The word atrophy was the difference between a B and a A (for the sake of this narrative) in a media test I somehow remember from school. We watched a particular live rendition of “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails and had to comment on the visual element of the concert (not all of school was awful, some of it was just shit). The accelerated footage of a fox decomposing intrigued me, being a sweaty mosher. Grim teenage curiosity aside, I wanted to use a word other than “decompose” or “rot”. Hence, atrophy. ‘Til now I have associated the word with the NIN video but from here out, hearing it in every second episode of CSI: Las Vegas I’m re-watching will turn my mind only to Minors and their Holy Roar debut. Atrophy. Obviously.
Released at the turn of the year and thus, right in time for festive laziness, Atrophy has been a bigger part of my life than family conversations over the dinner table. Between knuckle dragging callousness and rip-shit-riff-city, the youngsters from Windsor drive punk and metal together with the force of a hundred hockey pucks to the dick. Sparks ensue. Leave it to Holy Roar to hand the spotlight to a band with the forward motion of all of those pucks. Swing a stick at certain Bandcamp tags and there are a dozen bands rushing to formulate thoughts towards creating stand out music moments. Extreme music fans are hard to please, after all.
“Somnolence” greets the listener with the warming, familial hug of feedback and noise, easing the suffering in gently. Gently like a cold water wake up. Minors ease into the blackest of Sabbath grooves, entering with fists bloody from smashing the earth and leaving completely entangled. Entangled in razor wire, chains, any other restrictive tool that isn’t comfortable. You get the picture, it’s brutal as fuck or something. Through the powerviolence(ish) blasts and lumbering beatdowns, the brutality flows with thanks to the guts’n’glory vocals. Never encroaching over the band, the hardcore delivery is flecked with spit and animosity. I can picture someone the same size, shape and with the same smell as Henry Rollins with mike in hand, on their knees spraying toxicity into the first row. Unique and appealing when delivered over dizzying music like this.
It says enough about this release that the slow, sludge moments shrink in comparison to cranked up, piss spitting punk blasts on “Void” or “Bone Pointer”. Shifting gears fluently through every grinding twist and turn, Minors play a bastardized version of surf-punk, somewhere between Magrudergrind and Dead Kennedys. The Beach Boys with blastbeats, if you will. “Leper” slips between bone trembling sludge and whirlwind d-beating, sharp enough to expose the raw nerves between skin cells, further highlighting this young act’s faultless songwriting and structuring. Even after several waves of shock tsunami, Atrophy still finds time to surprise and intrigue, closing with the accelerated finalé of “Soothsayer”, a song so well written that it left me itching for another fix. Just one more. Or two.
Holy Roar Records ended 2017 exactly how they started it. Putting out fresh, energetic and ultimately destructive extreme music. Existing in that special grey area between punk and metal (but not powerviolence), Minors have the perfect home in Holy Roar. Alongside releases celebrated for blurring the lines between genres, Atrophy stands out as an early entry into the career of a band with poise and precision in spades. It’s criminal that zero end of year publications touched on how great a release this is, even in it’s most simple moments. Hopefully it’s not just because everyone’s too scared to search for the band name.