Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Minier - Minier (Retroarchives Edition)
   
Musical Style: Thrash/Metal Produced By: Greg Minier
Record Label: R.E.X. / Retroactive Country Of Origin: USA
Year Released: 1990 / 2017 Artist Website:
Tracks: 15 Rating: No Quote
Running Time: 53:31

Minier - Minier (Retroarchives Edition)

Many key elements make a thrash album good, and the R.E.X. Records 1990 self-titled seven-song debut EP of Minier has pretty much all of them.  An inclining for unabashed fast tempos and all out aggression is topped with lower register guitar riffs and shredding style lead guitar work.  Drumming is of the relentless and driving variety that places emphasis on machine gun like double bass.  Vocals reach down for the middle register with a terse and brusque form that hints of
James Hetfield (Metallica).

Minier is actually the project of Greg Minier, whom is better known as guitarist of punk/thrash/metal crossover legends The Crucified, having performed on the groups early demo material in addition to its Narrowpath 1989 self-titled debut full length and 1991 Ocean sophomore effort The Pillars Of Humanity.  Unlike The Crucified, Minier is a ‘one man band’ project in which the artist handled all aspects of the writing and recording process including lead vocals, guitars and drums but with the exception of bass.  Minier recorded the EP on a budget of just $400 over a two-day period, but when he ran out of funds, decided to forgo recording bass tracks, figuring if Metallica could produce an album without bass (referring its 1988 release …And Justice For All) then so could he!  R.E.X., however, fell in love with the EP and released it exactly as is- warts and all. 

After having gone out of print and turning into a highly sought after collectors item, Minier was re-issued in the summer of 2017 by Retroactive Records with six bonus tracks in the form of ‘The Bedroom Demos’, a title derived from the fact the artist recorded the demo in his bedroom between 1988 and 1989.  As an added bonus is a two-part interview Minier did with the Tempered Steel Radio Show in 1991.

At this point, I am sure you are wondering why Angelic Warlord, a site that tends to eschew the thrash genre, is reviewing Minier in the first place.  After giving the matter much thought, I felt it would be a double standard not to review Minier in light of how I recently reviewed other thrash based albums in Deliverance’s Weapons Of Our Warfare (with its ‘Metallica cross Queensryche’ sound) and Disciples Of God’s Unleashed (playing metal in the vein of Metallica and Motorhead).  Whereas Minier touches upon some of the melody inherent to Deliverance and traditional metal of Disciples Of God, the main ingredient are vocals, which while on the lower register and gruff side of things, sidestep the ‘bark like a dog caveman growling’ that turns me off to most thrash metal. 

Minier opens to two unyielding thrash assaults in “Do Not Be Deceived” and “The Skeptic” that would not sound out of place on any early Deliverance album.  Former reminds of “This Present Darkness” (off Weapons…) with its all out speed metal demeanor, as battering guitar riffs underpin its stringent verses and no less pointed and forceful refrain.  Latter maintains the scrappy mien but in a more mid-paced form in which hulking guitars touch upon a manifest heaviness - there is a slight classic metal feel going on here - and artist complements the unrelenting scene with his raw edged vocal delivery.

Minier backs from the thrash aptitude on “Price” with its stoner groove to hard rock bearing. This one tempers momentum to a near doom like romp, with ill-boding and stygian overture leading the way through a track that makes the EP’s strongest statement of melody- not commercial but if ever there was such a thing as a ‘thrash ballad’ this would be the first to qualify.  The closing instrumental moments to “Price” prove Minier is no small talent in the soloing department.

“Killing Of The Innocent” is the only EP track in which I pass.  The artist revisits his punk heritage, and while he might deliver a ton of youthful energy and angst in the process, he comes across a bit repetitive at the same time (at least to these ears).  In particular, the rapid-fire delivery to his vocals loses me, as does a chaotic décor that borders on the hardcore.  Punk fans will embrace this one, however.

“Prophecy” represents classic Minier with its mixture of (mostly) thrash elements with (aspects) of straight on heavy metal.  The song charges out of the gate to immense guitars walls - creating what amounts an intense backdrop - but also upholding hints of defined melody (chorus is pointed but catchy at the same time).  Artist continues to wow with his vehement lead guitar abilities.

“Philosophy Of Man” ranks alongside “Price” as my favorite Minier tracks.  The song hints of Deliverance’s “Flesh & Blood” (also Weapons…) with its powerful aura, particularly in terms of the raw power emanating from its opening instrumental moments.  Moving forward, it further elevates the thrash bearings as verses stew with the best of them and refrain makes the type of boiling statement that has impetuous written all over it.  I might be out of line but there is also a slight power metal thing going on here, which only lends to the creativity at hand.

