Secrets of the Moon - _Antithesis_
(Prophecy / Lupus Lounge, 2006)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
Secrets of the Moon have taken their debut _Carved in Stigmata Wounds_, slowed some parts down to something that resembles a much better _Now, Diabolical_, and added a pinch of Deathspell Omega's more progressive moments in _Kénôse_. The result is not without its weaker passages, but should provide a welcome listen for those left frustrated by Satyricon's weak effort this year.

There are still enough changes of pace and relatively quick sections to establish a clear connection with the band's older material, but several tracks occasionally bring to mind present day Satyricon -- except I don't mean that in a bad way, as it is significantly better than the sorry excuse for an album that is _Now, Diabolical_. Those are still the least appealing parts of the album for my taste, as I tend to prefer the quicker sequences with typically serpentine riffs, but there's enough variety to ensure that doesn't become a problem.

Production-wise, the listener is in for a treat: the sound is clear and powerful, well balanced and quite appropriated for SotM's brand of black metal. The production undeniably helps quite a lot, but the songwriting also deserves credit: Secrets of the Moon may have tweaked their style, but they clearly haven't lost their inspiration and skill. The riffs ooze confidence and deliberation, even if not all are similarly engaging.

On "Ghost" the band hit a brilliant riff at the start, and come out with their most memorable and enjoyable track: a cold, despondent number that rates highly among what I've heard this year. "Seraphim Is Dead" has some _Kénôse_-like elements at the beginning, but I'm not really complaining given how nicely it fits in; the track itself is also quite memorable and intense. Before a nice instrumental outro however, "Lucifer Speaks" varies between the vaguely pleasant and the unremarkable; not the best track with which to close this lengthy album, which doesn't start as strongly as it might have either.

The result of all this is that Secrets of the Moon have hit a very interesting formula by mixing these elements with their own style. There are a few passages that should have been trimmed or sped up, and a few riffs that border on the bland; but overall the result can be quite impressive, definitely potent and generally enjoyable. Even if _Carved in Stigmata Wounds_, _Kénôse_ and/or _Now, Diabolical_ mean little to you, _Antithesis_ is still a damn good metal album.


(article published 26/9/2006)

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