Secrets of the Moon

Antithesis

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AllMusic Review by

Hang on, hang on: someone better jiggle the antenna or reboot the computer or something, because there's this weird sonic static troubling the edges of "Nowhere" -- an otherwise pristine, military-precise intro to Secrets of the Moon's Antithesis album. Just kidding, of course, but let this light jab serve as fair warning when it comes to the regimented nature of this German band's personal vision of black metal: Secrets of the Moon stay well away from the genre's more savage, atavistic school of thought, and thus verily confirm their desire (and perhaps their German-ness) to freeze their asses off in Dante's iced inferno rather than stoke the fires of hell, if you know what we mean. Anyway, that's not to say that Antithesis' cold and clinical production in any way compromises the quality of its songwriting, scope of its dynamic variety, nor richness of imagination contained herein (all of them arguably culminating in the haunting desperation book-ending the violent maelstrom of standout track "Seraphim Is Dead"). Instead, this generalized austerity actually accentuates the sharp edges and bittersweet wounds inflicted by lengthy explorations such as "Ordinance," "Confessions," et al, which continually test mere mortals' thresholds of pain and pleasure, but likewise prove consistently engaging for close to an hour straight. And standing stiff above it all is vocalist Daevas (aka Lars Plegge), whose gravelly but strict and ideally percussive delivery not only fits the music like a steel glove (unlike his deadpan, Kraftwerk-ian narration during "Metamorphose" -- not good), but also traces a nice, nostalgic ancestry to luminary predecessors like Celtic Frost's Thomas Gabriel Warrior and Coroner's Ron Broder. Therefore, although Secrets of the Moon's calculated discipline may still strike some extreme metal fans as harsh and lifeless, there's no denying the sheer strength of Antithesis' vision and songwriting.

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