For Fans Of
Mystery, darkness and silence. Three words which sum up the seven year absence of Melbourne (by the way of the Gold Coast) heavy hardcore enthusiasts A Secret Death. Rarely can a band be absent for such a prolonged period of time, before roaring back to life with an equal, if not greater, amount of ferocity than when they first started. Yet ‘Epilogue’, the locals long awaited second LP, does just that, with an eclectic triple D collection of dark, doomy and dynamic slabs of metallic hardcore.
Right from the opening it is apparent that these boys mean business. ‘Traffic Dancer’ sets a furious pace for the rest of the record, with vocalist Nathan Wyner’s piercing screams perfectly complementing the aural chaos provided by the instrumentals. The song twists and turns at a breakneck speed, skipping between sludgy breakdowns and hardcore tones, before winding down into a haunting, foreboding outro, allowing Wyner to display his melodic side. The track ends abruptly, with ‘Somewhat of a Recluse’ turning the heat right back up with its own pounding rhythms, exploring the same musical motif as the album’s opener. This vague sense of continuity helps to tie ‘Epilogue’ together. Each song feels like it has its own place within the record, adding its own unique flavour to the collection of tracks. ‘Barfly’ again shows the dynamic range of the band, with a soft yet driving middle section contrasted by some trademark hardcore styles. The band displays a talent for song writing not always found in other peers, which is exemplified in the way the aforementioned ‘Barfly’ glides smoothly between simply constructed sections, before wrapping itself up where it began.
The dynamic variety offered on ‘Epilogue’ can truly not be understated. ‘Maratea’ sees the inclusion of strings over haunting tones provided by the guitarists. The song gradually moves into a sludgy fanfare, upon which Wyner displays arguably his most blood curdling screams found on the record, while the remainder allow the slow thump of the groove to carry the song to an sudden yet interesting end. ‘Wife Blesser’ further shows the band’s talent to develop heavy yet floaty melodies, with the song crescendoing to a harshly sung, yet emotionally touching chorus, with a heavy undercurrent of distortion adding to the soundscape.
Despite the softer side of A Secret Death being showcased throughout the LP, it is obvious to the listener that heavy groove is what the group thrives off. ‘Lowlife’ contains just this, with its trudging intro giving way to a fast section sure to turn any venue into an instant circle pit frenzy. The song travels at rollercoaster speed, before settling back into the slow, heavy goodness that characterises the album. ‘Lay Waste the Sky’ closes the album with a beautiful opening riff yielding to a haunting cauldron of sound, with Wyner’s vocals icily floating above the somber guitar work. It evokes feelings of regret and sadness, with the middle section contrasting a driving marching cadence from the drums with a slow, ominous horn and string arrangement.
‘Epilogue’ is an album that is sure to catch many listeners off guard due to the sheer diversity of sounds and motifs. However, it makes for an interesting listen, with each song offering a new emotional journey, a slice of memorable melody and enough brutality to keep even the most avid death metal fans engaged.
An interesting record, which displays a band finding the balance between simplicity and complexity in their songwriting. The dynamic shifts make it particularly pleasing, contrasted with the brutality on display throughout the rest of the record. An enjoyable journey.
1. Traffic Dancer
2. Somewhat of a Recluse
6. Strong, Silent Type
7. Wife Blesser
10. Falls Into Place
11. Lay Waste The Sky