Review Summary: A psychedelic, tribal-esque whirlwind of an album that sees Minsk creep forward with their evolving sound.
Sludge metal has to be one of the greatest things going for metal today (and if it were up to me, I would say it’s one of the greatest things to ever happen to metal….Period!!!). Even the literal meaning of the word sludge perfectly describes the sub-genre as a whole; sludge never takes the same form twice and is always evolving at a snail pace until it reaches a solid state. What’s also interesting with the word sludge is its associative nature with being dirty, grimy and the impossibility of removing it from any given surface. With this literal description in mind, it’s not hard to see why sludge metal has been moulded into so many forms over the years. Minsk are one of the many to join the legions of sludge metal bands popping up like a plague from the United States. With an already stellar debut album under their belt (The Ritual Fires of Abandonment
for those of you who completely missed the train with that record), Minsk prove their worth and show us how sludge metal should be done.
Currently in Savannah, Georgia, an extremely diverse sludge metal scene brews. Whether it’s the climate or the social atmosphere of the state, bands such as Mastodon, Kylesa, and Baroness have managed to release some of the best forms of sludge metal this side of the new millennium. Minsk on the other hand hail from state of Illinois and they might as well have come from the humid state anyways. These guys know how to play with the best of them. Unlike the above-mentioned bands, Minsk rely heavily on post-metal structures unlike their straight-to-the-point counterparts.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to The Ritual Fires of Abandonment
, then With Echoes In The Movement Of Stone
will feel quite comfortable with a few exceptions to their sound. Firstly though, this is a grandiose sludge fest with plenty of slow riffing, huge peaks and valleys, chanting fireside melodies, and plenty of tribal rhythm patterns that were ever so present on Ritual Fires…
. However, listening to this album will reveal that Minsk have not only maintained the interesting aspects of their first album, but that they’ve matured in grand fashion. An example of this maturity can be heard on a particular cut from the album called “Almitra's Premonition”; a rather perfect example of how the band has matured as a single entity. The song begins with a mighty climb up a mile high staircase, absolutely crawling the last half of the journey with its tortoise speed dissonant riffs and pounding tom-toms. Finally, just as the band starts to make the listener wallow in anticipation for something more, Minsk open the doors to the temple at the top of mountain with Toolish circular-pattern rhythms, Pink Floydian inspired keyboards, and yet another top-notch molasses-like riff. Just as you think the band has set you back down to earth, a surprise of psychedelic melody washes over the chugging guitars. These subtle and rather moving melodic passages are just one of a few nifty surprises that Minsk have now brought to their mature and quite palatable sound.
Like their contemporary sludge companions at the present moment in time (I’m looking at you Neurosis), Minsk are on track to becoming one of those bands who are always evolving yet always retaining that signature sound that helped create them in the first place. Minsk make music for the patient listener; the ones who are rewarded for being swept away in their trancy, tribal, psychedelic sludge marathons. Much like what Neurosis were doing on albums such as Enemy of the Sun
and Through Silver in Blood
, Minsk are pushing the boundaries of post-metal sludge. Let’s all get naked, dance around a fire, and chant along to With Echoes In The Movement Of Stone