Minsk, "The Ritual Fires of Abandonment"
This is the latest record from Minsk, even if they do come from Illinois and not Belarus. As with the last record they evoke the feel of the last few Neurosis records, but it comes off better than it does for Neurosis. I don't know if I'm simply punishing Neurosis for not living up to what they used to do in the early 90's when they were invincible or because Minsk simply do it better. They mix the slow ambiance of later Neurosis with some truly crushing moments that remind me of the band's earlier work. They even have a short song called Circle of Ashes who's opening reminds me of the track Burning Flesh in Year of Pig off of Enemy of the Sun. I love the heavier parts more, but at least the lighter parts don't get outright dull like Neurosis. I also enjoy the vocals more, even if they are a drone that wants to be Nick Cave in the worst possible way. I hate to keep talking about Neurosis in this review but the material makes it very hard not to constantly think of them. Perhaps they are a bit more like Isis than Neurosis, but there is little difference between those two bands, especially give how little I enjoyed their last three records. The tribal drumming is also in the same vein as those two bands. So why do I like this record if it's so derivative. Simple, it's heavy. Neurosis and Isis seem to have forgotten how to do that, Minsk haven't. The album itself is only an hour, but three of the songs are over thirteen minutes long, so if you want short and to the point then avoid this record. If you need your teeth rattled the way Neurosis used to do it, then pick this up.K.Huckins