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Minus Life – Contorted Reality

Minus Life
Contorted Reality
by Ben Gardiner at 06 December 2021, 9:42 PM

MINUS LIFE shred through an impressive beast of an album with "Contorted Reality". Equal parts blistering intensity and elated melody, its Death Metal presented in a melodious, mature and cavernous manner. The band builds a sense of science fiction through the use of instrumentation and the biomechanical album artwork, reminiscent of H.R Giger, as well as creating deeply heavy, progressive musical sections, with the end result being a larger than life, captivating monster that, at breakneck speeds, will whisk you though movements of beautiful light sections of delicately crafted melody and straightforward, focused aggression with deep guitar tones and hard-hitting drums. Delicate synth patterns, Hardcore style vocals, and tech Death Metal everything else make this a unique and thoroughly enjoyable listen.

The first track opens in a typical death manner way, a Hardcore type guitar riff with tom drum accent hits. The guitars are driving, and the drums have a good production behind them, the cymbals being very washy and the bass deep, with a relatively flat, unimpressive snare sound, unnoticeable when the booming toms hit, echoing the bass. The tone of the guitars changes drastically through the song, a deep, tight riff opens, repeating the same riff line until it’s opened all the way up and the guitars start to channel a heavenly, arena Metal riff that expands on the central melody. This is accompanied very nicely by the half time, straight double bass drumbeat and Scott Moss’ impressively diverse vocals. The instrumental gets techier with the introduction of a synth melody, beneath which the drums produce beats of urgent bass drum bursts and a striking snare, the guitar staying tight to the keys and strings. There’s a lot of elements here that give the impression that this is much more than just a tech death song, with the bouts of melody radiating from the additional synth, piano, strings and hymnal vocals; creating the fantastical atmosphere that make this album sound so huge.

The synths, strings and angelic vocals are a motif throughout the album, used fairly sparingly to ensure they always pack a punch and elevate the music as opposed to dominating it. The song “Death’s Architect” adopts them very nicely to balance the very heavy hitting instrumental, with the intro acting as a wonderful example of the crossover of Hardcore and Death Metal. Here the vocals don’t hold back, and the aggressive barks over rapid guitars and drums make for a very heavy track. At one point the vocals and guitars dropout to make way for a solo of drums and synth, heavily reminiscent of WINDIR’s epic “Journey to the End.”

Bodies On Fire” is the atmospheric finale, taking the vocalization and fantasy like synths up to the max. consistent strings and the mellifluous vocals over a heavy backing track of sweeping riffs and vigorous drums. Capping it off with an amazing filltastic drum and guitar build up into an epic commanding breakdown of scratchy guitar soloing and booming vocals.

A heroic collection of tight drumming, heavy guitar riffs and resonant vocals, pushed into epic proportions by the mighty strings, keys and feathery hymnal vocal lines, MINUS LIFE have created an album that, counter to their name, is full of live. The mighty Tech Death instrumentation can be straightforward at times, but it's always masterfully done and flows in neatly organised ways. it pushes forward and drops back in all the right ways, transitioning from half time to double time, exciting all the time. Backed by a magnificent mix that presents all the various elements neatly and eligibly, with a high quality production achieving a clean sound.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  7
Memorability:  8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Contorted Reality
2. Manipulation of the Masses
3. The Bled Unbroken
4. The Hypnotist
5. Death's Architect
6. Order Disorder
7. Negative Thought Process
8. Bodies on Fire (2021)
Lineup:
Chris Gregan - Bass
Travis Henderson - Drums
Ryan O'Connell - Guitars
Scott Moss – Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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