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Secret Chiefs 3 - First Grand Constitution And Bylaws CD (album) cover


Secret Chiefs 3



3.88 | 42 ratings

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4 stars The band Secret Chiefs 3 came about from the unpredictable nature of the similar band Mr. Bungle. With Mike Patton involved with so many different projects, Trey Spruance, the main mind behind SC3's brilliant music, started up what was then a side project. "First Grand Constitution and Bylaws" is the first album from this interesting bunch of musicians.

As the band's first album, it is definitely varied and even a bit unfocused. You can hear bits of Mr. Bungle in the music here, but you also hear hints of the musical direction the band would take. But one thing you need to know about SC3. The band is "schizophrenic". Before this was diagnosed by the fictional doctor (of my own making) Fwedwick von Fincklehiemer der Stumpferter, all of the band's personalities were meshed together and it is very apparent on this album. That is both the album's strength and weakness. There is some great stuff here, but it is rather unfocused and flits from one style to another like a musical chameleon. You get wild and abrupt noises and sounds that can get somewhat abrasive, some jibberish and such, and some straightforward rock with is based a lot on differing ethnic styles.

Most of the tracks are quite short with durations that last from 2 - 4 minutes each. However, there are times that the band settles down and allows us to actually sink into the music, and these are in the longer tracks such as the excellent "Assassin's Blade" which opens up reminding one of "mall musak" style jazz, but slowly moves into a very nice sound as it continues on. "Emir of the Bees" is also a quirky yet great "suite" that takes the time to establish a theme element in an album that seems to have no theme. "Resurrection Day Soundtrack" is another great highlight along with album closer "White As They Come". These tracks are all separated by many shorter tracks that are a bit hit or miss, but seem to still generate interest as they go along, some more than others. The schizo personality of the band is definitely at play here.

This personality became quite apparent as the band continues along and eventually Spruance figured out that each of these personalities needed their own names, thus many different embodiments of the band have been established, and a lot of the albums and EPs begin to give these embodiments credit for their works among the band's albums. Thus, SC3's music becomes a lot more cohesive among their recordings as the history of the band continues. In fact, the album "Book of Horizons" not only features most of these different embodiments of the band, but also calls them out in the track listing. Some of these names are FORMS, UR, Traditionalists, Ishraqiyan, Noddingturd Fan (or NT Fan for short) and others. Hopefully this will explain how to find your way through Secret Chiefs 3's discography and also help the listener understand why this first album is so varied. Even so, it's still quite an enjoyable mish mash of the band's styles that, if nothing else, will make the listener want to look a bit deeper into this eccentric, quirky and schizophrenic band.

TCat | 4/5 |


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