MINSK have long existed in the shadows of that bracket of post metal heavyweights such as: Neurosis, Cult of Luna and Isis. Much like Mouth of the Architect, Pelican or Rosetta, they have always delivered nothing but quality on disk and on stage, but never reached breakout popularity, The Crash & The Draw will likely push them into the light.
Since their last release, 2009’s ‘With Echoes In The Movement Of Stone’ the band have endured significant personnel changes with only two original members remaining: Christopher Bennett (guitar, vocals) and Tim Mead (keyboard, vocals). It is the sign of a special band when the music means more to the brand than the individuals involved. Perhaps the fact that Sandford Parker is still involved also had a large influence on the product; choosing to produce and mix the album rather than appear on it himself.
MINSK have taken extreme care with The Crash & The Draw, this was not a release that was written and recorded in a month, this was a painstaking process. The band clearly did not take any shortcuts with the recording, stressing on every nuance of sound, detail and texture. The layers of sound are immense and absorbing, listening to it as a whole piece is rewarding, as the journey is more important than the sum of its parts. The album is very long, at 76 minutes its challenging and requires patience but is never dull, it also have the ability to hypnotise the listener, so be very careful listening to this while driving.
Slow building opener ‘To the Initiate’ is a mesmerising 12 minutes of inherent beauty, unsteady convictions and fevered dreams constantly shifting and progressing. Follow up track,’Within and Without’ largely perpetuates matters with some added Neurosis tendencies, whilst the four part colossal section that is ‘Onward Procession’ showcases everything that Minsk stands for: light, growth, depth and spiritual awakening.
‘Conjuction’ almost melts your senses with sonic fluency, and while ‘To You There is No End’ stands as the shortest track at 2:49, it’s impact is deafening with a commanding tribal drum smack paving the way for the trudging doom energies of ‘To the Garish Remembrance’ and “When the Walls Fell’ to wonderfully conclude matters by ending in the mire.
Thematically, The Crash & The Draw is equally if not more impressive than the sounds. In some ways, it is a continuation of the group’s attraction to alchemical and esoteric ideologies. The writing takes inspiration from the writings of sacred texts and authors such as Hermes Trismegistus and Kahlil Gibran, yet comes across as a very personal and spiritual album.
MINSK have raised the bar for themselves and for those few bands still carving out Post Metal music, it does not offer anything innovative in order to revolutionise the genre, but it does not have to. This is nothing but quality musicianship from artists that have put a lot of effort into the craft and you couldn’t ask for much more.
The Crash & The Draw Track Listing:
1. To The Initiate
2. Within And Without
3. Onward Procession I. These Longest Of Days
4. Onward Procession II. The Soil Calls
5. Onward Procession III. The Blue Hour
6. Onward Procession IV. Return, The Heir
8. The Way Is Through
9. To You There Is No End
10. To The Garish Remembrance Of Failure
11. When The Walls Fell