Secrets And Lies
posted on 5/2008 By:
Au revoir to cliche.
There is a language being spoken here that Taint is very fluent in. I've really only heard its most common dialect being used within that circle of bong tokes, cheap beer, and occasional showering. It's easy to decipher and it's far from romantic. So eventually ear fatigue set in, and was then followed by several years of snobbery to which Secrets And Lies has humbled me back to base.
This UK trio has been making noise since '94. Fourteen years later, they have only a second full-length to show for it. That which is Secrets, and it builds on 2005's Ruin Of Nova Roma, really builds on it, constructs all over it. Ruin was already showcasing some atypical "stoner rock/metal" (as so many people chose to call it), but 2008 exposes their veins and shows you just what courses through its twists and turns. I wouldn't call it "stoner" anything. To call it "stoner" would be to imply that hippies "kick ass". Just to even use those two words in succession implies some sort of quick action taking place and I've never known anybody stoned to move quickly towards anything. "Stoned" should imply a lack of momentum, and molasses or passive this is not. There is rock 'n' roll "groove" here, sure, but it's often quickly subjected to sharp left turns toward unseen progressive forks in the road. These traits are immediate as heard in album opener "Hex Breaker", where a pissed-off stock rock riff scrapes away for only seconds before a full band frontal assault comes into play and plants the flag 4/4 style. It's a bit expected, but performed incredibly well; it's tight as hell. The two minute and one second mark is the symptom that sets all of Secrets an addictive listen. Here, on "Hex Breaker", they strip down the parts at the half way point for a crush groove that has catchy Zeppelin-esque appeal, but fast-forward to "Goddamn This City" and hear a gloomier Taint with a Voivod-ian surprise at 3:58. "Barnstorm Zombie Revival" revives a bit of the late 80's/early 90's Amphetamine Reptile roster (Helmet, Unsane, Today Is The Day, etc.), vocals and all, and at 1:39 into "Mass Appeal Sadness" they evoke.......Taint; dusk and dawn. I can draw out comparisons all day, but at the end of it they really are doing their own thing, even if I am laying it on thick with my game of "connect the dots". They upset the set-up consistently and it seems to have become a secret weapon that fired so quiet on Ruin that I doubt that they knew just to what degree they could convince and persuade. How fitting that Alex Newport (vocals/guitar;Fudge Tunnel/Nailbomb. producer;The Mars Volta/The Melvins/Sepultura), acting as producer here, should have a hand in giving this realization its aural push. It's upfront, it's a bit dirty, and has some loose ends. He took away the gloss and sheen to reveal himself as rightful heir to the title of Fourth Member. As a whole, and in all three categories, this is textural like a motherfucker.
Something is being smoked here, and it sure as hell ain't what you think. I can't wait to hear the exhale.
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