By Lane Oliver
2010’s breakout album, Solve et Coagula, opened many doors for Italy’s own crusty demolishers The Secret. That record went on to accumulate massive amounts of praise from music critics and fans alike. Now the sonically punishing quartet has announced the release of their blasphemous new record Agnus Dei; a record that is as huge as the Lamb of God himself.
The swelling feedback on the album’s title track signals the beginning of a cataclysmic beat down in the form of filthy black metal inspired hardcore. Just like the album before it, Agnus Dei is raw, gritty and fueled by hate and blood. Besides the malevolent instrumentation the band also invokes cataclysm with harsh, blood curdling vocals. After “Agnus Dei’s” reign of terror is over, the record continues to give birth to high velocity hell spawns. “May God Damn All of Us” is a hellacious tremolo picked death bringer that devours your soul if its ending breakdown doesn’t crush your soul to bits first. The sky opens up to unleash a torrential downpour of riffs on “Geometric Power”. A cavalcade of malcontented chords and haunting harmonic riffs march through this two minute beast. In one measly minute, “Daily Lies” manages to produce some of the heaviest and deadliest riffs on this record. This song will knock you off your feet and kick you when you are down. If you’ve made it this far without dying from a heart attack, it is apparent that Agnus Dei contains their heaviest material to date. The Secret doesn’t try to reinvent themselves or alter their sound on this record but instead strive to take their established formula and make it even heavier. You don’t have to always reinvent the wheel; just use the wheel’s full potential. After a plethora of bone crushing speed demons, The Secret slows the tempo down a bit on “Heretic Temple”. The song is a doomy, dissonant and malicious sounding track full of earth shattering fury and swirling black metal esque dissonance. For the most part is a pretty chilling track but it tends to drag as it goes on and temporarily slows the flow of the record down. Then The Secret comes back in full forth for two more throat ripping, spiteful hardcore tracks. Agnus Dei closes with the thirteen minute “Seven Billion Graves”. It starts of very, very strong with ungodly amounts of destructive, spiraling chord progressions that will leave you breathless. It easily contains some of the heavier moments on the record. Unfortunately, the chaos ends after three minutes and gives way to a few minutes of silence. Then near the final few minutes a very repetitive, almost pointless secret track plays for the album’s final moments. I really dislike it when bands do this kind of thing. I hate being teased with the idea of a longer song only for it to be filled with pointless silence and a mediocre bonus track attached to it. But these things did not prevent me from enjoying the majority of this record. It is still one bestially record that will leave you panting for more. Agnus Dei is the auditory equivalent of a demolition derby!
Besides the little nitpicky things this album really rips me a new one. It is ten times heavier and eviler sounding than its predecessor. Although it is heavier than Solve et Coagula, I felt Agnus Dei didn’t flow quite as well as Solve and I was put off by the final track. Overall though, I felt that this album was pretty damn good.
Label: Southern Lord
Release Date: October 23rd, 2012
Favorite Tracks: “May God Damn All of Us”, “Daily Lies”, “Post Mortem Nihil Est”, “Darkness I Became” and “The Bottomless Pit”.
For fans of: Converge, Dead in the Dirt, Masakari, Alpinist, Early Graves and Gaza