MinutianI remember that Minutian’s first album “Repercussions” (2011) was interesting and accomplished. This one is the same. Since the release of “Repercussions”, the band has had to deal with the death of their guitarist, and this undoubtedly comes across in the reflective nature and lyrics of this collection of progressive hard and soft rock tracks.

What I found most interesting are the patterns within the tracks. Soft yet insistent drums and expressive guitar lines are at the heat of all these well constructed songs. Minutian don’t do monotone. The smooth vocals of “Hollow Heroics”, which opens the album, are broken up by urgent pleas. This reminded me of Audrey Horne. I sensed a breath of cynicism. That calming and colourful drum pattern took us through a reflective section before a return to complex and frenetic urgency. More typical of the album as a whole was “On Derelict Sidings”, whose soft flow develops into pungent rock. Musically, it’s very cultured and delicate, and the songs have great balance. The drum beat is always there like a friend and is needed to counteract the dark and spooky side which casts shadows. I found myself comparing Minutian to Green Carnation whose apparently innocent songs also can mask dark secrets. “Void Within” has a moody and sinister build up. Smooth and hypnotic, Minutian skilfully manipulate the sound levels. These songs are strong on imagination and creativity.

All the time there is a gloomy edge. Sadness and loneliness dominate the echoing and introspective “Burning Bright”. The enticing guitar work and its combination with the beating drum bring about a magical quality to this swaying rock music. The calm, dream like state carries over into “Manifest” but only after tension. This track sent shivers down my spine. The messages and musical images are echoed in the lyrics: “No one will be there to catch you when you fall ….. it’s a dream but I’m awake but still aware, suspended in this state”. Here is a world of melancholy, dreams, struggle and ultimately defiance. The lengthy “Aphelion” seems to be a reflection of the state we have arrived at. Deep and with the ever hypnotic beat, it darkens and we’re plunged into a passage of leaden doom. There seems to be a recovery as “Aphelion” plods along dreamily before firing up at the end. “Redeemer” captures a confused state as a distant, partly distorted voice sings sadly. The guitar and drums are patient as ever but it’s impossible to avoid the sense of overwhelming gloom. The track builds up and is at the same time, patient or maybe resigned, highly charged and tense before it all merges into a haze.

Although soft in tone for much of it, “Inwards” is powerful. It has many strengths, not least the structure of the songs and the quality of the musicianship which reinforce the creation of both vivid and hazy images on this gloomy and interesting work.

(8/10 Andrew Doherty)