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Secrecy > Art in Motion > Reviews
Secrecy - Art in Motion

Random Album Recommendation: Art in Motion - 95%

Alex_P, March 11th, 2011

I've been running a lot recently, and I've found that no music fits such exercise better than technical and progressive thrash metal, be it the intellichug of Mekong Delta, the Gothic drama of Depressive Age or the epic epicness of No Exit-era Fates Warning. There’s another record in this genre that I’ve been addicted to lately; Secrecy’s 1990 debut Art in Motion.

Secrecy’s brand of tech-thrash is borderline power metal, especially given their tendency for scale hooks and the operatic style of lead vocalist Peter Dartin. Understand though, that by power metal I mean the real stuff, American-inspired and ballsy. Secrecy aren’t riding with the sun here, they’re running down the memories, reminiscing on times past. Still, the music is heavy enough that I feel it fits in with the work of the German cerebral thrash movement of the late 80s and early 90s.

The songwriting is remarkable. It’s loose enough to be interesting but straightforward enough to really grab the listener. Check out the anthemic 80s gang chorus on ‘Final Words’, or the haunting, Schuldiner-esque hook on album highlight ‘Coroner’s Inquest’. I can’t get these songs out of my head. That’s really the quality I look for in progressive and technical metal. There are hundreds of really skilled musicians out there (and the ones in Secrecy were hella skilled) but significantly fewer who made music I can revisit without even listening to it. This is coupled with an atmosphere of desolation. The production makes the band feel cold and distant, but still human. This album was made in the pre-ProTools days, and has that raw warmth that would be hard to capture nowadays. The riffs aren’t too loud and the drums are completely untriggered.

I recognize that Dartin’s vocals will probably be the most divisive part of this for many. He’s odd, for sure, and rarely in tune with the song. But like with any great but bizarre band, the music hooked me instantly and an appreciation for the vocalist followed.
What Secrecy achieved with this album was something truly unique. They had a follow-up in 1991 that I’ll need to listen to soon, but right now I’m still in the process of digesting this. It could take me a while.

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