|Neither is it presumptuous to rate Secrets of the Moon as the apex of modern Black Metal, nor to identify in their art an honest entrenchment in this music's tradition on the one hand and a virulent iconoclasm, a plain wiping-away of this movements self-imposed boundaries on the other. Secrets of the Moon managed to do all this in an era that has often demanded and stated the death of Black Metal, and in a period of time that other bands would have needed for their pupation alone.
The biographical facts are quickly summed up, though: Formed in Osnabrück, Germany, in 1995, releasing their first demo Unearthed Arcana in the same year, finally venting their boundless creative force and obsessive will with "De Musica Mundana" and "Stronghold of the Inviolables" (both 2002). In 2004, Secrets of the Moon sign a contract with Lupus Lounge and endeavor to afflict deep wounds to the world with their sinister manifest "Carved in Stigmata Wounds".
These seem to be biographical data that other bands might be able to list in a similar form. Still, hiding behind this conventionality is an utterly extraordinary development, the history of an enormous artistic progress.
Secrets of the Moon have dedicated their every thought and deed to magic: their tracks are happenings pertinent to all your senses and must remain an enigma for any listener wont to judge in a rational way exclusively; their concerts are fueled by a Dionysian energy turning their performances into something more akin to a ritual. And yet, they never lose sight of the handicraft of their art -- with great passion, they create music with visionary atmospheres, not only being state-of-the-art technically, but also setting new standards not only in the field of Black Metal.
With their new, powerful release "Antithesis", Secrets of the Moon have multiplied all these strengths. This album, explains singer and guitarist sGolden correctly, indeed offers something totally different. Music-wise, these are the most intense and tight tracks we ever created. Spiritual darkness paired with a very progressive approach. The content of the songs is very direct, sometimes even perversely assaulting and desperate.
It is, as the great English Romantic Shelley once wrote, a mistake to suppose that he [Satan] could ever have been intended for the popular personification of evil. Antithesis seems to be rooted exactly in that concept; in the art of Secrets of the Moon -- the title of the album already points that out! -- the devil is not imagined in a conventional way, not as a mere inversion of Christian values. Rather, he is praised in breathtaking songs as the Godfather of artistic inspiration -- an admiration of the sublime, the titanic and the rebellious in him, of his capacity for both destruction and creation, and of his extraordinary majesty even in his downfall.
That this makes them the last true visionaries and innovators of Black Metal has been hinted at before. Antithesis has even more to offer, though: in its perfect balance of wildness and calculation, in its evocative, hypnotic intensity, in its heavy grandeur, in its sublime structure, in its confessional obsessiveness, this album is an immense step for Secrets of the Moon and at the same time one of the most important releases in the realm of extreme music for a long time.