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REVIEW: Minsk - Out Of A Center Which Is Neither Dead Nor Alive At A Loss Recordings, 2005
8.5/10
Minsk - Out Of A Center Which Is Neither Dead Nor Alive - cover art From the band's official biography: "Drawing its nominal inspiration from a remote Belarussian city nestled deep amidst the in-betweens of the East and the West, a city that has been burned to the ground on several occasions only to be rebuilt like a Phoenix rising from its ashes, Minsk is a sort of dark cerebral experimentation... an emotive conceptualization that sears the visceral and hopes for something real... something between the conscious and the unconscious... a roller coaster of passion, noise, rhythm, and trance." Yes, exactly.

Minsk can be described as nothing other than Experimental Metal because they are definitely Metal, but they are genre-defying and rather experimental in their scope. In a recent interview with Arch Enemy's Michael Amott, the stratification of Metal was discussed and he had this to offer about labels and all the supposed subgenres: "...now it seems like these boxes are getting smaller and smaller and it's not that fun sitting in a box that small." So many other bands seem to be mixing and matching influences and genres these days, and that's all well and good, but Minsk is truly a beast unto themselves.

The band plays a type of Metal steeped in crusty Doom with psychedelic, earthen tones clearly dominating the process that often run headlong into dirge territory. Vocals are split among three persons and results in a varied approach, perhaps necessarily, but whereas Nile does the same with ultra-guttural success, Minsk has a very tribal motif going between the voices and the tom-rich drumming -- pummeling, really. At times the mammoth-length songs (6 songs in ~65 minutes means an average running time of over 10 minutes per, junior) achieve a spaced-out fuzz akin to Sons of Otis using broken Orange amps.

The closest comparisons are obviously mid-era Neurosis -- particularly in terms of drumming, acoustic passages, and multiple vocal patterns -- and perhaps early Mastodon, but relying on these references alone may be disingenuous to the band or even to you, the reader. If you like your Doom soaked in tribal grain alcohol and set aflame by fuzzed out electronics, Minsk is your band. "Recording with producer Sanford Parker at Volume Studios has yielded both their At A Loss debut full length album and a new bass player in Parker himself, also noted for his play in the 'megalithic doom outfit' Buried at Sea." One dies, another is reborn. Like the phoenix. Like Minsk. And I like it a lot. So should you.

written by Tony Belcher

Find out more about the band

» Minsk band details
Tracklist
1. Waging War On The Forevers
2. Narcotics And Dissecting Knives
3. Holy Flower Of The North Star
4. Three Hours
5. Bloodletting And Forgetting
6. Wisp Of Tow

Playing time: 64.57

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