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The Secret - "Solve Et Coagula" (CD)

The Secret - "Solve Et Coagula" CD cover image

"Solve Et Coagula" track listing:

1. Cross Builder (5:12)
2. Death Alive (1:59)
3. Double Slaughter (1:31)
4. Where It Ends (:51)
5. Antitalian (1:47)
6. Weatherman (2:39)
7. Pleasure In Self Destruction (1:50)
8. Eve Of The Last Day (1:40)
9. Pursuit Of Discomfort (2:57)
10. Bell Of Urgency (5:12)
11. War Desire (3:09)
12. 1968 (5:59)

Reviewed by on December 13, 2010

"It may seem like The Secret has a limited mindset at first, but beneath the bile and vinegar is a cold and calculated foursome capable of tugging at the deepest depths of evil within every one of us."

One of the biggest offenses with modern metal is how pristine it sounds. The top-notch production values cover up any faults or inconsistencies, usually making for a great sounding, if lifeless, album. The Secret’s third album, “Solve Et Coagula,” is an exception, thanks to the expertise of Kurt Ballou behind the boards. Like Ballou has done before with Trap Them and Converge, the unpolished and rough production fits The Secret well. “Solve Et Coagula” is submerged in a gritty tone early on, with a series of seizure-inducing grind cuts that beckon feelings of eager dejection at humanity.

The album moves at such a blinding pace that melody is forbidden. The Secret’s idea of slowing down in the midst of a brutal jam is to crank out hazardous guitar feedback. Opener “Cross Builder” does this technique better than any other track, with curdling screams the only other element in play. Even when the rest of the band comes in and some discernible notes are played, the ominous mood lingers around. It’s a false start, a ruse that saves its payoff for the shocking “Death Alive.”

The band saves the lengthy excursions for the front and back end of the album. For a good 15 minutes, grind is the name of the game for The Secret. There is little difference between the tracks, yet repetition is not an issue. The tracks are short enough not to run thin, and tracks like “Weatherman” bring out the crushing breakdowns that cause fits of throwing inanimate objects at anybody in sight. A good grind album like this gets in and out with nothing left but a migraine the size of Tom Cruise’s ego.

“Bell of Urgency” and “1968” combine grind and doom to procreate mini-epics that tout a distinct flavor from the rest. The atmosphere is less focused on sheer anger and more on choking ambience. The blasting is kept to a minimum on the former, as the guitars take to the background to cast a desolate air. The latter is a terrorizing plague of hatred that fades into another extended feedback marathon that will cause the ejection of the disc before the dull noise disappears.

“Solve Et Coagula” benefits from its shortness, as any more than 35 minutes would have been overkill for the amount of force contained in every pissed-off word uttered. There aren’t any throwaway tracks, though some may find it hard to pick apart the cluttered grind material that dominates the middle portion of the album. It may seem like The Secret has a limited mindset at first, but beneath the bile and vinegar is a calculating foursome capable of tugging at the deepest depths of evil within every one of us.

Highs: Album moves at a blistering speed, brilliant opener in "Cross Builder," short enough to avoid much repetition

Lows: The grind tracks can blend together, vocals are hard to understand

Bottom line: A bruising third album that eliminates any trace of melody and viciously dominates those who step in the way.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)