When Atrophy came out a year and a little bit ago, Ontario Hardcore outfit Minors made a lasting impression in their twenty-minute onslaught of Converge melancholy and frenetic All Pigs Must Die-like energy. It was another home run for Holy Roar Records, but due to its December release it sadly got overlooked by a large portion of the Metal media. Well, it’s a new year and with that comes new material from the Canadians in the form of Abject Bodies; a traumatic continuation of their uncompromising sludgy, Hardcore oppression.
This continuation means that Abject Bodies starts very similarly to Atrophy, with lumbering Doom riffs and drawn-out Noise/Punk feedback to create that oppressive tension, before a second track delivers a post-Hardcore punch to up the intensity. This time around, it’s ‘Consumed’ that does the job, but it’s the follow-up of ‘Meanderist’ that really knocks you for six with a spiteful You Fail Me (Epitaph) kind of emotional dissonance. Not just in its title, but in its composition, ‘Boneyard’ feels like the next logical step from ‘Bone Pointer’ that came on the record before it, with its belligerent pace and distortion that gives way to this rugged groove. Rather than merely repeating ideas, Abject Bodies feels like the natural successor to Atrophy, where both its arrangements and its aggression feel more convincingly delivered and, as a result, stick in the mind longer after the record finishes.
Whereas Atrophy’s tracks rarely reached the three minute mark, Minors’ confidence in writing longer, more menacing songs has grown to the point where the combined thirteen minute trudge of ‘Erode’ and ‘Garden Of Dismalism’ is far and away the band’s best achievement to date. Far removed from the D-beat onslaught of their previous outings, Minors bring the Sludge hard and slow, and it’s far more menacing than any double-kick that’s come before it. The doomier ‘Erode’ is perhaps more typical of the Hardcore-does-Sludge methodology, but its ‘Garden Of Dismalism’ that is the more unique of the two. Living up to its name it creates a dense, dark atmosphere à la Will Haven, building slowly with ever-quickening drums and abrasive, distorted riffing all culminating in a nihilistic crescendo.
Boasting more ambition and more outright hostility, Abject Bodies is the best kind of follow-up – one that builds on its previously established ideas without being beholden to them. If that’s too sensible of a summary for you, just go listen to it because it’s really super horrible and nasty.
8 / 10