By Jonathan Smith
Germany’s Secrets of the Moon win this year’s award for most black on an album cover. Luckily for listeners, there’s as much inky depth to Privilegivm as the packaging’s colour pallette suggests. The title track opens the album, setting the tone with swirling ambience and deep drum beats that morph into the heavy riffs that lead into the monstrous “Sulphur.” The band’s black metal style and sound is one that has a great deal of “heft” to it. Privilegivm feels as long as its 65-minute play time, but given that for the most part the material is extremely strong this isn’t a bad thing. sG’s vocals fall somewhere between high-pitched shrieks and deep growls, and they’re a refreshing middle point with just enough production added here and there to give them a chorus-like effect when it’s appropriate. Many of his guitar riffs are infectious, sticking in the listener’s head long after the disc has stopped spinning. Both LSK’s bass and Thrawn Thelemnar’s drums propel Privilegivm along at a brisk but mid-speed tempo that allows Secrets of the Moon ample time to throw their heavy sound’s weight around. Thematically and lyrically there’s enough apocalyptic atmosphere and religious existentialism here to satisfy fans of both black metal and gothic metal. The band resists going too far into any overused image or lyrical tropes, even in Privilegivm’s promotional material. The end result is an album that is one of the strongest ones offered this year, sure to please any blackened metal fan looking for something substantial to sink his or her teeth into.