Three years after the excellent Privilegivm Secrets Of The Moon are back, with another album destined to further enrich a discography that has seen them protagonists in the last decade of a steady and unstoppable progression. The German band already in 2006 with Anthitesis had begun to detach themselves from black metal understood in the classical sense, shifting their horizons toward a more avant-garde vein on the one hand and toward more melodic and dark parts on the other, aspects eviscerated in even greater depth with the aforementioned 2009 album. In Seven Bells, the sound springs from a balanced mix of the best cues of Passage‘s Samael, the gothic metal of Moonspell, the shadowiness of Teutonic-school black metal and the gloomy melodies of doom. With all that, the most obvious references in the Osnabruck band’s proposal are the Celtic Frost of Monotheist and the more recent Tryptikon but, where Tom Gabriel Fischer’s creatures (I apologize for the possible offense of lese majesty) often ended up screwing themselves into a proposal with invariably claustrophobic tones, ours manage to shore up their songs with more airy and more enjoyable scores; even when the tracks get longer, there is never a sense of listening fatigue, even in the moments when the sounds go into ambient territories (as in the finale of Nyx). Four strokes of the bell introduce the title track, which, after a doom-like incipit, unravels into a typical mid tempo accompanied by sG’s abrasive vocals; Goathead, on the other hand, starts with more accelerated rhythms and then arrives at a rarefaction of sound that here takes on timbres of absolute darkness bordering on funeral. Serpent Messiah is a dark gothic cavalcade endowed with excellent melodic taste, while Blood Into Wine possesses a bewitching epic flavor that is lashed by a black-sounding rant in its middle section. These four tracks alone would make the fortune of any record, but the best is yet to come: in fact, the final triptych Worship, Nyx, The Three Beggars, with a total duration of more than half an hour, proves to be a veritable kaleidoscope of emotions, into which sG and co. pour all their musical background. The concluding track, in particular, is incredibly engaging both sonically and lyrically, offering itself as a kind of manifesto of the band’s religious thinking. 2012’s Secrets Of The Moon are a band to whom the black label is definitely a tight fit; their sound has evolved into an almost perfect form of what, in the broadest sense, should more properly be defined as dark metal: a musical configuration where the various influences incorporated over the course of a career of already significant duration manage to coexist in complete harmony; each track is characterized by several changes of pace and melodic breaks are always adequately blended with the roughness of a more extreme kind. Although the proposed genre always remains the prerogative of a relatively small number of listeners, a work of this magnitude should be enjoyed indiscriminately by all those who prefer the darker side of metal, and if it is not this record that will definitively consecrate Secrets Of The Moon, one wonders when that will ever happen. Extreme metal without barriers.

2012 – Lupus Lounge