Thursday, 19 January 2012

Review: Secrets - The Ascent

 Before we start things off, I would like to congratulate the people at Wikipedia and several other web companies for their succesful 24 hour blackout yesterday in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act. (PIPA) It was a very respectable act to take part in that conveyed the harrowing effect that the passing of these acts would have on the internet. The people in Congress who have created this act are more like the kind of people who should be taught how to use the internet, never mind try to control it, and they seem completely oblivious to the fact that their actions would result in the loss of thousands of jobs, would have a devastating effect on any underground act or independent game developer or various other wonderful people from getting their products or music spread to the masses and would reduce our widespread access to the knowledge of the world, something that Wikipedia managed to display yesterday. A lot of people I knew were whining about it, going "Meh, why are Wikipedia being stupid and doing this blackout?" But I was more respectful. Everyone should have been more understanding of the cause and be more grateful it's just happened for one day. It could be blacked out forever. Of course, I at Ramblings of a Rock fan am worried about the effects of the act as well. Blogger definitely runs the risk of being terminated and if I'm honest having all my reviews and writings go to waste just like that is somewhat frustrating.
 Everyone around me has been saying that the acts will never be passed. The mass petitions signed against it will cause Congress to change their minds and President Obama is otherwise likely to veto both of them and that gives me a little bit of faith. But if SOPA and PIPA were to be passed, well I'm pretty much screwed and if you're an avid enough internet user to be reading blogs, chances are part of your life will be too.

 Anyways, on to the music, as today I've been checking out Secrets, one of the many acts in the brimming world of hardcore/poppy-electronic bands from Rise Records. Their debut album The Ascent is a promising effort, proving them to be a cut above the rest of their peers (Although when one of your peers are Attack Attack!, that's not a particularly difficult task.) with a much clearer and streamlined edge to their music. Also, being produced by former A Day To Remember guitarist Tom Denney, the album also features a lot of moments that make them sound... exactly the same as A Day To Remember. There are a lot of highlights to be found.

 So while tracks like Melodies and The Best You Can't Be with their irresistibly hooky and adrenaline packed arrangements of jagged pop punk riffing does make ADTR comparisons unavoidable, there is plenty on this album that gives Secrets their own sense of malicious character.
 The identifiable sense of frustration and bile juxtaposed from the soaring emo-tinged choruses in the vocals of frontman Xander Bourgeois and guitarist Richard Rogers gives each song a sense of icy deadliness as their songs of hatred, being broken and their desire for that bitch to shut the fuck up are really brought to life by the crashing post-hardcore performance from Rogers, Micheal Sherman, also axe-wielding, Mark Koch on bass and Joe English on drums.
 This is seen in the juddering breakdowns that make up The Heartless Part and Blindside and it can also be identified in the hook filled slabs of metallic pounding that often forms the choruses best demonstrated in the fun and warmer 40 Below and You Look Good In Plastic. The slick and glossy production from Denney is effective in keeping a sense of sweetness and emo-influenced grace within the music which gives Secrets that bit more of a sense of civility in their sound.
 This sense of overriding slickness mixed with the pounding and ferocious nature of the music makes The Ascent an overall dynamic and captivating listen throughout from Secrets. The group's mixture of metalcore and more electronic poppy effects is one that is executed with more perfection and skill than various peers of theirs. The whole metalcore/mainstream pop sound mixture is a musical scene that is now very much bursting at it's seams filled with bands that are either hit or miss. On this album, Secrets prove themselves to be a band of the hit variety.

Secrets' The Ascent is out now via Rise Records.

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