Minimalism. When something is described as minimalistic, Reich, Glass and Part spring to mind. Perhaps ambient, drone, or very simple folk. Quiet, relaxing, soothing, and subtle.
Shellac is about as subtle as a kick in the balls. This whole album is a loud, angry shot of testosterone. Yet this is a minimalistic album. A guitar, a drumkit, a bass. No overdubs. Mid-paced tempo's. Fuck verse chorus verse, too much going on there. A riff kicks in and carries each song. This would be boring if it wasn't so intense.
From the minute you hear that crackling, distorted guitar on "My Black Ass" it's a rush. Steve Albini has one of the best snarls in rock. Every lyric is spat out in a jaw clenching fury that put's most metal and punk vocalists to shame. Most of the songs are not incredibly fast, instead building up at steady tempo's. The exception to this is "A Minute", the album's standout. Using only a few notes Albini puts to tape one of the intense songs in math rock. The outro alone, consisting of a repetition of a single note until your skull starts caving in, is worth listening to alone. At parts it does get a bit similar, and the instrumental "Pull The Cup" feels lacking and dull without Albini's vocal. But with the slow burning intensity of "The Idea of North", and Steve's memorizing vocal performance on "The Admiral", it always draws you back in.
Minimalism, post-harcore, math-rock