The Minor Times
Summer Of Wolves


5.0
classic

Review

by drasticaction74 USER (7 Reviews)
December 23rd, 2011 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Because the radio says we're doomed and I pray to God it's right.

Metalcore is a tough genre. There's your heroes and their pretenders; your legends and their followers. Metalcore bands are either amazing musicians or amazing train-wrecks. The dichotomy seems precarious, especially of how fairly new and uncharted the genre may be. Considering this, it's easy to assume that many bands within the genre go slightly unnoticed. Now, I'm not as naive as to say that we all missed the masterpiece of masterpieces. But most of us did miss something.

The Minor Times were born out of Lansdale, PA in 2001. They came from humble suburban beginnings and quickly morphed into local legends. By the time their third release "Summer Of Wolves" was released in 2007 via Prosthetic Records, they began to carry themselves as metalcore giants. A typical TMT show by this time involved intense theatrics nothing short of mind-blowing. Soundcheck would be quick and painless amongst the band members as they would silently tune and ready their respective pieces of equipment, only to viciously blast into Firespitter without any introduction or any indication that they required anyone to be ready for them to begin to play the loudest, heaviest music ever performed. Not only that, but strategically-placed television sets (next to guitarists Tim Leo and Chris Masciotti) tuned to static adorned the stage to emphasize their new calling card +++, in which vocalist Brendan McAndrew insists that we "turn up the ***ing static". It was all truly a sight and sound to behold. My eardrums still hate me for the occasion.

It was quite an exciting time for them, for they had just completed work and production on their magnum opus that would be known as "Summer Of Wolves". To this reviewer, no other metalcore record had hit this hard and had meant this much compared to various other critically-lauded releases under the "metalcore" umbrella. I truly believe they had something completely new to offer. The overall approach to the songs harkened back to obvious genre heroes Botch and Converge; chaotic delivery, odd-time riffs, looney-bin vocals, you know, that old chestnut. But unlike scene neighbors at the time such as Norma Jean, The Chariot, or Fear Before The March Of Flames, The Minor Times were getting pissed off in a completely different corner. Even their early material implied a certain uniqueness and specificity, if you will, even when considering how absolutely brutal and chaotic everything is already. It only made sense that by 2007 and the release of Summer Of Wolves that the band sought to tighten up and make these frantic and otherwise incomprehensible ideas as user-friendly as possible. And here's how they did it.

Brian Medlin. He's the drummer. He also moonlights as the band's secret weapon. As a drummer in the incorrigible community of hardcore and the subgenres therein, Medlin shines as one of the smartest and most responsible the scene would ever know. If you are a drummer, an appropriate analogy would be as if Josh Freese became the new drummer for Zao (for whatever reason). In other words, above the style, he's a musician first. Songs like Casket City Lights and Amazing Grace demonstrate exactly what I mean: inventive rhythmic ideas that are executed so well that you're perhaps unable to detect at first how obvious yet genius they truly are. These ideas are only emphasized by bassist Matt Leo's perfect execution, only helping along an already stellar rhythm department.

The album flows this way throughout the first half. Uneasy, heavy riffs and intense poetic brutality are strategically seasoned over the most hard-hitting mathcore passages the genre hasn't heard since Coalesce were kickin' it around the bible belt. This dynamic makes tracks like Van Zant, Blackhole Living, and This Is A Fine Life You've Made For Yourself stand out in an enormous way. McAndrew's lyrics are chock-full of literary and cultural references, but I'm sure he only means to dissect and undermine the subjects he refers to. American society especially gets the treament. Not even James Dean is safe from biting muses like "I've got the same lips as our hero/ and they say no future".

If that weren't enough, about halfway through we are blessed with a song called This Is The Blues. At nearly 9 minutes in length, it compiles everything the band has learned in their 7-year history and puts their musicianship to the test. Not since "Man The Ramparts" have we been privy to a mathcore "epic" of this magnitude. Dressed with an ambient intro, the first 5 minutes are the meat and potatoes while the final 3 or so give us great melodic instrumentation not often presented so genuinely in a metalcore album, eventually leading the band into a "Na-na-na" singalong section. If I were to be so bold, I think The Minor Times just pulled off writing the "Hey Jude" of metalcore.

I also can't say enough about the production quality. The polar opposite in my mind would be the quality you hear when you listen to The Chariot's first album. The band chose to produce the album themselves with the help of experienced engineers, a decision I'm elated to know they made. Everything here is so crystal, and that's where we get a heightened sense of specificity within the album. Instead of being generally worked up and incoherent, The Minor Times have mastered the art of being remarkably brutal and goddamn specific about it. For once, all the anger and rage can be transported through a lens of clarity and meaning.

To sum up, Summer Of Wolves is an enormously satisfying listen. I honestly consider it a lost classic within the sea of math-based metalcore. Unfortunately, the band broke up sometime in 2010, but the album is available online somewhere. I'm lucky enough to have purchased it when I had the chance, but I'm sure you'll be able to find it somewhere if you look hard enough. It is truly the best and certainly the most digestible outing the band has to offer, so I'm sure at this point they wouldn't mind the free download, and would probably only appreciate the sentiment.

Recommended Listens:
+++
Amazing Grace
Van Zant
This Is The Blues
This Is A Fine Life You've Made For Yourself



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user ratings (20)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Scoot
December 23rd 2011


22223 Comments


this sounds interesting

Scoot
December 23rd 2011


22223 Comments


at first listen they remind me a ton of botch

artificialbox
December 23rd 2011


1779 Comments


I'm glad I read this review, because I listened to the album and really liked it. They do sounds a bit like botch, but so do a bunch of other good metalcore bands, I don't think it's such a bad thing because if I like something, then I'll want to hear more of it

ffs
December 23rd 2011


6232 Comments


okay band, very much doubt this is a 5

accompliceofmydeath
December 23rd 2011


4921 Comments


Making Enemies was cool, never listened to this.

GibTG
December 24th 2011


284 Comments


Good review, but it's very obvious that you're bias.

Good album, not legendary nor should be legendary.

drasticaction74
December 24th 2011


1944 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

i actually at one time didn't think anything of this album. I had it for years and never listened to it. It took me until this past year to spin it consistently because I had actually started getting into Botch, Coalesce, DEP and bands of the like. This grew on me so much and there is definitely something there for me. I would love a counter review.

drasticaction74
December 24th 2011


1944 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

artificialbox knows

londoncalling457
January 21st 2012


2712 Comments


even though i'm from lansdale, i can say without bias that these guys slayed. was never able to catch them live because i was kinda young when they were in their prime but seriously this band is legendary.

drasticaction74
February 18th 2012


1944 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

we're only biased cause we're right

wacknizzle
April 18th 2013


14555 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

When I first listened to this album a couple years ago it just sounded like a boring Botch rip-off. I'm digging it alot more this time now that I'm letting myself delve into it. The Breather Resist-esque melodic sections are so good.

Mort.
June 23rd 2019


25327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

it is very much botch-lite





some of the riffs are generric as fuuuck

Viriathus
June 23rd 2019


3570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Would not say this is close to a 5 but its still fuckin good shit

Mort.
June 23rd 2019


25327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

im sorta torn tbh. i really want to like this more than i do but it seems like early to mid 2000s metalcore 101



like, id rather listen to norma jean and i dont even think theyre that great

MotokoKusanagi
June 9th 2021


4290 Comments


this hit the spot today



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