We all crave the riff. We worship the riff. And Minarchist shall deliver the riff. It’s Tech Death Thursday!
A couple gnus:
- There’s a new Revocation tune out that’s quite Revocationy; you already know whether you’ll love it or hate it. Check out “Monolithic Ignorance” here and look for Great Is Our Sin on July 22nd.
- Crazy drum person/prolific music guy Hannes Grossmann has a new solo album on the way, featuring all the other members of Alkaloid as well as Fountainhead, Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry), and Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal). You can contribute to his Indiegogo for some sweet perks; otherwise, if you just want to hear a new song, turn your ears this way.
With all the awesome tech death coming out these days, good old progressive death metal tends to get left on the sidelines. It’s a shame, too; there has been a host of bands like Duality, Perihelion Ship, and Rapheumet’s Well who have all put out awesome material, but they’ve been largely overshadowed by their flashier counterparts. It’s not hard to understand why; for all their panache and instrumental acrobatics, the average tech death album is a lot more easily digested than the typical slow burn of a prog album. Both have their places of course, but one is consistently overlooked.
With that, I’d like to introduce you to Minarchist. This Philadelphia trio is masterminded by Connor McNamee, who is joined by a pair of musicians with formidable pedigrees: bassist Nick Shaw of Black Crown Initiate and vocalist Jerry Martin of Alustrium. These two round out the lineup perfectly, as the music sounds quite a bit like both of their main projects. Minarchist marries Alustrium’s aptitude for riffing with BCI’s love of the unconventional, creating something new in the process. In Absence covers a lot of ground in this way; there are plenty of gut-punching tremolo riffs and smooth Keith Merrowesque grooves, but the aggression is largely kept in check throughout. This isn’t constantly raging like Imperium or Blame; the anger is carefully calculated for maximum effect.
Similarly, there are a lot of clean segments on this album, but they never overstay their welcome and aren’t overutilized. McNamee showcases his excellent singing voice in these parts, a somber contrast to Martin’s scorching growl. These sections also have a lot of standout guitar solos; the playing here feels a lot more soulful than many other bands in the genre, in no small part due to their placement. It makes for a welcome reprieve from the brutality of the majority of the album, though the clean parts are intense in a different way. “Abandon” in particular has a powerful performance from both vocalists and illustrates the duality of Minarchist’s overall sound (closing track “In Absence of Fear” does this quite well, too).
Production is a hangup for a lot of people when it comes to this style of music, and In Absence unfortunately won’t get around this. There is a bit of a djent quality to the guitars, and though they help keep it from getting muddy, it does feel a bit plastic. Thankfully, it’s not to done to the ridiculous levels of most djent bands, where everything is compacted into a tight little package, but the mix still feels slightly claustrophobic. The bass is also far too low in the mix, which is disappointing given Shaw’s considerable skill.
However, none of that should impede your enjoyment of this album too much. In Absence is an awesome debut, one that should please fans of all things progressive (and most things tech). As far as I’m concerned, Minarchist are ready to hang with the greats. If you like what you heard here, you can find them on Facebook and at the Bandcamp link above. Swing by and drag them into the Toilet. They’ll thank you later. That’s all for this week; until next time,
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