Released: 2009, Lupus Lounge
Like fellow countrymen and fellow Lupus Lounge label-mates Geist, Secrets of the Moon hail from Germany and play a depressing and leaden mixture of black metal and doom metal. PRIVILEGIVM is their fourth studio album but is the first with their new female bassist LSK.
It has to be said from the get-go that this is not an accessible record at all. Long, ponderous passages are intersected with bursts of furious black energy and spliced in with acoustic interludes here and there. The thrash roots of the songwriters are clear to see with heavy nods in the direction of Slayer, at the very least.
The second thing that has to be said is that this album is long, and I do mean long. 7 songs plus one intro and one interlude in 65 minutes is pretty drawn out in any context, but this particular type of music demands quite a bit of attention, if only to pick out the little intricacies flowing under the main riff and the minuscule subtleties in the drumming and vocal delivery. I honestly do not see this as an anywhere-anytime sort of album, which is slightly unfair, given that a lot of us don’t have the time to dedicate a solid hour to listen to a black/doom album. That being said, the final song 'Shepherd' is a wonderful closer that's been stuck in my mind for a week, with plodding drums, sensitive bass, melancholy vocals and a bluesy guitar solo.
It is unfortunate too that I simply don’t have the attention span to concentrate on the doom and melancholy in PRIVILEGIVM. Not being a hardcore fan of either black metal or doom metal, this was tough to sit through. I do appreciate what these German guys (and gal) are doing, and any fans who love the bridge between modern black metal and old-school doom is well advised to pick this up. For myself, it’s simply not my thing at all.