Minus Life were well on their way to being Australia’s ‘next big thing’ before dissolving in a haze of work/life balance and inter-band drama and tension. A lot of growing up has gone on in the ensuing years and the beast has finally risen again and is ready to take up where they left off, if only a little older and wiser.
Straight away the band are ready to prove there is still plenty of bite left in the old dog with the opening one-two of the title track and the single Manipulation of the Masses, originally released in 2019, and showing that age hadn’t dulled their collective edge. Hovering somewhere between death metal extremity and prog metal-lite theatrics has always allowed Minus Life to keep some individuality in a heavy music climate where individuality can be harshly judged and ridiculed.
Allowing the softer side a moment to shine on The Bled Unbroken exposes the soft underbelly of their sound before leaping headlong into some of the heaviest music on the album. Vocalist Scott Moss also pushes any doubts aside about his time away from the microphone, if anything his vocal approach is heavier now than when the band were originally playing everywhere that would have them in the first decade of this century, while the clean vocals are far less forced.
Further down the track list, Death’s Architect builds from its symphonic opening into some excellent syncopated rhythms and swirling keyboard melody bringing to mind Fear Factory, although changing tack enough to show that Minus LIfe are their own animal; maturity has brought out the best in them. Nowhere is this light and shade throughout better emphasised than on the closing track, one of the band’s best known, Bodies on Fire, re-recorded and changed up with modern musical techniques and production pushing the cinematic element further.
Overall this is the sound of a group of mates that are enjoying themselves and their music again all while playing heavier than they have before. An album like this is a sure-fire world beater, with the right kind of attention from the right places, so get amongst it now on the ground level. If you were a fan the first time around this is the next logical step, if you have never heard the band before, get on the new shit before you are left behind.
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)