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Secrets of the Moon – Black House

Secrets of the Moon
Black House
by Aurora Kuczek at 30 June 2020, 6:13 PM

Though presenting themselves in a straightforward and tangible fashion, SECRETS OF THE MOON is wholly rather abstract, and this proves to be the case in their recent release entitled, “Black House,” which came about early May of this year. The project originates from Germany and formed in 1995. Since then, they have released six full length albums with their recent release being their seventh. They have also put out countless demos, split albums, and some single releases. The band classifies themselves as a Gothic Rock and Metal band, and used to be a Black Metal band, yet there are so many different genres woven into the album that distinguishing them for a certain genre will fail to be the case. Aspects of power metal, black metal, nineties alternative rock, nu-metal, and even country-like rhythms can be heard throughout the album, allowing it to be listenable for those with different types of preferences. Although unique, this brings forth its set of issues. Not adhering to a specific genre or style allows the album to be confusing and strange at times as the listeners could feel jerked back and forth, stunned harshly as the minutes pass. The most tangible piece of the album are the synths that are produced in each track, yet they also change attitudes frequently. Nevertheless, “Black Horse” remains to be a fascinating and eclectic release of alluring variation.

Sanctum” begins in a shroud of darkness. Black Metal-like synths overcome those who hide behind the walls of deceit and misery. The drums are upbeat, and the voice sings traditionally, almost as if it were power metal. The voice tries to blend with the guitars, but its effort is too hard to achieve. Flute-like synths come forth adding a feeling of sombreness. The sounds build on top of one another to create a pop rock sort of creation. The tune of the guitar changes a bit before promptly returning to the style of before. There is a sort of shouting in the background, and the guitars begin to pump their way to the end of the song. The voice becomes unlikened, and the nature it began with fades like a dried leaf in autumn. “Don't Look Now” follows the same pattern as before. Creepy synths begin with spacious-like noises. Drums are on their own for a bit before layers are added. The voice combines screaming and talking into some uneven mixture. Synths are very majestic, yet saddening, even though this is what the song seemingly aims for. At this point I begin to classify the genre as a borderline Gothic with elements of atmospheric black metal, doom metal, but more specifically pop rock. There is an awkward shift in their melody, and confusion sets into play as the music feels a bit overdone, but not efficiently done. The voice overpowers the notes. The guitars are hidden, and the drums occasionally will show their heads around the sharp corners they turn. The beginning of the song repeats, with strange atmospheric noises accompanied by a drum beating in the background. It feels as if a child walked into the scenery fiddling with instruments with her uncontrollable hands. The music returns to an almost majestic idea from earlier in the song. The guitar ends on an uncomplicated riff. “Veronica's Room” extends these issues, deepening them and rooting them into a grassless pit. It seems rather strange; the voices are altered, and repetition than newness occurs. Its originality is hard to pinpoint. This particular track features a more AGALLOCH Black Metal style. Drums are upbeat, with frequent changes in the key and melody of the track. Guitars are hidden by the overpowering nature of the synths and the drums now exhibiting a mind of their own. The voice feels out of place, and if it wasn’t there, the track would be more accessible. Suddenly, the song switches to the style it set up in the beginning, and the guitar is heard with a quaint simplicity, yet uncomfortable sounding as it falls to the background. It does a strange riff, that neither does not fit and is not well developed. The voice is traditional once more.

He Is Here” features lower notes on the bass and guitar, offsetting the higher notes that flow through. Space-like noise synths come forth, allowing the track to exhibit a creepier sensation to the rhythm as more layers are added. The track diverges from its previous makeup to create a nu-metal idea almost sounding like KORN. There is a shift in melody, which aims to be beatific with its power metal vocals and alternative notes. Towards the end of the song, the vocals almost sound as if there were two individuals singing, and the guitars create simple, yet distinguished melodies, and I wish there had been more of these ideas twisted in their tracks. “Black House” follows this section and prolongs the feelings that are outside the metal genre. Synths are smooth in the background, allowing one to rest their head amongst the soft grass. It is gloom driven, but memorable. Given this though, the guitars tend to pivot throughout every note, never staying stationary or contempt with the direction of the track. There are static like noises, as the vocals obliviously turn more to almost stoner metal. There is a slow buildup and guitars do create some riffs, but ultimately ends in quicksand. Although this could seem as their best song of the album, it seems too much like ALICE IN CHAINS towards the end, and the melody changes so much so, that when looking back upon the track, it is hard to know what the song was actually about. “Heart” continues the familiar synths, along with a static-like instrument. A sort of background noise washes over the song, yet does not cleanse it as it does so. The vocals change the most throughout the song. It is again built into layers, with simple echoed guitars. As the noise starts to take hold of the music, the rhythm shifts, and the guitars soon dissipate. The voice is semi-melodic, with strange growls or breathing of some sort that builds with time. As the vocals seem to be the main focus of the track, I would have liked to see more lyrical improvement. It did not feel to me that the words were given a moments more of thought, and if it should have, I believe the tracks would be more understandable. “Mute God” has sort of a country-like rhythm, as the guitars fiddle a bit with this newness and move with the synths. Notes climb and fall, and the vocals stay relatively the same. The song shifts towards a more AGALLOCH style, with high pitched melodies. Suddenly, there are high pitched vocals and are much different than they were before. I wonder if another vocalist has joined. The voices harmonize and layer with one another, before the track fades in static. “Earth Hour” starts unusually with a synth-like echo that follows through with the guitars. The voice combines with the notes to make a harsh dissonance that is difficult to hold within. As synths are added the song becomes overwhelming with its layers. The track has a metal core-like attitude as it stops and starts again. The track finals with a drifting atmospheric nature, and a calmness that was hidden, but now comes forth.

SECRETS OF THE MOON’s “Black House” is a whimsical creation of ideas thrown together like glitter against the thickness of a child’s glue. Filled with a darkening atmosphere, and an abstractness to follow, the album is rooted in testing sounds and voices, rather than having a concrete idea that lasts through the end. Although I could palpably see the images through the individual notes, the tracks alone as well as the album felt disjointed at times. The tracks changed so much in melody and genres that it was difficult to understand even in minute to minute throughout a song to where it was going and for what purpose did this all have. In this way, the album was unique as I have not yet heard much anything like this—neither in a good nor bad fashion. I believe this album could be rather liked by most anyone, but I would stay away from defining it into a genre of metal.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Sanctum
2. Don't Look Now
3. Veronica's Room
4. He Is Here
5. Cotard
6. Black House
7. Heart
8. Mute God
9. Earth Hour
Lars Plegge – Bass
Phil Jonas – Vocals, Guitars (tracks 1-3, 5, 6, 8, 9), and Lyrics
Michael Zech – Guitars, Vocals (tracks 1, 2), Programming (tracks 2, 4), Keyboards (track 3), and Lyrics (track 2)
Alessandro Delastik – Drums
Record Label: Lupus Lounge


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Edited 08 July 2020

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