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Minus - The Great Northern Whalekill

  by Paul Raven

published: 20 / 2 / 2008

Minus - The Great Northern Whalekill
Label: One Little Indian
Format: CD


Gritty-sounding, riff-centred rock on excellent fourth album from visionary Icelandic stoner band, Minus

From the chilly wastes of Iceland, Minus are back with their fourth album. Established fans will know what to expect (and won't be disappointed) but 'The Great Northern Whalekill' could (and should) be the album to break them into a wider audience. In some respects it's a shame that 'The Great Northern Whalekill' didn't arrive a little earlier; last summer would have provided Minus with the ideal opportunity to capitalise on disappointment with the latest Queens Of the Stone Age record. While the Queens have stepped away from the defiantly lumpen riff-centred songwriting model, Minus have moved closer and embraced it fully. But we had to wait, and the band have gone through some line-up changes in the meantime. The good news is that Minus are sounding even bigger, badder and better than before. 'The Great Northern Whalekill' is packed with simple melodic lines battered out by power chords and punished amplifiers, a very distinctive guitar sound brought to life with a warts-and-all production job from Joe Baressi - a man who knows how to make gritty rock bands sound immense and has the portfolio to show it. Some bands benefit from obsessive polishing and buffing down of flaws, but Baressi has realised that the magic of Minus is in the complete sonic saturation they produce, and he's left in the little accidental details that make 'The Great Northern Whalekill' sound like it's being performed live in the space between your ears with everything turned up to eleven. Listen to the flabby blatter of the drumkit on the brief one-bar intro to 'Black And Bruised', or the momentary false ending punctuated by string-screech in 'Shoot The Moon'; these are the moments that make 'The Great Northern Whalekill' really come to life. And the songs are awesome stuff as well; fearsome head-down rock chargers, dark and dangerous like a black-iced motorway, so packed with momentum it feels like they could level buildings. All the while, the wide-eyed incantations of vocalist Krummi hint at what Dave Wyndorf might have sounded like if he'd been raised within sight of the Northern Lights on a diet of magic mushrooms and heavy metal. Don't discount Minus as just another knucklehead metal act, though – anyone can make a rhythmic noise with drums and guitars, but it takes vision to stick to that style and still make memorable songs. Minus have that vision, and 'The Great Northern Whalekill' is a strong early contender for rock album of the year.

Track Listing:-
1 Cat's Eyes
2 Black And Bruised
3 Shoot The Moon
4 Kiss Yourself
5 Throwaway Angel
6 Not Afraid
7 Rip It Up
8 Rhythm Cure
9 Futurist
10 Shadow Heart
11 Weekend Lovers

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