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Minutian biography
The band started from a 3 songs demo by drummer Atti RUOKOLA. The debut album "Repercussions" released in 2011 received positive reviews as the band played various gigs in Finland. But in 2012, the band lost guitarist Jaako JERNBERG in a accident which almost put a stop to the band. The band decided to continue and started writing new songs with some friends playing the guitar. Then after more live shows, and recordings, the band released in 2015, "Inwards", a more melodic album. The music is rock/metal with a experimental direction where the band slow things down to let the music breathe. We can hear influences from TOOL, OCEANSIZE and OPETH. The lineup is completed with Mikko HEINO (Vocals), Jouni MIKKOLA (Bass), Jesper JOHNSON and Pekka LOPONEN on guitar.

Bio by rdtprog

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3.00 | 3 ratings
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3.88 | 6 ratings
Magical Thinking

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 Magical Thinking by MINUTIAN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.88 | 6 ratings

Magical Thinking
Minutian Progressive Metal

Review by nick_h_nz
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

The third album from Finns Minutian was a long time coming, but it was absolutely worth the wait. I first became aware of the band after the release of their second album, Inwards, which has remained a firm favourite of mine ever since. After quite a few listens, I think Magical Thinking, might be even better. The band, while still showing their influences (Oceansize, Tool, King Crimson), seem to have settled into a sound that is more their own. There is a fullness and richness that, while not exactly lacking on Inwards, is more evident here.

Of the three bands I mentioned as influences above, Oceansize is the most obvious for me, its shadow remaining over Magical Thinking, but it is nowhere near as overt as it was for Inwards and debut album Repercussions. But Minutian never sounded derivative of Oceansize, so much as you could hear how that band informed some of the sound and structure of Minutian's music. Having said that, they are not a band you'd ever mistake for Oceansize anyway. The vocals alone would put paid to that, with a distinctly Scandinavian sound (yes, I know Finland is technically not a Scandinavian country) that I suspect would make it impossible for someone to listen to and not guess their approximate origin.

Inwards was quite a melancholy album, which is perhaps not so much down to the Oceansize influence as the circumstances surrounding its creation. Minutian's guitarist Jaakko Jernberg died in 2012, the band dealing with their loss by writing new material describing the "inward" journey of grief and loss, and dedicating the results to Jernberg's memory. The album closed with Redeemer, with both lyrics and music by Jernberg. It was obviously a very personal album, and Magical Thinking still feels personal to an extent, but not specifically to the band so much as universally. Yes, universally personal might seem a bit of an oxymoron, but bear with me here.

Where Inwards was melancholic, Magical Thinking is more anxious. Indeed, if I did not know from their frequent Facebook updates how long this album has been coming, I might think it was a direct response to the events of last year and how they have affected the collective mental health of society. The songs of Magical Thinking seem to describe the anxieties, frustrations and worries that people have experience over the past year or so. There are lyrical descriptions of anxiety attacks, of feelings of guilt and uselessness; and of second guessing how others are thinking of you. It's hard to imagine there won't be at least one song that resonates with any listener of this album.

Opening song Alien Reflection does an excellent job of both introducing the nebulous concept of the album and the updated sound of the band. This is a heavier, groovier Minutian, and the band let us know from the very first song. A feeling I always had with Minutian is only reinforced by this song, and this album. I don't know if it is actually the case, but the songs feel like they are built from the rhythm section up. The drumming of Antti Ruokola, especially, dominates, and feels like it was there before anything else, with the song built around it. Regardless, I love Ruokola's drumming, and it contributes a lot to why I enjoy Minutian so much. Alien Reflection is almost a musical description of an anxiety attack. It's brutal and brilliant.

Suspicious Smiles slows down the pace, but has the same anxious feel. My take on the lyrics here are that the smiles themselves are not suspicious, rather the person seeing them views them suspiciously. The paranoia of an anxious mind second-guessing what the people around them are thinking. Again, something so close to home for many people in the last year, and I love how the song builds and builds, just as the anxiety and paranoia can build. It all comes pouring out in crashing drums to end the song, to be followed by Doublespeak.

