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


Secret Chiefs 3



3.85 | 24 ratings

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Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Secret Chiefs 3 were originally formed in the mid-1990s by three members of Mr. Bungle. Bassist Trevor Dunn would later leave the group. Guitarist Trey Spruance and drummer Danny Heifetz stayed. SC3 is Spruance's band first and foremost. Trey was very busy at this time, being a member of and recording/touring with Faith No More, Mr. Bungle and Secret Chiefs 3...all at the same time. He would leave FNM and make one more album with Bungle before concentrating solely on SC3.

This is the groups first album, and can sometimes sound similar to Bungle's Disco Volante album. Particularly the middle-eastern and electronic influences. Spruance wrote most of the music on DV, so it shouldn't be a surprise to hear a resemblance. The sound of SC3 is very diverse and includes elements of death metal, surf rock, jazz, film music, techno, Latin, Middle-Eastern, electronic and avant-garde. Like Bungle, there is a variety of different instruments used. The music is just as unpredictable and crazy as Bungle's, sometimes more so. Ideas come and go so quick, you have to listen to this several times to understand what's going on.

The latest CD versions have the track "Emir Of The Bees" stuck in the middle. I have an older CD version without that song, which I have never heard. There are three songs here all called "borderland"; they all feature the members screwing around in the studio, making noises and altering sounds. Very avant-garde and but also very filler. The album begins with "Ana'l Raqq", which is just some great 1950s/60s sounding organ. "Breeze Of Dawn, Death's Angel" begins avant death metal, then gets jazzy with atmospheric keyboards. Goes classical before ending in cacophony. "Assassin's Blade" is almost tango or something similar. Great melodies in this song. I like how the guitar and bells play in unison. Piano is the prominent instrument.

"Bare-faced Bazi" starts mellow with vibes and wind chimes before it turns into a punk song. The vocals sound like Jello Biafra. I like the oddball yelling. Later the music changes to the vocals and drums playing together, going "fa-fa-la-de-do-da". "Crossroads Through Crosshairs" has harpsichord or something similar opening. Then a bunch of random avant- noise before you hear some electronic percussion similar to Can. Then the song goes full- blown techno. Later goes into some kind of Latin jazz with good organ. "Killing Of Kings" sounds like a parody of a typical '90s 'alternative' song. At one point the music stops and you hear lighters and matches and guys yelling "fire!" Halfway almost sounds like Neil Young. I like the distortion added to the word "die" in the lyric "rock'n'roll is a thing that needs to DIE!"

"Zulkifer" is more tango-like music, but now mixed with middle-eastern music. "Resurrection Day Soundtrack: Hot Pursuit In The Eagles' Nest" opens with compressed drums at a low volume. Then louder drums play an almost funky beat and synths drone. More synth sounds. Bass comes in. After a drum fill some distorted guitar. Later a sax solo. I love the bass synth sounds in this song. "Crosswinds" is some church organ before "White As They Come" starts. This last song is industrial disco. A steady beat and synth bassline lay the foundation for some subdued guitar soloing. Distorted vocals that go back and forth in the stereo spectrum. The 'chorus' has a disco beat, some distorted guitar sounds and what sounds like female vocals. Later the bass synths do a call and response thing while still keeping the bassline. All kinds of oddball noises coming and going. A repeated guitar line plays till it gets drowned out by noisy sounds. You hear someone say "happy ending" at the end.

A great first album from these guys. In the future, their sound will get more middle-eastern and metal influenced. This will appeal to those who love Bungle in general, and Disco Volante in particular. The most noisy and avant parts here are almost pointless; they don't stand up on repeated listenings. But the actual composed parts are very good generally. Very good sound and performance. A great prog release from the 1990s. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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