One of the rare moments in which something that arrives to disrupt the plans is welcomed is certainly when we find ourselves at the end of the year to draw up the usual playlist, including the best releases of the last 12 months: the very fact of questioning it means that, in extremis, it has emerged a record of higher than average level and this, of course, can only be a pleasure. And it’s even more so, in some ways, when all this happens at the hands of a band that is known quite well but that, despite a career full of very good albums, had not yet been able to place a shot able to make them stand out definitely. Secrets Of The Moon is a German band that for almost twenty years has been working in a stylistic field that has always had as reference matrix the black metal, to which gradually were added over the years progressive elements until the previous Seven Bells, excellent album that still maintained the characteristics of the album ascribable to that genre, although sweetened in more than one aspect. Sun arrives to mark a decided detachment from this umbilical cord: if all things considered, the opener No More Colours can partly recall another band decidedly anomalous in the scene as the label mates A Forest Of Stars, already from the next Dirty Black begins to manifest itself in a complete way that improbable (at least on a theoretical level) as impressive mix capable of converging in the sound drives that refer to names like Fields Of The Nephilim, Alice In Chains, David Bowie, Cure, Ihsahn and several others that are manifested in a form so sudden and dazzling that they can not be identified with certainty. All this produces an exciting result in every part, through seven wonderful songs, listenable and singable too, but with an uncommon depth from the lyrical and compositional point of view, pervaded by a dark and introspective aura, despite some memorable melodic openings.
sG is the singer and the creator of so much beauty: the German musician, though still very young, is the only member of the band who has lived almost entirely a path studded with few albums (6 with this one, starting from Stronghold Of the Inviolables of 2001), a fact symptomatic of the need to elaborate with due calm that compositional progression that brought Secrets Of The Moon to be today a magnificently changing creature. Sun lives its topical moments in the central part represented by the triptych Man Behind The Sun, Hole and Here Lies The Sun: three superb songs and different from each other, with the first one, with a dramatic progression, in which sG reveals a sort of White Duke deviated giving a wonderful interpretation, repeated in the masterpiece Hole, one of the most beautiful songs listened to this year, in its passage in a flash from gothic pulsions to post-grunge openings, with a Yates-like guitarism to give that touch of darkness that suits the lyrics of the times in which we live (church and temple / synagogue / it’s time to speak the truth / there is no hope / just wait and see right through). Followed by another pearl as Here Lies The Sun, a song even more “nephilimian” and spasmodic intensity, perhaps more robust in its opening, but with a final crescendo that culminates in a refrain impossible to remove from memory. The semi-grunge of I Took The Sky Away is perhaps the most ordinary moment before Mark Of Cain comes to close in a harsh and sometimes angry way a wonderful album, which in a normal world should bring together fans from the most diverse backgrounds. The stylistic evolution of Secrets Of The Moon was not as predictable as most of the bands coming from black metal, which most of the time seek different outlets by letting themselves be carried away by avant-garde impulses that not infrequently result in an experimentalism as an end in itself: the Teutonic combo has instead channeled all their inspirations on a song form that does not betray the spirit that has animated the first steps, providing only a more enjoyable appearance but no less wrapped in a blanket of darkness. In April three years ago I closed my review of Seven Bells with the phrase “extreme metal without barriers”: well, removing the word “extreme” the concept is enhanced even more by an album that brings Secrets Of The Moon on a level not only different but definitely superior, compared to their past, of course, but also and especially against most of the competition.
2015 – Lupus Lounge