EP throws a bit of a curveball on closing cut “The Secret Song”, an all too brief (minute and a half) instrumental blues rocker with the gritty guitars and shuffling mid-paced tempo that goes hand in hand.  Perhaps I am mistaken, but I swear I hear bass standing out in the back end on this one…

The Bedroom Demos include alternative versions to “Do Not Be Deceived”, “Philosophy Of Man” and “Prophecy” that with the exception of production do not differ significantly from their EP counterparts so there is no need to comment further.  As for production, it might be a bit rough in comparison to the tighter sounding EP but is by no means of unlistenable garage quality either.

First of the new demo tracks “Foolish State” delivers the speed metal goods, with a romping tone its turbulent three minutes that hearkens back to the self-titled Deliverance review.  Interestingly, Minier’s vocals almost take a spoken word form, which contrasts (if not lending a soothing effect) to the chaotic scene.

Showcase demo cut is “Mulligan Barf”, which as its title suggests is a parody of the Vengeance Rising classic “Mulligan Stew” (off Human Sacrifice from 1988).  Artist pulls it off flawlessly in staying true to the brazen feel to the original but diverges by taking a clean vocal direction as opposed to his signature rawer approach.  The Retroactive press material sums things up best: ‘lounge style vocals over raging thrash guitars’.

Closer “Sowing Life” presents with its share of twists and turns.  The song roars out of the gate at a near land and speed record type pace - at least for its verses and refrain - only to come to a near standstill for instrumental moments that slow to a mid-paced hard rocking grind.  I might describe this one as sophisticated in mirroring a light progressiveness.

Cannot comment on the original R.E.X. release, but the Retroactive packaging is finely done.  Three page insert comes with lyrics in an easy to read white font over a black backdrop, while best part is liner notes from the artist that go into detail regarding the songwriting and recording process, particularly the decision not to employ bass.

As for lyrics, they might reflect Minier’s faith but are also straightforward and direct as the EP’s thrash driven sounds.  Consider “Do Not Be Deceived” in this capacity -

Jesus came to this earth
So all men could be forgiven
and live with Him as His children
In the Kingdom of Heaven

Giving your life is easy to do
When you take a look at the stakes
Live eternally, life after death
Receiving Christ is all that it takes

- and “Philosophy Of Man”:

You made yourself creator
You make yourself your God
What you sow you also reap
God will not be mocked
Cheap lies, social smiles
Suicidal stares,

Jesus Christ loves you
And you don't even care
Jesus opened His arms to you
You nailed them to a tree
He offers you His gift of life
You say "That's not for me"

“Killing The Innocent” deals with abortion -

Chopping up the innocent
Cutting them up inside
A motherless unwanted child
Approaching time to die

We were made in His image
With a gift of life
Now that can be taken away
A child has no rights

Why should they all die
Killing of the Innocent

- and “Prophecy” the End Times:

The end times have come
But the world doesn't realize what they bring
Fooled by the false prophet's lies
The beast has become the world's king

The mark of the beast has been taken
Placed on the deceived's skin
When God at the White Throne judges
To Hell the mark shall be sent

It is amazing the amount of talent to come out of The Crucified camp.  Vocalist Mark Salomon went on to record multiple albums with Argyle Park and Stavesacre in addition to releasing in 2014 his White Lighter project, which received a favorable 85% Angelic Warlord review.  Drummer Jim Chaffin has also performed in his share of bands - Fasedown, The Blamed, Deliverance and Once Dead - while bassist Jeff Belew joined Salomon in Argyle Park and Stavesacre.  As for Greg Minier, his resume also includes the 1992 release Meaning from alternative grunge rockers Applehead and more recently contributing lead guitar to the upcoming Deliverance album The Subversive Kind (scheduled for an early 2018 release).  Minier, obviously, has the most significant metal-based pedigree of the talented quartet, which leads to what I consider the most optimal scenario: composing ten new thrash tracks and recruiting Jimmy P. Brown II (Deliverance) to front them.  Until that happens, hard music fans can get their thrash fix by purchasing the Retroactive re-issue to the Minier EP with bonus tracks.

Review Andrew Rockwell

Musicians
Greg Minier - Lead Vocals, Guitars & Drums

Track Listing (Minier): “Do Not Be Deceived” (3:33), “The Skeptic” (3:31), “Price” (5:03), “Killing Of The Innocent” (3:19), “Prophecy” (3:04), “Philosophy Of Man” (5:28), “The Secret Song” (1:38)

Track Listing (The Bedroom Demos): “Do Not Be Deceived” (3:36), “Foolish State” (3:17), “Mulligan Barf” (3:04), “Philosophy Of Man” (5:13), “Prophecy” (3:03),”Sowing Life” (4:20)

Track Listing (Interview 04/20/1991): “Interview With Tempered Steel Radio Part 1” (2:42), “Interview With Tempered Steel Radio Part 2” (2:40)

 

Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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