Minsk "The Ritual Fires of Abandonment" CDPosted on Monday, February 19th, 2007 @ 9:19am » permalink
"The Ritual Fires of Abandonment" is the sophomore full-length and Relapse Records debut from Minsk – undertaking a six-track, hour-long journey with three shorter four- to six-minute pieces and three much longer compositions that top 13 to 15 minutes apiece. And as with their prior work, it's impossible not to draw rather distinct comparisons to Neurosis. I hate to do that in some ways, as legions of bands have almost created this sort of "like Neurosis" genre over the past decade; but musically, vocally, lyrically, visually… there are just several threads here that all remind me of "Enemy of the Sun" and "Through Silver in Blood" era Neurosis on some level. But that's not to discredit Minsk at all, nor to pin them down as some sort of copycat act, because that's not it at all. This album certainly takes a less direct path – one that's less overtly "heavy" and in some ways more stripped down, adding in additional fluid yet dreary "post-rock" (I still don't really "get" that tag, but I think most people do at least understand what sort of sounds it references) excursions and experimenting with a lot of layering and delicately shifting dynamics. The recording's pretty great: Extremely dense and textured, with a killer sense of natural warmth and contrast between the borderline muddy overdriven tones and crisp, clear atmospheric passages – some of which are quite sparse. Headphones are definitely mandatory to really appreciate the depth of what's going on sonically and atmospherically, though – both with the more traditional arrangements and in terms of the careful implementation of electronics and such. There's this tribally sort of hypnotic focus going on that can get lost without headphones containing the sounds and channeling them straight into your ears. Awesomely intricate layout, too: Complete with subtle metallic gold ink and a die-cut front cover, while the lyrics are inspired by (and at times derived from) the works of Lebanese American artist/poet/author Kahlil Gibran:
In my darkest hour my blood runs free, I've come to lie on the fire, I've come to stare at the sun, where two bleed as one, it is time the sun arrived to burn away the numb, in the flesh denying the eyes of time, make me nourishment for the blazing flame, make me food for the sacred fire, tide cast aside open mouth wide, the sea cried for me, dead spirit part of me, I left you by the sea.
As always, pick one up if it suits your tastes: