When I was but a wee lad, actually in my 20’s and fairly large for my age, I had attended shows whenever I could. I was in college, as I had spoke about this before, and had a hunger for music that has continued to this day. Luckily, being in college in very north New York, the presence of live music was not normal, but not rare, but there were plenty of people who helped to satiate my hunger for new and exciting music, and the creation of it. This culminated in attending shows in various areas of New York, mostly Syracuse area, and one massive show in New Jersey, which was Hellfest, the extreme music festival that was originally held in Syracuse but was moved to Elizabethtown, New Jersey in 2004. On the third stage, which was a room where they basically held kids’ parties, I watched a band that had not only grabbed my attention through the sheer ferocity of their music, but also through their incredible stage antics, including the lead singer busting his nose with his own mic, and the rest of the band acting like maniacs with their instruments. That band was spoke about by my compatriot, E.J., before they played. That band was The Minor Times.
While initially this band was written off as a Coalesce clone ( I will not fight that they were totally influenced by them) and totally aping Deadguy (fucking underrated to this day STILL I feel), the band was less chaos and more concentrated riffage than that of their influences. Their first album, “Making Enemies,” released in 2004, holds an especially dear spot for me, although its follow up, “Summer of Wolves,” surpasses it, I decided to go with the original.
This band was ferocious in its endeavor, writing lyrics that were mostly open to interpretation, the one song not really subtle being the first track of this album, titled “The Pugilist at Work,” with its opening lines of ” Fuck me? Fuck me? Fuck me? No! Fuck you! and you! and fuck you! and fuck you! You! You! YOU!” (Subtlety should never be a strong point on an opening track in my opinion).
This continues throughout the entire album, pummeling listeners with tracks “Old World Vultures”, “The Narcissist at Rest”, and the ever classy ” I Fuck For Money.” This is not pretentious bullshit, with noodling lines and complex double tapping you see today, or the “how many notes can I do with a sweep in 1.6 seconds.” This is riffs upon riffs upon riffs. This is just nothing but power chords and octaves, heavy screams, and anger at a world and its people, and their odd habits that piss you off but you dare not say anything about but always wanted to. This is catharsis to a t.
The album grabs you by the throat, and never releases, relishing in its heavy and simplistic, albeit off-kiltered riffage, with vocals that would shred a lesser man’s throat to pieces. Sure, I will not deny that their love of Coalesce and Deadguy, as it is in their writing and in their genes. But goddamn, this clone is like the clean cut, leaner version of those bands: not as good, to be sure, but holy hell did they run with what they had and did it well.
The band has since broken up after their second album, not nearly getting the recognition that they deserved, and also getting above mediocre reviews from magazines and critics. The band showed at the time they came out that hero worship can be done right and can be done with gusto and with respect. For that, I give you the Minor Times.