05 Nov 2021 - Daniel F.
Post-Metal | Lifeforce Records | Release date: 29 Oct 2021
I’ve restarted this review about four times now. Perhaps it’s just a run-of-the-mill case of writer’s block, a side effect of trying to write about an album unveiled in a week that is rife with fantastic releases. Or perhaps it’s something more. A Secret Revealed are my kind of band, and When Day Yearns For Light is my kind of album, so normally I would expect the words to flow, but my theory is that I feel somewhat responsible for highlighting just how fantastic this record is. Expect the adverbs to be flowing throughout this one, because spoiler alert, it’s one of the year’s most enticing records.
My first experience of A Secret Revealed was their 2019 album Sacrifices, a blitzkrieg of core injected black metal that felt somewhat game-changing at the time. It was a compelling blend of styles that I had never seen work so well together, and yet nearly three years on they have outdone themselves by producing a record that takes all the same elements and applies then with a learned brushstroke. It is heavy, emotive and brash, yet so elegantly produced and above all else it’s an unforgettable listening experience.
It begins with delicacy (albeit short-lived) as neat guitar work builds into black metal reverb and eventually a volley of blast-beats that rip through the track like artillery fire. “Shame on you!” hurls vocalist Paul Motz as the opening track ”As I Watch You Perish” kicks into gear, cycling through a smorgasbord of metallic elements. Probably post-metal at heart but swinging like a pendulum between metalcore and blackened territory with ease. “No Shelter. No Hope.” only continues the trend, seeing despaired vocals slip into further emotive landscape amidst a backdrop of weeping guitars and thunderous drums.
It’s all very measured. It isn’t always crushing, the album feels very nuanced and is structured well enough to allow each of these elements to shine and flow within each other. ”In Shoals” ups the tempo, offering a dizzying riff that threatens to lodge itself firmly in our heads, and then we are exposed to a post-rock interlude that is nothing short of idyllic. These are the attributes of a band not only capable as musicians, but in delivering their vision with precision and absolute impact.
”Rotten” is almost Architects-esq in construct, harking back to the days where metalcore was at it’s prime (cast your mind back to when Lost Forever // Lost Together dominated the airwaves and you’ll get the idea) and yet we are perpetually reminded that this is so much more than just an exercise in delivering cool riffs. It is a development. Not only for A Secret Revealed themselves, but for music as a whole. The album concludes with ”Monument Of Guilt”, perhaps a case of leaving the best until last. Post rock riffs combine with melodic guitars and angst-driven vocals emphatically to eventually conclude proceedings in the same way the album began – with a graceful touch. It’s absolutely beautiful.
I’ll leave you now to draw your own conclusions but consider one thing: A Secret Revealed aren’t anything in particular. They are everything combined. This is music with the purest of hearts, intended not only to impress but to make us feel something more, for better or worse. Because of this the album is a truly immersive experience. It requires more than a casual listen and warrants us taking a deep dive into the murky, dissonant waters in which it operates. It is beautiful and utterly cathartic. We’ll likely all take something different from it, but it’s a record that we can collectively admire.