Monday, 19 November 2012

The Secret - 'Agnus Dei' (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 5/11/2012
Label: Southern Lord



After the feedback gives way to the opening riff, the listener will be struck with how listenable yet brutal the production is here. The sound is airy, in the best possible way, but paradoxically opaque at the same time. Blast beats mix with straight up thrash. There are nice riffs and chord progressions as the fills come in on the kit thick and fast. If you are a fan of bands such as Dissection, Darkthrone (early), The Rotted and even doom like Cathedral then I strongly recommend that you pick this release up- it would make an essential addition to your collection.


‘Agnes Dei’ CD//DD//LP track Listing

1) Agnus Dei (3:00)
2) May God Damn All Of Us (1:19)
3) Violent Infection (1:05)
4) Geometric Power (2:42)
5) Post Mortem Nihil Est (2:35)
6) Daily Lies (0:55)
7) Love Your Enemy (2:29)
8) Vermin of dust (3:44)
9) Darkness I Became (3:33)
10) Heretic Temple (5:14)
11) The Bottomless Pit (1:48)
12) Obscure Dogma (1:37))
13) Seven Billion Graves (13:33)


The Secret is:

Michael Bertoldini | Guitar
Marco Coslovich | Vocals
Lorenzo Gulminelli | Bass Guitar
Tommaso Corte | Drums

The Review


The Southern Lord Record label has brought many acts to the attention of discerning heavy music fans over the years. The label's progression to encompassing a good deal of extreme music's leading lights (not just doom bands any more) is well known. Few on the label's roster have been anywhere near as brutal as the Italian blackened/thrash/grind/crust troupe The Secret. If you haven't heard the band before and Agnus Dei is your introduction, then from the opening notes of the title track you will know what awaits you: unrestrained darkness and brutality.

After the feedback gives way to the opening riff, the listener will be struck with how listenable yet brutal the production is here. The sound is airy, in the best possible way, but paradoxically opaque at the same time. Blast beats mix with straight up thrash. There are nice riffs and chord progressions as the fills come in on the kit thick and fast. May God Damn All Of Us continues the aural slaughter with some nice time changes before the track sees the first minute out. The vocals are as black as pitch and fit the sound perfectly. If you want a reference point for this record, think classic Dissection- it's that bleak.

Violent Infection will prove the previous paragraph's closing point in fine style- blast beats, nice phrasing on the cymbals and a grindcore sensibility that keeps the songs concise and straight to the point. Geometric Power” gives us discordant riffing over thrash rhythms and the kind of creeping musicality that imbues the best black metal.Post Mortem Nihilist Eststarts with an almost stoner/doom groove and then continues over the course of its two and half minutes to include a black metal feel over this most unlikely of tempos- superb!

Daily Lies clocks in at under one minute of grinding fury; a pure adrenaline shot that serves a gateway into the second half of the album. Love Your Enemy clocks in at over the two and a half minute mark bringing an oddly Motorhead-ish type feel due to the drum and bass foundations that the guitars build on. Just before the one minute and thirty seconds mark the track stops on a dime to slow to a nasty sludge section then picks the pace right back up. Vermin Of Dust presents us with one of the albums longer tracks and another more stoner/doom type groove before half timing the pace and then changing back. 

Darkness I Became presents more time changes and a solid structure with enough twists and turns to keep the listener guessing throughout.  Heretic Templeis positively doomy and maybe even bleaker than what has gone before with a longer running time to match its slower pace. The whole record comes in at less than 45mins- sticking to the mostly forgotten rule that an album should fill one half of a blank TDK D90, but no more than that. The Bottomless Pitups the tempo with more furious blasts and thrashing. Obscure Dogmaopens with a dramatic riff and then accelerates to warp speed in the blink of an eye. Seven Billion Graves follows to close out the album. Its thirteen minutes and thirty three seconds running time should not put listeners off- the bulk of the track is as concise and focused as what has gone before. After an initial end there is silence broken by fetid blackened riffing and shrieking vocals to excellent effect that makes for a memorable closing to the record.

The record flies by, truth be told- in part due to the well timed running length (even allowing for the gargantuan last track) but also due to the breadth of material on offer here. Each song fits in well with the album having a unified feel fed by that intangible “vibe” factor. If you are a fan of bands such as Dissection, Darkthrone (early), The Rotted and even doom like Cathedral then I strongly recommend that you pick this release up- it would make an essential addition to your collection.


You can purchase CD/Vinyl direct from Southern Lord here or most good stockists. 

FFO: Dissection, Darkthrone, The Rotted, Cathedral





1 comment:

Pinski Pavlov said...

there is a new video out for the album Angus Dei

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9udMJRahIk&feature=player_embedded