Secrets She Kept - Requiems to Midnight, Woe - 2005 - Mordib Souls Music
1. Intro 2. In Mourning Again 3. Damnation Black 4. Leiden 5. A Bitch in Season (Raping the Virgin Whore) 6. Avi Mortii 7. As Darkness Falls
Secrets She Kept is a very interesting black metal outfit from Florida. For this album they were a one man project featuring Necrol on all instruments and vocals. Since then he has recruited some other musicians for the band, but that was after the record’s completion. Right now you may be thinking what I was thinking when I received this album – what kind of a name is “Secrets She Kept” for a black metal band? It has nothing to do with black metal! Apparantly this has been done on purpose, as Necrol said he wanted to choose a name that sounded nothing like a typical black metal band’s name. This is not the only was Secrets She Kept manage to be unique.
By looking at the song titles, reading the lyrics, and listening to Necrol’s harsh vocal rasp, you would think Secrets She Kept is raw black metal, through and through. This is far from the case – instrumentally the music is extremely varied and hard to predict, even. The first two songs (not counting the intro) have heavy death metal influences, and the first is relatively short as well (2:18). With a deeper vocal style “In Mourning Again” and “Damnation Black” would surely be brutal death or even grindcore songs. The guitar relentlessly pounds on and on while the double bass drumming is so intensely fast I wonder whether Necrol has mechanical ankles. At the same time, the music keeps a decidedly evil black metal atmosphere. I wouldn’t go as far to call this album “blackened death,” however, because overall the black metal influences are still greater. “Deathened black” would almost be more appropriate, but of course that just sounds weird.
Next up is “Leiden,” an excellent track that is almost all acoustic. Also, if you listen closely to the lyrics, it is by far the most depressive track of the album. It’s structure is pretty simple and some may have a problem with repetitiveness, but like I’ve said in the past if you’re repeating a good thing then, in some situations, that makes things all the more brilliant. “A Bitch in Season” is a very grotesque albeit well done track, with nice (or not nice, depending on your disposition) screams and cries of some serious rape going on in the background. In addition, we see the keyboard (this time on a simple piano setting) really shine for the first time in the album. Instead of being used solely for atmospheric purposes (where, in the past, it did a fairly good job) it creates some splendid melodies, especially during the chorus.
The album’s sixth and longest track, Ave Mortii, is its blackest track. It’s also its best track. It starts off with a repetitive but highly enjoyable keyboard introduction highly reminiscent of something off of one of the all-synth Burzum prison albums (Daudi Baldurs and Hlidskjalf). In fact, if he had left the song at this I would have been highly satisfied. However, about two minutes into the song all the other instruments come in, but this does not mean the keyboards get booted out. Rather, the are accentuated by the presence of guitars and drums, sounding more ominous than ever. When Necrol’s voice finally penetrates the song a few minutes later a chill will surely travel down your spine. It’s one of those vocal entrances for which there has been lots of buildup, the kind only possible when dealing with grim vocals. Later on in the song the melody takes a different turn, almost as if instead of a thirteen minute song we’re dealing with two six and a half minute ones. The second half isn’t as enjoyable as the first, but it fades out with a truly creepy acoustic outtro.
Necrol manages to go back to the death influences for a bit on the album’s last song, “As Darkness Falls,” but he also breaks this up nicely with some wonderful synthetics. I’m very impressed with the band’s transitions – they don’t seem out of place nor are they choppy. The end of the song is particularly heavy and the album goes out with quite a bang. After several listens I was thoroughly enjoying the vibe I was getting from the album – it’s depressive but also very aggressive at the same time. Unless you’ve got a particular problem with grim vocals or heavier guitars, this is an album for pretty much anyone who likes any death or black metal. Similarities and comparisions arise to a wide range of bands, from Nile to Burzum. For a debut release from a one-man band, “Requiems to Midnight, Woe” is a very impressive album indeed.
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