Overall Score: 8/10 Misanthropy: 10/10 Musicianship: 8/10 Heaviness: 8/10 Pros: Hateful, spiteful hardcore expertly played and written | Wonderfully well realised Cons: Virtually nothing
By now you should be familiar with Holy Roar Records. If not; you need to sort that out immediately. Purveyors if all things interesting in the world of heavy music, their output is always soulful, emotionally wrought and more often than not spine snappingly heavy. Be it the barren, contemplative bearing of the soul of A.A. Williams, or the outright filth of Secret Cutter, they’re a label that deserves your attention, as do their latest charges, Minors.
As shrieking feedback and a low hanging chord ring out into a void like abyss, Abject Bodies begins in startlingly horrific fashion. The title track serves as a introductory gambit laying out the grimy blueprint of what is to confront the listener; hardcore drenched in misanthropy and general existential disgust. Follow up song, Consumed, is a high velocity aural explosion centred around flailing feedback and barely contained percussion. There is no room for levity in the brief track, and every atom of Consumed’s being is filled with violence.
The album flows beautifully together, with each song segueing perfectly into the next. There’s no breathing room in this oppressive slab of work, and it’s remarkably focused in its brutality. Ironic then that third track, Meanderist, should not flow out into an empty space of half baked ideas and misguided attempts to jump on the bandwagon of post-Code Orange hardcore, but stay on target as a virulent three and a half minutes that is never aimless.
Flesh Prison is the first point in the album that there becomes a semblance of slam-danceable melody. The cacophonous soundscapes that made the record up until now are exquisitely executed, but this slight lean into more melodic territories works wonders and keeps things as intriguing as they are dirty. The din returns in harrowing form on Boneyard, with feedback and shredding guitars making up the vast majority of the bridge, but once again they stray into more melodious and mid tempo realms.
This versatility comes to a head in the album’s penultimate and final tracks, Erode and Garden of Dismalism respectively. Both significantly longer than their predecessors, they act as miniature epics and show the band exploring more spacious and ethereal landscapes. The suffocating chokehold the album had you in is finally released as now it resorts to simply staring you down as if to say you deserved it. This is truly hateful music. It’s brilliant. The duo of songs both show impressive dynamism and build to punishing crescendos. A fine way to round out the album indeed.
Minors have created an album that is punishingly black hearted, and does not wait for the listener to become accustomed to it. It is uncompromising and bestial, with the final declaration of ‘eat my flesh’ echoing in mind long after the final notes have ceased to reverberate. Perhaps an album too darkly extreme for the majority of listeners, but for those who enjoy their music as bleak and crushing as it comes, this is an absolute essential.
Minors’ Abject Bodies is released Friday 22nd February 2019 through Holy Roar Records.