Music like this often makes my eyes glaze over — in a good way. Stuff that sounds this bleak makes me want to lie in bed and watch dust coagulate on the ceiling. But much like Nails, many of the tracks on Atrophy change tempo at the drop of a dime. When the band goes fast, Minors play at speeds fast enough to cause whiplash. These attributes function much like yin and yang and can make Atrophy just as uncomfortable as it is enjoyable.
Playing With Tempo
Beginning with “Somnolence”, Atrophy is off to an odd start. After about a minute of droning feedback, the guitars and drums begin a labored rhythm that sets the song’s mood. Eerily sour guitar chords accompany some disjointed shouts. The track functions as an interesting opener, but it’s not terribly gratifying. I’m still unsure if this lack of satisfaction is teasing what horrors lie within the bowels of Atrophy, or if this is just some weird lazy songwriting that was made to fit as an introduction to an album. I’ll let our dear readers decide for themselves.
“Somnolence” makes for an interesting transition to the second track, “Bone Pointer”. After some diabolic ambiance, this song bursts into a frenzy. Guitarist Nick and drummer Sean flail unpredictably in what seems to be a mix of black metal and hardcore. The instrumentation quickly switches to a sludgy groove, then devolves further into a wonderfully messy breakdown. In less than three minutes, Minors has switched between three different tempos.
This track alone takes inspiration from what feels like a dozen different genres, and “Bone Pointer” isn’t the only diverse track on Atrophy. With its dirge-like atmosphere, “Leper” adds some stoner metal vibes to the record. Whatever buzz I had going by the time the song started goes away by the time the song finishes. After speeding up, the funeral march falls into a punk mosh pit. At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked the sporadic tempo changes. Personally, it was as uncomfortable as constantly moving in and out between blazing Florida heat and a large freezer. But as I kept listening, the tempo changes grew on me little by little.
“Miseranaut” is one of the more straightforward tracks on Atrophy. I love the utter ferocity Minors brings on this cut. Compared to some of the other songs, the lyrics come through the mix stronger. Their vocalist Jesse cries out, “I hate the world just as much as it hates me/I hate myself just as much as you hate me”. It’s not exactly the most eloquent couplet I’ve ever read. The other six tracks on Atrophy fit this aesthetic of self-loathing, and they also fit the unfortunate approach to lyrics.
Still, this is a solid collection of seven tracks with high replay value. The blend of genres Minors has at play on Atrophy is what really makes this project unique. If they could just polish up their lyricism, they may have it in them to make something truly amazing. 2017 isn’t quite over, so give these guys a listen before the year is out!
Notable Tracks: “Bone Pointer”; “Leper”; “Miseranaut”; “Soothsayer”
FFO: Code Orange, Helpless, Nails