Minsk
The Crash and the Draw


4.0
excellent

Review

by SomeGuyDude USER (35 Reviews)
April 18th, 2015 | 31 replies


Release Date: 04/07/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Continuing in their own path, as they always have, Minsk proves themselves to still be a force to be reckoned with in the modern post-metal scene.

Is it cliche to open up a post-rock/metal album talking about the state of the subgenre" Maybe, but indulge me. It's true that writers love to either lament that post has gotten stale, or lament that other writers are lamenting that post has gotten stale, but it's not hard to understand why. Any genre that's built upon transcending its style is going to run into grumpy fans as the years go by and the sound solidifies into its own trappings. But that's judging it on terms other than the music itself, which is as strong as it's ever been, even if it's significantly less fresh than it may have been ten or fifteen years ago.

That brings us to Minsk, a band who has been kicking around for over a decade now and who burst onto the scene with Out of a Center Which Is Neither Dead nor Alive, making a name for themselves with a unique blend of post, doom, and tribal elements. The first two make up the lion's share of Minsk's sound, with the tribal influence acting more as spice to the meaty, riffy heaviness to separate them from the league of bands around them. After dropping three excellent albums, the band went on hiatus, only to return in grand fashion with The Crash and the Draw, an album as big and powerful as anything else they've done.

First of all, The Crash is a big album in terms of length. Clocking in at over seventy-five minutes with an opener and closer that are each over ten, this isn't something to put on during a drive to the grocery store or while you're walking the dog. Constructed like a symphony more than a collection of tracks, songs weave into each other, making the album a true album experience. Even in the realm of post this has become somewhat of a rare feat, where bands are often more interested in making distinct long tracks that each follow the same progressions but lack cohesion from one to the next.

Second of all, it's big in terms of sound. From the massive production to the monolithic compositions, The Crash screams epic from the onset. Opener To the Initiate sets the mood, starting with a slow, ambient intro before an enormous stomp of a riff kicks in, followed by Minsk's signature tom-heavy drum riffage (yes, you can use "riff" for drums as well). The vocals at this point are ethereal, dreamlike and heavily layered. A moment later they explode into deep, throaty howls and the song kicks into double time, shifting and changing several times for the remainder of its playtime. A whole album's worth of progression and songcraft is packed into those dozen minutes, and the album still has an hour to go.

As is often the case with post and doom metal, technical wizardry isn't the focus so much as textures and layering, the execution of individual notes over necessarily what those notes are. You'll be hard pressed to clearly remember too many riffs out of The Crash, though each one is plenty groovy and heavy. This isn't necessarily bad, but it can leave the listener leaving the album remembering how they felt about the songs, but not quite what those songs sounded like. One exception, oddly enough, is the shortest track on the album, To You There is no End. At under three minutes, with no vocals and almost nothing but furious drums, the frenzy and urgency of that track as it led into the next was enough to warrant several repeats, at least for me. Finally, the album finishes with When the Walls Fell, the most melodic of the lot and an album highlight, one of the sections of The Crash that will etch itself firmly in your memory. It's always a joy when a band has their strongest track at the end, because it gives you a reason to listen in full and leaves you with a good taste in your mouth. Would that more bands could learn this lesson rather than ending with a by-the-numbers ambient track.

Aside from having a completely throwaway ambient track in the middle, the chiefest complaint of The Crash is, perhaps, its lack of truly standout features, at least amongst Minsk's own discography. Yes, it's heavy, it's epic, those tribal drums are delicious and each song is that kind of "eyes rolling into the back of your head as you headbang in a trance" way, but is it an experience you can't get from their others" Maybe not, but I don't see this as a negative. The sound, from front to back, is undeniably Minsk. You will not mistake Minsk for any other band, and even a simple continuation and refinement of that sound is more than worthy of a place in anyone's collection. The Crash is everything Minsk has built up to this point, made bigger and meaner, and that's all it needs to be.



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user ratings (85)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Wizard
April 18th 2015


20209 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Album is boring.



followed by Minsk's signature tom-heavy drum riffage



Where does the tribal tom-heavy drumming ever appear in here for more than a minute at a time? They use speed metal beats at certain points and I'm thinking, did I download the wrong album? They fail at the builds and I think coming out of hiatus was a bad idea because initially, Sanford Parker said they had run out of creative juice a few years back. Figures.



The review sums it up but I would like you to re-explore their back catalogue and then tell me how good this sounds.





