rugged, yet sensitive nature-hound, and the music's nods to old country, Dust-Bowl Americana, and Irish folk traditions further highlight the rustic mood he's out to establish. Tellingly, there's a cover of Neil Young's depressing ballad "Running Dry," and it fits right in alongside the originals. VonTill's delivery gets a little too earnest for comfort at times, but this album's highlights ("In the Field," "This River") have a quiet power that mirrors Neurosis' more traditionally "heavy" moments.

Customer Reviews

Beautiful and Heartfelt

Coming from one of the powerhouses behind such a towering band as Neurosis, the quality and sincerity of this album should not be surprising. This (like his other solo works) does not at any point approach or even hint at the brutality of Von Till's main band, so do not expect anything of the sort. If you enjoy the quieter moments on Neurosis albums, and, like me, appreciate heartfelt music no matter the genre, this album is for you.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

The addition of guitarist and singer Steve Von Till into the Bay Area hardcore act Neurosis in the early '90s coincided with the band's shift from brutal thrash punk (the original cover of the group's first album, 1987's Pain of Mind, featured a news photo of Pennsylvania Attorney General Robert "Budd" Dwyer committing suicide during a live televised news conference earlier that year) into a more complex brew. Starting with 1992's Souls at Zero, Neurosis brought together psychedelic stoner metal,...
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If I Should Fall to the Field, Steve Von Till
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