But it's the song that follows Doublespeak, Supersymmetry, that is possibly my favourite on the album, and it's an absolute treat. It's perhaps sonically the closest to Inwards, with a sparser and more minimal feel than anything else so far on Magical Thinking, but it is still clearly more of this album than the last. Jouni Mikkola's bass playing is awesome, and I've already said how much I like Antti Ruokola's drumming. The pair lay down a slow, almost laid-back groove, but the song is no less heavy or intense. A lot of this is down to the vocals of Mikko Heino, who has a fantastic and emotive voice. Heino's vocals on this track almost seem to be running at a different speed to the music. I'm not sure how to explain this, but this track has a really odd tempo, which almost seems like it is too slow for the song, with Heino's singing dragging it into line. That probably only makes sense if you listen to the song, and even then, I don't think I've described it well. All I can really say is how much I love this song.

The title track is next, and is something quite different. It almost reminds me of some of Ulver's electronic exploits, except with the drum attack of ConstruKction-era King Crimson. It's wonderfully atmospheric, which is something Minutian has always excelled in. Minutian has shown from the offset that they can successfully create an atmosphere appropriate to their lyrical content. Debut album Repercussions perfectly echoes the desperation and lack/loss of faith that makes up the concept of that album. Inwards piles on even more melancholy, as mentioned near the beginning of this review, and Magical Thinking continues the trend, with perfectly placed passages of music alternately unnervingly quiet or explosive and bombastic. The sense of anxiety is palpable, and sometimes deliberately overwhelming.

The hits keep coming, and occasionally punching you in the gut, until the triumphant sound of final track, The Grand Scheme kicks in. My favourite guitar passages occur on this track. I'm not sure if it's Pekka Lopenen or Jesper Johnson, but whoever it is, it's marvellous. The guitar on this track is also an example of what perhaps works particularly well for this album: just how tight it is. Minutian's grasp of restraint and subtlety has always been obvious, with a knack for knowing what notes NOT to play, and when to leave space, but Magical Thinking really ups the ante. And the band shows judicious restraint with the running time, also. Given the length of time between this album and Inwards, it would probably have been easy to put out a much longer album, and I'm sure many bands would have done. But Minutian have instead given us a 45-minute, eight song album that needs nothing more. This neat and concise package, along with the particularly topical lyrical content, makes Magical Thinking both an easy and uneasy album to listen to, and one I find myself returning to often.

 Magical Thinking by MINUTIAN album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.88 | 6 ratings

Magical Thinking
Minutian Progressive Metal

Review by alainPP

4 stars Minutian is an alternative rock metal band that debuted in 2011. Sounds from Tool, Oceansize may tickle your ear. This is their 3rd opus more modern prog-rock metal with 'roller coaster' genre breaks; a melancholic and depressive prog metal at times with reminiscences of rush and psyche, thanks to the heavy guitar playing and racy rhythms. Pekka Loponen on guitar is involved alongside singer Mikko Heino, offering beautiful harmonies and obvious complementarity.

"Alien Reflection" and a heavy, groovy attack, catchy and rocky rhythm after 17 seconds of sweetness; heavy prog metal tormented. "Suspicious Smiles" with a heady Frippian tune followed by a mid-tempo AOR tune, the soft voice that astonishes, the drums flowing naturally, metal tune with prog component la Soen, la Tool. "Doublespeak" more in Alice in Chains for vocals, early Oceansize, a bit on the latest Katatonia, Paradise Lost, the bass forward takes on a progressive rhythmic drift, one of the best tracks for a dynamic modern sound and a gloomy, depressive mid-term approach. "Supersymmetry" for melodic prog rock, long crescendo track, airy texture, a throbbing guitar riff, space-filling vocals, it arises before the sharp weighted explosion.

