The doom beast from the Channel Islands is back once again and ready to unleash a veritable storm of bone shaking horror inspired Doom on us all. Byzanthian Neckbeard certainly don’t mess around when it comes to the heavier arts in music and given the power from their first release; “From the Clutches Of Oblivion”, you know that this three piece mean business when they gear up and release their particular brand of blackened sludge inspired doom metal. So strap in, prepare for screams, pounding low end friendly noises and tales of the things which bring terror with them. Prepare for the Minaton!

“The Tale Of Raymond” opens the release. It is a simple and short track which sets the mood and theme for the album. An eerie and foreboding piano melody plays under a very theatrical and sinister spoken word piece which paints a cautionary tale of a hellish beast which turns out to be possibly the most disturbing creature in existence – a Werespider. Arachnophobes beware, this beast is not to be trifled with and if you are somewhat sane, run for your lives! “The Werespider” follows on with a huge drum sequence before it descends into that fuzzed out, filthy low-end rich noise which makes Byzanthian Neckbeard so appealing. If you listen closely, the big sustained and focused chord stabs actually mirror the piano melody from the previous track, a rather nice touch and great way to ensure continuity. Ferocious vocal snarls litter the track and bring with them a huge commanding presence and the thundering chugs of the guitar and bass crash into you, wearing you down with their darkness and misery. It’s a fantastic way to open up the release and it shows that the guys are not to be taken lightly.

“Devil Worms” surfaces next and honestly, the title makes me think of the film ‘Tremors’, I honestly don’t know if there is a link between said film and this song, but side-tracking moment aside, it certainly has some seismic shifting potency to it. The bass rumbles like an oversized monster burrowing its way through the Earth. Slowly pounding away, creating a sonic sinkhole which sucks everything towards it. You cannot help but sternly nod along as this musical monster proceeds and when it picks up round the half-way point with some thundering groove, you can let loose a little and enjoy the sludgy influences which help keep up the imposing nature of the track. Titular track “Minaton” has some theatrical spoken word sampling to open it up and from there we get more of the usual; thundering cymbal crashes, pummelling bass and guitars and fearsome vocal roars and screams. Faster paced than the previous tracks, it pushes forwards with a tremendous bass driven presence and when it kicks it up a gear round the 1:40 point, the crisp delivery and sound of the guitar and drums is delightful. Exotic progressions surface later in the track and as the track loops round after the halfway point, going back to the steady paced chugging and then pounding sections, you can tell this is a prime example of simple but effective composition based ability executed to a high degree of effective delivery.

“Evisceration Stare” is an imposing track from the off. The wall of drums and guitars in the intro gives way to a nasty sounding bass riff which shifts into a mighty vocal roar which brings on a storm of heavy and pounding doom which I imagine to be the sound you would hear when a psychopath is stalking you down a seemingly never-ending hallway, ready to disembowel you with a rusty hook or something. Hard and heavy with a darker take on the whole ‘NOLA’ sound, the track is monstrous from start to finish. “Necron 5” brings some slight psychedelic feelings with its flange coated riff sequences. Progressing at a slow and deliberate pace, it gives a slightly different atmosphere to the previous imposing one but it doesn’t let up on the heavy sound and intense delivery. The grim and doom-laden space adventure speeds up as the track goes on and there are some sweet-sounding bass moments which will draw many nods of approval. “Condemned To The Swamp” is as filthy and imposing as the murkiness of an actual swamp. Like a terror rising from the murky depths, it slowly drags itself forwards with a sinister presence accompanying its every footstep. Harsh vocal screams help give a terrifying edge and the twisting riff into descending run sequence in the later parts of the track is executed in a slick manner, effortlessly rolling off the fretboard with plenty of style behind it.

“Out Of the Deep” wraps the release up and it’s oscillating feel riff has a slight vibe of Sepultura’s rendition of “Orgasmatron”. The steady pulse and droning feel of the riff lingers throughout the track, often being delivered with more weight behind it for a harder impact in the chorus sections which feature some layered vocal screaming for good measure. The pseudo-Death Metal riff section round the 3:40 point adds some new intensity and a crunchier sound but it maintains the head banging feel throughout it, wrapping up the album nicely with some heavy pounding riffs, much like the way it opened up.

In all, “Minaton” is a monstrously heavy release. Imposing, atmospheric and loud, it is a quality doom release which begs to be played at extremely high volumes. The ferocious low end, the walls of guitar, the pummelling drums and the vocal roars… It all fits together like an abomination hell bent on destruction!

(8/10 Fraggle)