Minsk’s Post-Metal Banger The Crash & The Draw Will Pummel Your Earholes Into Submission

  • Kip Wingerschmidt

Over a decade into a largely under-the-radar career, Chicago area’s self-described “psychedelic metal” outfit Minsk are poised to play outside of hometown Peoria with a 3/5 lineup update on its first new album in six years The Crash & The Draw. 

My sage colleague and babymama Vince Neilstein has been hyping this one aplenty since well before we even got our hands on an advance copy — his excitement even went so far as to induce both repetition AND redundancy when he claimed the second released track from the album “When The Walls Fell” to be “hypnotic, crushing and hypnotizing” — and for good reason.

This is rich, dense yet true-to-the-riff hypnotic atmospheric post-metal that offers a great deal of heart and power, aided amply by former member (and also of Buried At Sea, supergroup United Nations, and behind the board for tons of your favorite experimental metal albums including Eyehategod and Yob) Sanford Parker’s spectacular production, which actively participates in contributing to the lush soundscapes as much as the musicians themselves.

A long release that never quite feels too lengthy, The Crash & The Draw incorporates all sorts of ambient textures at every turn, but they’re never distracting — every keyboard bed effectively supports the song at hand and any guitar effect seems meticulously selected to complement all sorts of vibrant, expansive vocal harmony layers (4/5 of the members contribute vocally) that bob and weave smoothly throughout and alternate between sitting right up front as leading the music and simply offering hints of sound you can feel and know are there but play it cool in the mix when the moment calls for subtlety.

And the pretty clean vocal arrangements are perfectly complemented by vicious screams that ring triumphantly true at all times. There also seems to be a fair amount of scream layering, as well as screaming/singing overlap, both of which make for a hell of an impact.

The contrasting guitar tones are perfectly selected so every note is either audible or at least clearly felt alongside each other and the often ethereal keyboards. The drumming has a distinctly tribal feel that is primitive in all the right ways, yet it remains abundantly clear that the man behind the kit has precise technique in his playing as well, which frankly is a deadly combination.

What Parker and the Minsk guys do with effects layers (not to mention the sheer force of their heavy tones) is truly something special.  There is a palpable vibe to this album, and it’s definitely one you’ll listen to from start to finish every time.  The songs range from just under three minutes to almost thirteen minutes, but again the length never feels like an issue even though in most similar cases it certainly would.  Rather, each track flows so well on its own and into one another that it’s difficult not to be arrested by the trance-like, hypnotizing hold this album has at all times.

For listeners that mostly respond to short, straightforward songs, this is probably not going to be your cup of tea — but I’d implore you to take a listen anyway and let yourself get swept up.  Rochelle Rochelle will totally back me up here: you simply have to experience this album to understand its strength.

Minsk’s The Crash & The Draw comes out April 7 on Relapse. You can stream the entire album here and pre-order it here.

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