Wednesday 22 April 2015

Minsk - ‘The Crash and The Draw’ (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 03/04/2015
Label: Relapse Records

‘The Crash and The Draw’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. To The Initiate
2. Within And Without
3. Onward Procession I. These Longest Of Days
4. Onward Procession II. The Soil Calls
5. Onward Procession III. The Blue Hour
6. Onward Procession IV. Return, The Heir
7. Conjunction
8. The Way Is Through
9. To You There Is No End
10. To The Garish Remembrance Of Failure
11. When The Walls Fell

Minsk is

Aaron Austin | Guitar
Christopher Bennett | Guitar & Vocals
Zachary Livingston | Bass
Timothy Mead | Vocals & Keyboards
Kevin Rendleman | Drums


Chicago outfit Minsk have returned after a long spell on the sidelines, with a new album which is set to top many end-of-year lists come December.

After three stunning psychedelic metal releases towards the end of the last decade, Minsk took a hiatus. It lasted six years, and appeared to take its toll on the band – Sanford Parker and Tony Wyioming left, having been mainstays since 2007's ‘Out of a Center Which is Neither Dead nor Alive’. On the positive side, founding members Chris Bennett and Tim Mead have remained – and it's hard to think of many bands who have managed to maintain, if not build upon the quality of previous releases despite losing two vital members.

‘The Crash and the Draw’ is simply colossal. It is brimming with clever musical ideas, twists and turns, and never fails to captivate the listener. It's the sheer variety that appeals - one moment a huge, melodic chorus like in ‘Conjunction’, then the a track like ‘To You There Is No End’, which gives Locrian a run for their money with it's warped synths and hypnotic drumming. The riff work on display here is utterly sumptuous too – post-apocalyptic Neurosis-esque workouts aplenty, and highly melodic and inventive proggy passages.

Minsk has expanded their sonic palette here. The drumming is more furious than ever – new sticksman Kevin Rendleman appears to have brought some new flavours to the band, including passages that are more akin to thrash and black metal than what is usually to be expected of Minsk. The vocals were aggressive on previous records, but at times on here they reach a new level of vitriolic rage, which is astonishingly powerful – it's hard to believe messers Bennet and Mead have any vocal chords left after the centrepiece, ‘Onward Procession’.

Minsk's fourth full length is arguably their best, and must be heard by anyone who is into forward-thinking, expansive metal. 76 minutes of pure metallic joy – let's hope it's not so long before we are treated to its follow-up.

Words by: Jack Taylor

‘The Crash and The Draw’ is available everywhere now

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