Review Summary: Secrecy's your order...
Germany's Secrecy is an unfortunately obscure progressive power metal band that faded after a short four-year career consisting of two demos and two full-lengths from 1988 to 1992. After their last demo, Set the Sails, was released; no other work has been released and the group largely faded into obscurity. A sad fate for a promising young band but fortunately, these gentlemen left us with some excellent work, especially with their debut full-length, Art in Motion.
This album largely has what you would expect out of its respective genre: complex riffing, intricate song structures, superb musicianship, etc. However, what creeps up on the listener the most is the songwriting. Even at its most complex, this album manages to have an incredible grasp on keeping stable direction and control on its composition. Secrecy strangely employed three guitarists (with the third, Peter Dardin, doubling as vocalist) resulting in many of the tracks having these immense and climactic rifforamas that perfectly support solos that wondrously interweave through them. All of this is compounded on by some beautiful and luxurious harmonic structures.
All of this occurs without the bass being lost in the mix, resulting in some incredibly satisfying counterpoint on the part of bassist, Stephan Kerber. In this sense, he showcases ability that matches the likes of the guitarists, Manny Meccyca, Jörn Schlüter and the aforementioned Peter Dardin. The drumming by Sascha Trödel may not be as flashy but he is certainly skilled and adds many textures and complexities alongside Kerber where appropriate, providing a firm foundation for the rest of the band whilst finding his own instances to shine as a technician.
The writing and musicianship is enhanced by the intelligent choices when it came to production which actually manages to play somewhat of a vital role as far as this album is concerned. It is unusually warm which sets it apart and ultimately works to its favor, adding a sense of comfort and bittersweet introspection to the already elegant melodies present in tracks like Trisomie XXI, The Last of Dynasty, A New Beginning, Acting With Intellect and The Fear To Feel. While fulfilling this role, this atmosphere granted to those parts of the album also make the tracks with more tension like Coroner's Inquest, Like Burning One's Boat and Inside You all the more anxious, making the frantic moments memorable; resulting in an album that truly invites many replays.
The only problems that could probably be found in this album is the vocal performance from Peter Dardin. Keep in mind that the vocal melodies are quite well-written and that Dardin has many good moments, especially in the more wistful moments on Art in Motion. It's simply that the tonality he possesses may put some off. However, it may not be as big of a hurdle as it would otherwise be with other vocalists like Days of Yore's Jérôme Parent.
1990 was a phenomenal year for metal and as many albums are often named from it, some have slipped through the cracks with Art in Motion certainly being among them. A compelling release that has the attributes to successfully stand alongside its contemporaries and a lost classic.