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Secrets of the Moon is considered one of Germany's elite black metal bands for a good reason: with each album, they stake out new ground, not content to repeat themselves or lie stagnant in an ever widening pool of misguided talent. Privilegivm is a compelling effort which strips black metal to its core and creates a crushing, primal force through its simple, atmospheric structure.
The title track is an atmospheric intro piece with some wisps of choral chanting amidst staggering feedback and broiling chords, which leads to the tribal "Sulphur", pummeling and chugging riffs which condense about snaking, eerie melodies. "Black Halo" creates a landscape of bleak guitars, slowly crawling towards some pitch black shore to lap at the shores of desperation. The tribal drumming returns with some chugging rhythms, and some sweet hooks as the song gathers momentum. "I Maldoror" has some grand rhythmic melodies which snake downwards in a spiral of depression, and "Harvest" is an epic track (13+ minutes) which is divided into three sections, covering a wide range of the band's primal aggression and adventure. "For They Know Not" is another epic, almost 10 minutes long, but one of the album's more captivating tracks. The albums ends with the raunchy "Queen of Rats", the dissonant guitar interlude "Descent" and the subtle "Sheperd".
Privilegivm has a top notch, clean production to it which puts it at odds with a lot of the band's peers, yet it really polishes the band's stripped down approach. This is yet another of those albums which one could consider a 're-interpretation' of genre, using simplistic death/thrash chugs which one might expect from a lesser band. Yet it's all to good effect. Privilegivum does feel dry in places, but if you've got the time to sit through its 65 minute length, works best as a whole. I wish I could shovel more praise upon it and place it on a pedestal as one of the best black metal releases of the year, but it's not at that level. Still, if you're in the mood for something outside the norm, yet still malevolent where it matters most, this is worth a listen.