Minsk | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Last fall this Peoria-based metal band released Out of a Center Which Is Neither Dead nor Alive (At a Loss), an album that radically transformed my mental picture of downstate Illinois--now when I imagine those bulbous water towers that loom over the flatlands, they're full of giant, evil, luminescent fish. Produced by Sanford Parker, who's done similar favors for Pelican and his own band, Buried at Sea, Out of a Center has attracted plenty of Neurosis comparisons--but though Minsk's sound similarly balances dark and doomy metal with wild-eyed heavy psych and propulsive tribal drumming, it's earthier, more chthonic, and less cerebral, even when the band adds traditionally proggy elements like tortured synths and tortuous sax. Their 12-minute journeys to the center of the earth are tectonically heavy, sure, but also beautiful and entrancing--these guys are confident enough in their manhood to list Dead Can Dance as an influence on their MySpace page, right there next to Hawkwind and the Swans. A new album is in the works, and later this year Minsk will make its sophomore appearances at South by Southwest and Emissions From the Monolith, the heavy-music fest in Youngstown, Ohio. Bible of the Devil and Dark Fog open. Sun 2/5, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $7.

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