(In this post, NCS guest contributor Booker reviews a 2011 album by a French band we-ve written about before — Minushuman.)
The land of France once again shows its cred for putting out some solid metal with Minushuman’s 2011 release Bloodthrone. Part melodic death, part hardcore, part thrash, they bring a stripped-down but full-throttle sound that’s bound to get heads bobbing. Sometimes you just want to forgo complex time signatures and proggy song structures, and just crank up some heavy sounds with a driving beat… and if you’re in that mood, here’s some Bloodthrone to reach for.
I first came across these guys from a random day spent checking out the Season Of Mist catalogue. Minushuman? Wasn’t that a song written for Metallica’s S&M? Well, whatever the inspiration for their name, according to their bio they toured around under the moniker ‘Dark Poetry’ until rebranding themselves for their debut album Watch the World Die in 2008, released by the obscure record label MH Prod. They obviously managed an upgrade to Season Of Mist for their sophomore effort, Bloodthrone, released way back in 2011.
Prior to that release, it appears they got some love right here at NCS, with Islander promoting the ‘single’ of sorts and opening track ‘The Architect’ here … having this to say:
“It reaches out and grabs you right from the start with a head-smacking riff and a swirl of indigo melody, and I liked the throat-scraping vocals, too. To my ears, the song is more melodic death metal than thrash, but whatever genre label you want to use, it’s a fine song”
To which my 2013 self can only concur, yes indeed, a fine head-smacker of a riff. In fact, that’s pretty much how most of the album continues: head smacking, riffage, driving beats, circa 5-minute songs, this is an album with the kind of tunes to keep you going on a long-distance drive.
The band sticks to a standard metal ensemble of guitars, bass, drums, and vocals, but maintains a well-produced, smooth sound running throughout, which if anything adds to the feeling of listening to a melodic death metal album, even though other influences are clearly sharing centre stage: hardcore makes it appearance – expect shout outs on the upbeat in places, as well as more thrash-style elements.
The melodic death influence probably comes to the fore on ‘Forgotten Fields’, with its higher-pitched melodic guitar line making this the most radio-ready track on the album (although one of the longer tracks at 7:00). Throughout the rest of the album the melodic and harmonic aspects of the guitar work are much more pushed down in the mix, and in pitch, but are nevertheless present in a more muted fashion, layered in with the rhythm guitar.
Combined with prominent bass guitar, and the decision to forgo guitar solos throughout, the album overall makes for a bottom-heavy mix (in a good way) and an interesting, more understated, approach to harmony than you usually hear these days.
Eastern elements even make their appearance on occasion, particularly “Three Mile Island” and “Godspeed” (is that the Phrygian scale? – it’s been so long since I played guitar I’m not really even sure anymore). ‘Another All’ sounds somehow weirdly reminiscent of a track from Kill ‘Em All (again, been so long since I listened to that I’m not really sure which.. fuck I’m a useless reviewer!), and ‘Three Mile Island’ brings that favourite metal theme of all things nuclear to the game.
The namesake track ‘Bloodthrone’ is actually one of the slowest-tempo songs of the album, with its solid beat, repetitive lyrical elements, and half-time latter portion in what is already a slower track all making for a semi-drone-like penultimate track. The closing, happily titled ‘Kill Me’ is an instrumental closer that finishes with an unexpected addition of a new musical theme just before fading out.
In all, the only downside I felt on the album was that by the end some of the tracks started sounding a bit ‘samey’, and a few could possibly have been combined, but in all honesty, with time that impression has faded and each song has grown to feel more like its own piece with repeated listens.
In all honesty, I’m not really sure why it is this album has come to grow on me – it’s the kind of mix that could quite easily come off sounding generic, but somehow Minushuman manage to keep it infused with enough of a unique touch to keep things interesting. But who am I to judge for you – stream the whole album on their Bandcamp page and check it for yourself.
“The Architect” free MP3 download:
“The Architect” Soundcloud:
“The Architect” (live):
“The Day We Died” video: