Secrets of the Moon - Antithesis
Lupus Lounge
Progessive Black Metal
9 songs (58:38)
Release year: 2006
Secrets of the Moon, Lupus Lounge
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Although German Crowleyians Secrets Of The Moon have been plugging away quietly since 1995, they seem to avoid all the critical kudos that they deserve. True, it’s hard to name a German Black Metal band that is that well-known amongst the krieg, but with third full-length Antithesis the band came their closest yet to hitting the Black Metal equivalent of Broadway. This is a disciplined, martial yet progressive mixture that touches on Celtic Frost and Satyricon without ever actually aping them. Doubtless the fundamentalists will be put off by the breakdowns less than a minute into first track proper Versus, but it’s a relief to hear elements such as this included without it all turning into some Metalcore nightmare. This is still very much Black Metal, with an atmosphere of restrained rage that makes the album quite addictive.

With all songs but the intro and outro well over the six-minute mark this is, as you’d expect, an album that takes its time to unfold, yet it rarely gets dull. For the most part the music is a mid-paced crawl, slowing down and speeding up to devastating effect, and touches like the extended soloing at the end of Versus and the whispering at the start of Metamorphoses add colour to a determinedly harsh palette. Listening to the album as a whole, it’s easy to hear a subtle build-up that makes the experience much more rewarding, culminating in the epic pound of Lucifer Speaks, a grandiose finale that is undoubtedly the album highlight.

Even so, taken out of context the likes of Ordinance are twisted, technical blasts of darkness that aren’t afraid to include a catchy chorus, and that don’t suffer because of it. All members of the band are on fire, the riffs coming at you from all directions, and drummer T. Thelemnar (also of Antaeus) gives a wonderful performance, matching many of the better-known names in the scene with style and aplomb – Ghost alone is little short of jaw-dropping.

Many Black Metal bands tend to toe the line these days – better the devil you know, after all. It’s those that chafe at the bit, however, the bands that aren’t content to be one in a million, that are truly worth listening to, and Antithesis is a stunning example of how you can experiment both inside and out of the boundaries. For example, Confessions writhes and squirms like a dying dragon, yet it remains undoubtedly Metal of the Blackest kind. If this album proves anything, it’s that a clean production doesn’t necessarily equal ‘selling out’, whatever that means. It’ll be interesting to see where Secrets Of The Moon take this sound: both Now, Diabolicalesque groove and (I hope) a more progressive, even Neurosisy direction are possible. Whatever the result, they’re a band worth watching out for.

Killing Songs :
Versus, Ordinance, Ghost, Seraphim Is Dead, Lucifer Speaks
Goat quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Secrets of the Moon that we have reviewed:
Secrets of the Moon - Black House reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Secrets of the Moon - Seven Bells reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Secrets of the Moon - Priviligivm reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
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