SECRETS OF THE MOON, Warhead (2011, Lupus Lounge)

The skull:
“Psst. Up here. It’s me, The Moon. I’ve got a secret for you. If you look hard enough, like if you really get close and look around, every skull has a baby head on it somewhere. It’s true! I know it sounds crazy, but I’m not shitting with you. Seriously. And man, once you get over that mind-blowing, let me tell you, I’ve got tons more secrets like that one, and I’d be totally glad to let you in on them. You just gotta do me one favor. Destroy the earth. Yeah, like blow up the whole planet. How’re you gonna do it? You’ve gotta figure that our yourself. I mean, yeah, I know how to do it, but I kinda can’t say. It’s complicated. Yeah, it’s one of those secrets I was telling you about. So anyway, think about it, and get back to me, but don’t take too long. Time’s a wastin’, if you know what I’m saying!”

The music:
Secrets of the Moon have been around in one form or another for a close to twenty years, and their brand of black metal is fairly well polished and sophisticated, even if it still lacks a fundamental originality. Immortal and Satyricon are meaningful comparisons, although Secrets of the Moon, at least on the one original included on this single, rarely take the tempo above “mid,” and I have no problem with that. Said original, “Seven Bells,” ably captures some of the vibe of the classic (first wave) antecedents to black metal as we know it now, touching on Sodom and Mercyful Fate in equal measure. The a-side of the single is a cover of Venom’s “Warhead,” so the band is clearly intentionally signalling their interest in pre-Darkthrone black metal, although I’m not sure it ever makes much aesthetic sense to cover Venom. Still, they do a perfectly fine job of it, even if their over-effected vocals make one long for the dulcet tones of Cronos.
— Friar Johnsen


MARTIRIO, Decadencia  (2009, demo)

The skull:
Ooooh, spooky. This skull would look utterly terrifying if it weren’t for the random baby crying for mama in the lower right portion of the artwork. Huh? Also, note the ghostly growth of a skull coming out the skull’s upper left cheek. Again I say, “Huh?” But those fangs are sharp and ready to rip. The foggy haze adds some atmosphere to this frightening/silly scene, and if that skull’s goin’ down, he’s gonna mangle a few baby heads doing it. Apparently.

The music:
If I didn’t have a band picture for reference, I’d say these guys were the sort of modern death/thrash band that takes influence from fourth generation bands like Carnal Forge. You know, Xerox copies of Xerox copies of Xerox copies until the original root is lost. It just has that stock sort of sound to it. It’s very capable stuff, musically, and the vocalist is strong if utterly interchangeable with hundreds of similar others who bark in that Anselmo-meets-Cavalera sorta way. But see, the guys are wearing Metallica and Slayer shirts, so I guess they do have a deeper understanding of thrash’s history than it sounds. Still, there’s really no reason you should seek out Martirio’s seven song demo since there’s so much more easily accessible stuff around that delivers exactly the same sort of thing. Unless you cannot get enough Carnal Forge or something.
— Friar Wagner