17WordHaiku
April 18th 2015


254 Comments


I think it's a pretty good album. Not rated yet but I'm leaning towards a 3.5

Good review.

SomeGuyDude
April 18th 2015


374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"The review sums it up but I would like you to re-explore their back catalogue and then tell me how good this sounds. "



I was a big Minsk fan before now actually, I'd long ago resigned myself to not hearing more out of the band. I know the tribal comes in bursts now but... I like it. It's not a constant thread as much like during Ritual Fires, but the heaviness is so apparent that it's almost suffocating.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
April 18th 2015


42584 Comments



followed by Minsk's signature tom-heavy drum riffage

tom-heavy drumm riffage

drum riffage




Digging: Cvd - Elsewhere Nowhere

SomeGuyDude
April 18th 2015


374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

LOL hey deny it all you want, drums can have riffs, especially when they're working on the toms as heavy as a band like Minsk.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
April 18th 2015


42584 Comments


drum riffage


Lord(e)Po)))ts
April 18th 2015


42584 Comments


drum riffage

Grizzlypyro
April 19th 2015


272 Comments


Need to check this more

SpiritCrusher2
April 19th 2015


6116 Comments


lol drum riffage

mordvynn
April 19th 2015


160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The Longest Of Days is the jimmy jam

xenocide.
April 19th 2015


1268 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Typical Minsk album, which is good. Definitely not easy to get into. Requires much attention. Sounds pretty good live.



Also, great review, pos! I've got the impression that many statements could be applied to their other albums as well.

Wizard
April 19th 2015


20209 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I was a big Minsk fan before now actually, I'd long ago resigned myself to not hearing more out of the band. I know the tribal comes in bursts now but... I like it. It's not a constant thread as much like during Ritual Fires, but the heaviness is so apparent that it's almost suffocating.



But that type of over-produced heaviness (or sludge for noobs) is sooooooo overused these days. It's like Sanford Parker used the same production so much, he's pretty much worked himself out of a job. Anyways, fair enough assessment.



And I get your whole drum-riffage idea that people are getting after you for. These guys as well as the whole post-metal movement do this very well.

titanslayer
April 20th 2015


2713 Comments


"You'll be hard pressed to clearly remember too many riffs out of The Crash, though each one is plenty groovy and heavy. "
Should be "...though each one has plenty of groove and is heavy." Or something like that. Good review man

SomeGuyDude
April 20th 2015


374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But that type of over-produced heaviness (or sludge for noobs) is sooooooo overused these days. It's like Sanford Parker used the same production so much, he's pretty much worked himself out of a job. Anyways, fair enough assessment.



Haha, can't disagree here. I admit I have a bit of a bias because when I've got a sound I like, I'm okay with having a load of albums that do it. Even if it's they're tackling a sound that's been done before, as long as they do it marginally better, I'll love the hell out of the album.



BUT, that's a personal thing and I know it's not how everyone would hear this. It's kinda funny that way, for a lot of albums, the very things that cause one to embrace it are the things that cause another to discard.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
April 23rd 2015


2594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great album, but a little too long for me, especially as some songs could easily have been cut from this and the album wouldn't have lost its momentum or flow. I mean, the four-part "Onward Procession" didn't do anything for me, and honestly without that I think the album would have had a better overall impression on me. Nonetheless, tracks like "Within and Without" and "Conjunction" are excellently written and structured.

Digging: Theories - Vessel

Underflow
April 23rd 2015


4867 Comments


Really digging this record. Thick atmosphere, disgusting riffs.

Wizard
April 23rd 2015


20209 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Haha, can't disagree here. I admit I have a bit of a bias because when I've got a sound I like, I'm okay with having a load of albums that do it. Even if it's they're tackling a sound that's been done before, as long as they do it marginally better, I'll love the hell out of the album.



I'm the same way but sometimes I grow tired of my obsessions with specific music. I've grown up through so many sub-genres of metal and some have stuck for years (black and death metal) and some have just lost their game because a) the best-of-the-best have retired or b) there wasn't enough substance to hold it together and turned into a short term, flavour of the month. Post-metal/ sludge has run it's course for the most part minus Neurosis (which has turned into a beast that transcends anything post-metal anyways).

Thibs
April 29th 2015


2636 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^ nah

deathschool
May 26th 2015


23934 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The songwriting feels a bit thin in places but this has got some fucking atmosphere going for it.

Flugmorph
June 26th 2015


20893 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

man this is GREAT. that bass



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