Release Date: 22nd Feb 2019
Record Label: Holy Roar Records
For Fans Of: Converge, Nails, Baptists
Have you heard of Minors? It seems not many have. Despite a rapid turnaround on new material, the band seem to remain one of Canada’s best kept secrets. Here’s hoping all that changes and the cat is let out of the bag with Abject Bodies, the latest release from the Ontario hardcore outfit.
Abject Bodies ostensibly appears as a companion piece for the band’s previous effort, Atrophy; both seven tracks long, less than 30 minutes running time, and bounce between slow sludge breakdowns and manic Converge riffing. Hell, even the artwork of the two releases look similar, utilising the same washed out colour scheme to create a messy circle of darkness with very little light present (reflective of the band’s material).
The album opens with long sustained noise not unlike a Sunn O))) record, making the listener doubt they are listening to a hardcore band, and once the rest of the band finally join for what serves as an instrumental overture, the track gives way to a slow doom riff steeped in sinister atmosphere, rather than the bluesy, southern stylings of some doom bands. It doesn’t take long for Minors to catapult from their sludge sound to wild chaotic hardcore, providing riffs that could quite easily have been penned by Kurt Ballou (still unconvinced he didn’t have any participation on this record) on the following two tracks, ‘Consumed’ and ‘Meanderist’.
As the album progresses, Minors jump back and forth at the drop of a hat between blisteringly fast powerviolence and crushingly heavy doom, accentuating both styles by the harsh contrast (something bands rooted in either genre should take into consideration), therefore making each distinct passage enjoyable and avoiding the risk of monotony. Lead single ‘Flesh Prison’ tows the line between the two disparate sounds initially, providing a mid-tempo powerhouse of a riff, before launching into yet another frenzied whirl of noise and blast beats, as if on command from an outside force. The band also showcase their focus on dark and grim subject matter through their song titles; with a track list that reads like a more succinct Carcass record (‘Flesh Prison’, ‘Boneyard’), Minors clearly don’t mess around covering frivolous topics. The aforementioned single covers the vocalist’s struggles with sleep paralysis, which, for those who are lucky enough to have not suffered it, is an experience more scary than the subject of the darkest Cannibal Corpse song.
With the running time of each subsequent track increasing (album opener and title track is just over two minutes whereas closing song ‘Garden Of Dismalism’ is just shy of seven), the slower, darker, more expansive riffs dominate the second half of the album, with the final two tracks all but abandoning the powerviolence chaos found in earlier tracks in favour of sludge slowness. While not a criticism on the genre or the sound, this creates a record split in two halves; the first half, frantic and chaotic, the second dark and heavy. One might argue that instead of keeping the styles somewhat separated, a change to the running order would provide a greater sonic and dynamic variety, and would therefore lead to more intrigue from listeners. Yes all the songs are solid, but by juxtaposing the fast and slow tracks their respective impact will be all the more significant.
Despite what trivial comments there are to be made, Minors have crafted a solid hardcore album with Abject Bodies, illustrating that sludgy riffs and breakneck tempo shifts can go hand in hand. Seeing as they’ve already caught the attention of much coveted labels Deathwish and Holy Roar, it won’t be long until the Canadian four-piece are omnipresent.
Recommended Tracks: Consumed, Flesh Prison
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