Minsk | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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These locals attracted a lot of attention with their full-length debut, 2005's Out of a Center Which Is Neither Dead nor Alive, released on the little At a Loss label, and even before the CD presses had cooled off they were snapped up by Relapse Records. On the new follow-up, The Ritual Fires of Abandonment, producer Sanford Parker, who joined the band as a bassist during the Center sessions, is clearly settling in, and though Minsk subtly enrich their complex sound, they stick to the same diabolically simple formula they used to create it: a combination of doom metal with spacefaring psychedelia and a bit of rusty old-school darkwave. It's most effective when they render it as a sort of tribal trance music, the rolling drums and circular riffing slowed down just a little past the point that's comfortable for a human metabolism. The songs have soaring, vaulted structures, and though it takes them a little while to get airborne--I picture one of those gigantic Argentinean teratorns--they can stay aloft for what feels like forever. "Embers," with its incantatory thrumming, and "White Wings," with its graceful lift, marry metal's brutality to a tantalizingly romantic occultism. This show is a benefit for Sweet Cobra, who play second; they crashed their van in January, and because their insurance had expired they're left with a lot of bills to pay. Minsk opens and Pelican headlines. a 10 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $15.

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