"Magical Thinking" and the arrival of a synthetic, electronic phrasing sound, a bit like Devo for a fusion of genre, a bit also of Simple Minds, a more pop and confusing tune. "Vacant Eyes" with a heavy sounding, the bass that harks back to haunting doom, evolving with again Paradise Lost or Katatonia see Soen for the subtle association of progressive sounds in an original metallic tune. "Scarefire" rolls in, rhythmic, catchy title, dancing yes you read that right, voice forward, Tool sound, electrified tune, a little stressful chorus but the good taste to finish it in a synthetic way. "The Grand Scheme" for the colorful finale with a chorus rather than a voice, guitars going everywhere.

Be careful not to be fooled by appearances with Minutian, there is not only good and heavy prog metal in it, you risk finding various sounds, colorful (I like that word!) On each of the different atmospheric titles and scalable cut for the scene that we miss. Singular album which requires listening.

 Inwards by MINUTIAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 3 ratings

Minutian Progressive Metal

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

4 stars One thing that quite a few modern progressive acts seem to miss - and something that classic bands such as King Crimson and Genesis pulled off with ease - is that instrumental prowess tends to be best presented as merely a side dish and not the main course of an album. While technicality and complexity are usually crucial ingredients in progressive rock as a whole, emotion and drama are just as important. Remember how that layered Mellotron orchestration in King Crimson's "Epitaph" created intense feelings of dread and fear? Or how Pink Floyd's soundscapes convey an incredibly spacious atmosphere that makes you feel like you've entered a different world? That's the kind of work that really connects with a listener, instead of just sounding impressive on a surface level. Well, it seems that there's a Finnish progressive rock band who captures the balance between technicality and emotion as if it is second nature, and they are known as Minutian.

Then again, Minutian have every right to come at their newest album Inwards from an emotional angle. The band lost one of their founding members, guitarist Jaakko Jernberg, in 2012; this caused the band to contemplate whether they should continue playing and recording. Well, the fact that they ended up continuing is just wonderful; Inwards is not only a superbly-crafted album, but it's absolutely beautiful as well. While the album is a mixture of progressive rock and progressive metal, even the metal portions come with incredibly dark and melancholic elements. "Manifest" and the opening track "Hollow Heroics" bring out much of the album's heaviest material, while many of the others display a more serene vibe; of course there are also many neat moments with unconventional time signatures, such as the calm 5/4-time acoustic introduction of "Burning Bright" and the many technical rhythm shifts of "Manifest." The members' abilities are superb, and none of the key and time changes feel forced or without reason. But when you get down to it, the best thing about Inwards is the use and timing of its dynamics. "Aphelion" is the greatest example on the record, weaving through multiple build-ups and subtle instrumental cues throughout its 10-minute run time before reaching an explosive climax as it nears its end. "Hollow Heroics" is also notable for its dynamic shifts, giving a reasonable amount of attention to both the distorted metal portions and the acoustic elements that also serve to kick off the song. In any case, these moments really help in varying each song's mood and overall vibe; some songs even display more uplifting melodies in contrast to all the melancholy, such as some of the acoustic moments of "On Derelict Sidings."

If there's any weakness on Inwards, it's that some of the songs tend to drag on for a little too long. For instance, the main motif of the aforementioned "Derelict Sidings" gets a little bit old after a while. It sounds neat when the acoustic guitar is blending with the piano, but the overall song could have been cut down by about two minutes. It would have been nice to hear some leaner tunes like "Manifest," songs that rely a bit more on the heaviness to contrast the more ornately arranged songs. But these are just nitpicks in the long run. If anything, Inwards is proof that not only is progressive rock alive and well, but also has plenty of room for expansion. Minutian said that some of their biggest inspirations were King Crimson, Tool, and Fates Warning; however, modern progressive rock acts should now be taking notes from this band as well. They took their classic inspirations and reconstructed them in a daring and meaningful way, incorporating a beautiful sense of atmosphere and skillfully-implemented dynamics into their complex rock/metal. Wherever Minutian go from here, I can honestly say this could end up being one of the finest progressive rock albums of the entire year.

(Originally written in 2015 on Sea of Tranquility)

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition.

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