The trailblazers of hardcore and all the other violent branches of music have one thing in common and it isn’t just having a catchy name. They all embodied a distilled sense of malice and ruthless aggression, brandishing the tools of the trade to create music that incites passion just as much as it pleases the ear. Windsor, Ontario’s Minors have a pretty damn catchy name. On their new full-length Abject Bodies, they also do a pretty fucking great job of rousing all of the angst and animosity of ‘core greats – peppering the violence with oppressive sludge, raucous blasting, and the bleakest of wordplay. This isn’t your drunk uncle’s powerviolence band. This is beautiful bedlam tied up in a razor wire bow, but way less turn of the century screamo than that description sounds.
Building on their fantastic EP Atrophy, Minors begin 2019 with a shrill burst of feedback and wonderfully resonant distortion, the titular opener sounding like the scummy cousin of Mogwai with ringing chords and plate-shifting percussion. It’s a fairly gentle opening, considering what follows swiftly after. “Consumed” tests the limits of a standard guitar and it’s strings, creating a cascading wall of delayed dissonant terror while the powerful rhythm section batters out grooves that Baptists and Gaza fans will positively shit themselves with excitement over. “Meanderist” too fits these sort of comparisons, as abject (weyhey!) as they are, relative to this review.
Yet more chaos reigns when “Boneyard” spins and turns through more bone splintering shifts, coming to a head and bringing down the walls of decency around the band like a cave-in fitting of horror movie The Descent (not the massively sub-par sequel, The Descent II – Still Descending). “Flesh Prison” belong in the claustrophobic, blood-soaked world of that movie, condensing the air around each track with wide-eyed terror. Listen closely and there’s a world of crushed emotions and open-hearted offerings. Listen too loud and you will shit and cry blood, and we’ve not even touched on the real highlight of the record.
The slow, steady battering of the LP’s closing salvo is the rotten cherry on top of an already acrid batch of hate biscuits. “Erode” brings a stoner doom vibe into the fore, mixing the volatile elements of the band’s already well-established sludge with the low’n’slow riffs of a Sleep or Bongripper. The turgid back-and-forth of kick and snare never really relents and releases a deluge of wretched vocals delivering lines that could sound corny if they weren’t delivered so fucking honestly. “Garden Of Dismalism” closes proceedings with even more lashings of murky, soul-sucking desolation, ensuring that whatever life and soul was left in the listener’s body is crushed under heel – a faint shimmer of hope in the form of an almost pleasant sounding chord is obliterated by the time the track screeches to an agonising end.
Minors lay it out plainly for everyone to see that they don’t care for genre tags or pigeonholes one iota – their commitment to decadent dissonance completely unwavering. Abject Bodies is a real nasty piece of work – a jaded, world-weary nihilist; stubbing a cigarette out in a child’s birthday cake while telling all the kids at the party there is no joy to be found in life and nothing they can do will stop the slow decay of their bodies and minds; their hopes and dreams evaporating with the blue tobacco smoke and dissolving into the blackened icing. This apoplectic sound leaves no hope for a light at the end of the tunnel, whether the band are blasting with complete disregard for their own safety, or slowing things down to a primal level. Devastating. Necessary. Devilishly moreish.
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Abject Bodies is out February 22nd on Holy Roar Records, and is available for pre-order on the band’s Bandcamp page.