The Secret ‘Agnus Dei’ (Southern Lord)
CD/LP/DL
Available now

Fourth full length album from this Italian black metal outfit; the title translates from Latin as ‘Lamb Of God’, the phrase appears in the Gospel of John, with the exclamation of John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” – the cover artwork displays a collection of stacked skulls, the rear is cold matt black with just the track-listing highlighted, the titles indicate strong quasi religious overtones; and then there is the Southern Lord label logo all of which should very clearly indicate just what sort of darkness lurks within the grooves.

To describe this as brutal does not really do it justice; The Secret have since their 2003 inception successfully blended some of the most extreme elements of music to convey their own feelings of intense rage and negativity.

Over thirteen undivided tracks they combine primitive black metal; so primitive it is just gasping its first breaths of air as it crawls from the fetid primordial slime, add to this snatches of grindcore and monolithic riffs Sunn O))) would be proud of, power beats that have a nod in the true industrial direction, think Joined At The Head period Controlled Bleeding. You find yourself stumbling through the darkest clawing fog looking for glimmers of light, an escape route, this blend could easily become a complicated mess, but its the skill of guitarist Michael Bertoldini who with his imaginative riffing provides the cohesion for the band.

The Secret however are unrelenting, wave upon wave of punishing guitar tones and vocalisations – its pointless to call them words, the sounds vocalist Marco Coslovich creates were surely trawled from the very depths of Golgotha, entirely bereft of humanity, totally unforgiving – and at the same time strangely inspiring; this despite the nihilist lyrics conveniently printed in English heralding nuclear Armageddon, suicide, and lies; I challenge any living mortal to keep up with Coslovich as he spews forth his venom.

The Secret initially confine you, their sound is pure darkness; many will frankly describe this as a truly nasty piece of work, blasts of power drumming, the pace is frightening – however when played loud, the sound takes on an organic feel, it seeps into your pores and nourishes with shards of apocalyptic feedback and slabs of white noise.

‘Angus Dei’ is like a knife to your inner self, an attack upon your soul – enjoy.

 

Tracklisting:

I Agnus Dei
II May God Damn All Of Us
III Violent Infection
IV Geometric Power
V Post Mortem Nihil Est
VI Daily Lies
VII Love Your Enemy
VIII Vermin Of Dust
IX Darkness I Became
X Heretic Temple
XI The Bottomless Pit
XII Obscure Dogma
XIII Seven Billion Graves

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Phil Newall is 47, from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.

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