Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sepherah Chokmah

Secret Chiefs 3 – Book M

Secret Chiefs blew me away totally with their live show last month and I was compelled afterwards to buy a CD in order to comfort me from the disappointment of not being able to go to the second gig (as usual the merchandise stall was all sold out of t-shirts in my size).

Book M is similar to their next album Book of Horizons which I have owned for some years. Trey Spruance and co blend traditional music, surf rock, psytrance and death metal together in an unlikely but sublime brew. On Book of Horizons they actually separated the different styles of the band into different sub bands and attributed each song to one of these bands, while on Book M the mishmash of influences is more... mished and mashed.

Take for example 'Zulfikar III', which closed the main set at their gig and from what I can tell is a real fan favourite song. It opens with spacey atmospherics which are shortly accompanied by drums and synthesisers in a nice dark groove that wouldn't be out of place on an Infected Mushroom or Juno Reactor record. Before long it's joined by an understated but forceful heavy metal guitar riff, and the melody is stated as a soaring call and answer between two violins. In the hands of most bands this would come out a mess but here it's brilliant.

To my ears the band are not quite as competent multi instrumentalists as they would later become on Book of Horizons as I can hear a few bits and pieces that sound not quite right, but other than that this is a great album that's every bit as good as its successor.

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