"Secrets of the Lost & Wicked" (Self-released; 2010)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

If Saence's "Secrets of the Lost and Wicked" was as well-produced as its cover, this would be one of the best records of the year. But we'll get to the music in a minute. First, let's start with the packaging: "Secrets" has a gorgeous black cover, inked with silver and skulls. It's got a unique graphic insert -- using Tarot-like cards to introduce the band -- and, judging from the package, you feel like you're in for a big treat. It's one of those packages that fills you with excitement. It feels ... big.

When the album starts, however, the music is ... well, let's just say that production is its enemy. The production is so muddled during the first few tracks of this CD that "Secrets" sounds a little amateur-ish. Disappointing, considering the fantastic album art. It's not that the talent isn't there. With a little more solid production, the music would be tighter and clearer from the onset. The vocalist is all but drowned out on these first four tracks and the music feels sloppy and as though nothing really fits together.

Interestingly, at the fifth track mark, things begin to turn around. "Overthrown" is an eerie, haunting number. The music is slower and much more atmospheric and seems to fit the band's talents better than the previous tracks. "Rearview Demon" is next, rocking pretty hard and still working well. Funny how the band begins to show signs of life midway through the CD. Track 7, "Black Light," throbs its way through, holding your attention throughout and the CD ends on a high note, closing with another haunting, atmospheric, track which includes a spoken word vocal that may give you goosebumps. "The Tides of Truth" is eerie and very involving.

The final five tracks on "Secrets of the Lost & Wicked" more than make up for the first few. This CD may not be perfect, but it does bode well for the band's future.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:22 -0400.