Minsk – The Crash and the Draw


Y’know, I’m always a little leery when a 75-minute album comes up in my review queue.  It takes a lot to capture my attention for such an extended period, and when you look at past precedent, well… Reign in Blood was 29 minutes long, Vol 4 was 43.  Hell, Dopesmoker was 63 minutes, but that’s still a full quarter of basketball shorter than The Crash and the Draw.  Here’s hoping there isn’t too much garbage time towards the end…

I’m not entirely unfamiliar with Minsk, mind you.  Way back in the day (I wanna say ’08), I saw them as touring support for Kory Clarke-fronted Trouble in a smallish Hamilton venue [Casbah – ed.] where their sheer volume overwhelmed the sound system.  I’d say they blew Trouble off the stage sonically, if nothing else—although it wasn’t hard to top Trouble in the Kory Clarke days.

Anyhoo, this Chicago sextet formerly featured Sanford Parker in its ranks, and while he’s since left the band, he still produced this record in the Windy City, natch.  The album opens with its longest song, “To the Initiate” coming in slowly and softly before the initial heavy riff comes lumbering along.  This number is very much in the Neurosis vein—even the vocals remind me of Scott Kelly—with a bit of Nachtmystium thrown in for good measure.

The first song segues seamlessly into “Within and Without,” which features more post-sludge chugging along the lines of Neurosis or A Storm of Light.  Then we’re hit with a four-part suite, “Onward Progression,” which spans the next four tracks.  The suite takes bits and pieces from similarly-minded artists—some pummelling blackened sludge à la Indian here, an Earthy violin interlude there.  But if you’re expecting a radical departure from previous post-sludge forays, you’ll be disappointed.  This is competently executed material, just not completely original.  And yes, it does run a little long…


Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.

7.0 Rating