Secrets of the Moon – Antithesis

secretsofthemoon_090407_antThe amazing amount of progression Germany’s Secrets of the Moon has surmounted is to be celebrated, for this band is really pushing the boundaries of black metal. As they become more creatively aware, I cannot help but notice just how much S.O.T.M. have modeled their modern sound after Satyricon’s last 2 albums… “Now, Diabolical” in particular, for the tight guitar sound, focusing on higher strung riff ideas and even the dry vocal rasp/vocal phrasing heavily points to Satyr worship. Whether this was intentional or not, it’s there. BUT, if you were to stand both bands up next to each other, I’d have to side with Secrets of the Moon, for the overall fullness in their sound and obvious deep connection to the darker side of black metal is more evident. Their songs tend to feel more unfathomable and surprising, where Satyricon still has that ability, and I do like their latest album, the stuff Satyr is writing nowadays has more of a hooky/pop structured affinity. Standing proud on its own merit, “Antithesis” is an amazingly produced album. You can hear the bass guitar. The drums are booming and alive. The guitars are scathingly interesting and tight, but weave a colorful web of layers that are as dense as the whole of this music. Repeated listens open up even more avenues of spellbinding wonder as each song forges down a path that seems foreign to me; because I rarely hear the same musical phrase repeated other than a stray chorus here or there. The thing is…. The outcome is so well considered and just plain right sounding, I don’t care about the linear patterns and focus on remaining fully planted in the maelstrom, eager as to wherever the progressions take me. Vocally, the performance is just as diverse and thought provoking. The screams are completely discernable. The vocal placement is atypical and nearly perfect. Nothing spewing from the mouth of SG (also on guitars) seems out of place or dull and he bends his performance to greet the theatrical twists in the musical progressions. From your expected BM rasp, to spoken segments, shouting, whispers, even the occasional buried pitch chant…. The schizophrenic vocal performance contributes to the multidimensional layers lurking on this album. “Antithesis” has really taken me by surprise and I find myself not being able to separate this disc from my player for at least 3 days after the initial listen. It’s that good. The modernization of black metal… I’m typically filed under the classification of elitist old schooler when it comes to this genre, but honestly, I can get behind a technological revolution so to speak, if all the bands involved sunk even half as much though, passion and expansive creativity into their sound without losing sight of the old days like Secrets of the Moon have. – Marty


~ by martyworm on January 3, 2009.

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