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A Secret Death – Epilogue – Album Review

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A Secret Death
Epilogue
Monolith
Release Date: 26 June 2015
Review by Joshua Bulleid

A lot has changed since A Secret Death released their self-titled debut back in 2008. Yet, the appropriately titled Epilogue sees the Melbourne quintet picking up right where they left off.

Epilogue throws back to a time when Norma Jean were releasing albums like The Anti Mother (2008) and Converge’s You Fail Me (2005) still lingered heavily over the hardcore scene. A Secret Death have kept things on message, behind the scenes, by working with producer Mike Deslandes (Robotosaurus, Coerce) and mastered by Alan Douches (Converge, The Dillinger Escape Plan) to create a record that sounds instantly familiar, and which fans of A Secret Death and their ilk will welcome with open arms, and. However, the overfamiliarity of ‘Epilogue’ is a bit of a double-edged sword.

Seven years on, A Secret Death’s fundamental tone is less captivating than it was around the time their ear-catching debut dropped, and Epilogue is a notably less-charismatic record than that lauded release. Epilogue makes a slight departure from the mould by incorporating a larger degree of ambient passages, much like those that would worm their way into subsequent Norma Jean releases. However, A Secret Death don’t quite fully embrace the progressive bent that has come to define that band and their peers over the last decade.

The frequent slower sections on Epilogue distract more than they accentuate and the record struggles to create the momentum of A Secret Death’s debut. Lowlife makes the best of the band’s new(ish) direction—perhaps by virtue of being one of the album’s longer tracks, and thus allowing the atmosphere to more properly develop—but for the most part it’s the shorter and nastier cuts, like Traffic Dancer that make for the record’s most exciting.

While Epilogue might not be the triumphant return for A Secret Death than it could have been, it’s nonetheless a quality hardcore release that makes at once for a challenging and nostalgic listen. Both of A Secret Death’s records prove they’re a band brimming with potential; hopefully they stick around to develop it further this time.

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