posted on 3/2008 By:
Word is that The Secret endured some pretty serious adversity on the way to recording their second album Disintoxication. Whether this colored the songwriting on this disc is hard to say; my guess is that these Italians would have produced a similarly cantankerous metal/hardcore hybrid if they’d spent the last several years cooling their heels in Aruba. “Dissonant” and “chaotic” are the watchwords of the day here as The Secret pound through ten tracks of extremely aughties-sounding nastiness. Unfortunately, though this band play with all the tightness, professionalism and vehemence that one could possibly want, the fact remains that ripping off latter-day Converge isn’t going to propel you into the stratosphere of extreme music.
Okay, maybe that’s not quiiiiiiiiite fair. In my book Goodfellow Records do as well as anyone in the loudheavyangry music game as far as picking a stable of reliably savage acts (let’s pretend The Smackdown never happened, shall we?), and there’s no question that Disintoxication is gonna seriously shred some ear drums. Though Jane Doe-onward Converge is by far the dominant influence here in terms of song structure, guitar stylings and especially vocals, there are hints of Botch/Knut-style abusive grooves scattered throughout. Breakdowns also crop up from time to time (oh lordy, grab your shotgun and your Slayer albums and head for the hills!), but to The Secret’s credit, there’s nothing pit-pandering about their slowdowns. The grooves work the same way they did on Curl Up And Die’s excellent Unfortunately We’re Not Robots—they blindside you without warning, rarely stabilize into a chest-tappable beat, and vanish into the chaos before the pit monkeys know what happened. Top it off with a clear but appropriately gritty production courtesy of the Cult of Luna guy and you have a reliable formula for a relentlessly modern and VERY pissed off modern metal album.
And yet something’s missing from Disintoxication. Despite everything that The Secret have going for them, and there’s quite a lot, this disc can’t lay a finger on the bands that influenced it. Frankly I think it boils down to The Secret’s extraordinarily ADD nature; Knut never shied away from beating you into the fucking ground with their meltdown rhythms and even Converge make serious use of tension-and-release dynamics in their finest moments. These guys, by contrast, leave almost no room to breathe in their songwriting—the second you wrap your head around a riff it’s gone, replaced by more crusty barnburner guitars and Bannon-y caterwauling. Further, these guys bring virtually nothing new to the table (unlike more innovative young contestants in the spazzy-whatever-core sweepstakes like Car Bomb). As a result, this band lands squarely in the second tier of this ill-defined style, alongside The Power and the Glory, Another Kind of Death, and the like.
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