Jamin Oh (guitar, vocals) and Frank Strozyk (drums) first met in the 5th grade. They then played together in a metal hardcore band called The Bierfront. Twenty years later, the Korean classical guitarist and the German geology professor met again and started to write songs as a side project which in 2019 officially became MINOH. The Asian progressive post-rock duo are currently working on their debut EP, set for release in October 2020. In the meantime they have dropped the stunning single and accompanying video, “The Witness”, which addresses the increasingly dystopian state of the world.
MINOH is anything but predictable. Other than the fact that excellence flows in abundance from their artistic expression, their music is engaging on an emotional and technical level. Lyrically the duo are brilliant, cutting and insightful. MINOH candidly describe a society that has lost its core life anchors and is spiraling towards destruction: “Never heard the voices reaching out to me. Never saved someone from his agony. Never seen the threat finally rising. Never felt the end, coming closer to me. That’s how we fed the beast now, and we all go down. My role, my role this time, is to watch how the wheels come off.”
There is such emotion and beauty within the track that makes it a joy to listen to despite the dark dystopian theme. It demands repeated listens and with each listen brings something more. Crunchy guitar riffs, melting keys, dynamically darting strings, and momentum pushing percussion drive this track at breathtaking pace.
Jamin Oh’s voice is searching, soaring and screaming across the progressive sonic template. Her guitars are aggressive, abrasive, and embracing, all at once. The grit-filled production is near flawless, with the instrumental layering and vocals perfectly intertwined.
MINOH have managed to create a unique piece of work that combines impressive musicianship with a dramatically thrilling atmosphere. It’s heavy, epic, and ambitious, and yet it still retains an accessible atmosphere that is so pivotal in a debut release.
The duo displays great technical ability but never to the point of indulgence in pointless soloing or meandering riff sections. The focus is on memorable hard-hitting musical passages and this is achieved throughout the track. Frank Strozyk’s drumming is explosive and expansive, driving each song segment to the max, with fiery patterns and fills.
The progressive elements as well as the heaviness in MINOH’s music are well put together and seem to fit perfectly. The German based duo seems to know exactly what they are doing, and where they want to go with their sound. They certainly surprised me with the quality of this track.
The song is instantly captivating from its opening muted guitar riffs to its apocalyptic conclusion, and simply defines modern progressive post-rock music. This song is the beginning of a new journey for Jamin Oh and Frank Strozyk, demanding huge cutting-edge sounds, pro-active rhythms, and prominent vocals, each of which succeeds mightily. I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to “The Witness”, but I keep going back to it.