Minus - Halldor Laxness (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Halldor Laxness (2003)


Something is wrong with Victory Records and I don't know how to fix it, but this might be a good way to start. "Halldor Laxness" is the follow up to 2001's "Jesus Christ Bobby" (which may be the greatest album title ever.) and the band's progression since then is fairly impressive. While "Jesus Christ Bobby" wasn't a bad album, this release is a lot better.

From the very beginning Minus puts together an enjoyable mix of hardcore, punk, and rock. Vocalist Krummi splits his time between screams, standard rock n roll singing, and some eerie, spacey vocals. A lot of bands like this fall into the trap of complacency, but Minus changes things up enough to steer clear of that common pit fall. I'm not usually a sucker for hooks, but I'll be damned if these guys can't write some really catchy music. Between the frantic, off-kilter guitar playing, the band seems to be sitting back a bit and building an atmosphere.

But with all the positives about this album, there is also a downside. Minus seems to get confused as to where they want to go with a song sometimes, and as a result it doesn't end up developing or going anywhere. Some of the tracks, especially the last song "Last Leaf Upon The Tree" come off sounding a little pretentious or a little too overtly artsy. It's almost as if they're saying "look at us, we're going to make a spacey, somewhat inaccessible song, people will think it's brilliant." However, it falls short because there's no intensity, urgency, or drive in this song. This band is at its best when they're relentlessly wailing away on their instruments at a frantic pace.

Lyrically it's either hit or miss. Sometimes they make me cringe, like in the song "Insomniac": "I can't close my eyes, I wait for my demise." Other times I'm impressed with their word play, like in the song "My Name Is Cocaine": "My name is cocaine, call me coke for short, I came into this country without a passport." I'm not too big on anti-drug songs, but this one is well written and doesn't stray into to realm of being overly preachy.

I'd recommend this to fans of older Deftones stuff or maybe even At The Drive In. But if you're going into this expecting the next ATDI you're going to be really disappointed. Minus is a band with potential, and this album is a step in the right direction, but it's nothing spectacular either.

Here Comes The Night MP3