Secrets of the Moon
It amazes me how many truly incredible albums I have faced this year and now I have another mystical beast rising from the eternal sea before me in the form of Germany's Secrets of the Moon. Secrets of the Moon keep their figurative feet planted in two different scene strata with a heavy appeal to those looking for boundary pushing anti-trend black metal and those who are into underground extremism. It is a great feat that they are able to pull this accomplishment off with so much success and integrity. Antithesis is drenched with a foggy haze of mysticism that colours the whole experience in such a manner that makes one think of an ancient dream being recalled in the dreary light of subterranean catacombs. Ghost is the perfect example of this spirit of melancholic experimentation with its accoustic guitars and military drum beat. It even displays hints of Katatonia with its simple and anguished melodic picking. But at its heart Antithesis is as black as night and its odes to Satan reveal the true character of the masked and veiled hatred brooding venomously beneath the overriding layers of melancholy. It comes to the surface full force during the blasting parts of Seraphim is Dead. Antithesis is not just an album comprised merely of music but it is an experience made complete when taken in conjunction with the lyrics and packaging. The Packaging for Antithesis is a labor of love to be certain and is one of the most exquisite Digi-CDs I have seen. Nothing was spared for this lavish release. The production is crystal clear and ice cold. Secrets of the Moon are another example of band that is pushing the boundaries of what is usually a very confined genre yet they sacrifice none of their integrity nor do they water down any of the raging hatred they most assuredly feel. This is one of the best releases of the year.
On another note I saw these guys live recently along with Watain, Kriegsmachine, and Antaeus. It was a great concert and SOTM put on a really good show and their music translated surprisingly well to the live environment despite how involved and hermitic its mood is.