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Experimental/Post Metal

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "The Crash and the Draw" is the 4th full-length studio album by US sludge/post metal act Minsk. The album was released through Relapse Records in April 2015. Itīs the bandīs first release since "With Echoes in the Movement of Stone" from 2009, so theyīve had a longer recording break. Quite a lot has happened in those 6 years though both in terms of the members working on other projects (three of the members recorded the "Impious Lamps (2010)" EP under the Cloud Burial monicker), but also regarding lineup changes. Only Tim Mead (lead vocals, synthesizers), and Chris Bennett (guitars, vocals) are left from the lineup who recorded "With Echoes in the Movement of Stone (2009)". Former bassist/vocalist Sanford Parker is still involved as producer though. New faces in the lineup are Aaron Austin (guitars, vocals), Zachary Livingston (bass, vocals), and Kevin Rendleman (drums).

Stylistically the band continue the atmospheric sludge/post metal style of "With Echoes in the Movement of Stone (2009)". Minsk always had a progressive way of doing things, and that is also true for the music on "The Crash and the Draw". They successfully combine heavy sludgy parts with atmospheric and slow building post metal parts (and even an atsmospheric ambient track in "Conjunction"), and clean vocals with harsher type vocals. The drumming has a tribal sound to them, which makes that part of the music pretty interesting. The tempo is mostly slow- to mid paced, but there are a couple of faster parts on the 11 track, 75:36 minutes long album, especially noteworthy on the opening track "To the Initiate".

In addition to the individual tracks on the album, "The Crash and the Draw" features the ""The Crash and the Draw"" four part suite. The material is generally well written and always playful and adventurous, which is one of the bandīs greatest strengths. The high level musicianship, and the organic and well sounding production are two other assets, and all those assets are needed, because although the music is both adventurous and rather progressive, itīs not particularly original, and I hear a lot of nods toward some of the leading acts on the scene like Neurosis, Mastodon, and Baroness. So upon conclusion "The Crash and the Draw" is another high quality release by Minsk. A varied and quite dynamic musical journey, which never becomes tedious despite the very long running time. So despite a few issues with the originality of the material, I still think a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

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Posted Friday, July 3, 2015 | Review Permalink

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