The Secret have been blackening their sound since their beginning as a darkly chaotic metalcore band. Through two albums in that style, they were apparently turning up the burner, so that the two that followed had a nice blackened crust forming. Six years and some intra-band friction later, that crust has fallen off for return EP Lux Tenebris, revealing a much more raw black metal interior. On the surface, little has changed — the band continue with their Latin title motif — but a deeper understanding reveals subtle changes.
Where previous albums from the Italian quartet opted for near-constant forward motion, this time they lock into certain parts and embrace repetition. “Vertigo” lulls the listener into a false sense of security, though its ominous nature leaves one with that nagging worry that it’s unsafe to do so. Those fears prove to be well-founded on “The Sorrowful Void” and “Cupio Dissolvi,” which blaze forward with blast beats and black metal brashness. There’s a push and pull with these songs, where they slip into and out of entrancing hypnotic passages, while previous experiments with slower songwriting were often sectioned off into their own tracks. By embracing longer songs and allowing them to mutate in addition to mutilate, the Secret have emerged from their dormancy with a life-affirming release that continues their evolution in fashions both sensible and sinister. (Southern Lord)
There’s been an evolution [since] you were more of a chaotic metalcore band, but you still had that darkness…
Guitarist Michel Bertoldini: That’s always been important to us. We always want to show something different, but still keeping that type of mood and darkness as a core. The form is not super important, in my opinion; it’s more the primal message that we want to deliver.
I think it’s interesting that you are repeating riffs a lot more now.
Back then, we wanted to say one thing per song and we wanted to say that in the boldest way possible without any space for misinterpretation. Now I think what we want to say is a bit more layered and complex. There are also a lot of tiny arrangements throughout the album. I think the riffs and the songs, they morph slightly round after round, but it’s little details that probably are something that only I can hear. Quite subtle details.