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Secret Chiefs 3


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Secret Chiefs 3 Book M album cover
4.35 | 77 ratings | 4 reviews | 42% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

- Observance Of The Word :
1. Knights Of Damcar (2:39)
2. Hagia Sophia (4:08)
3. Vajra (3:34)
4. Ship Of Fools (Stone Of Exile) (3:35)
- Engagement Of The Sword :
5. Horsemen Of The Invisible (3:36)
6. Combat For The Angel (6:03)
7. Zulfiqar III (5:14)
8. Siege Perilous (5:42)
9. Dolorous Stroke (2:35)
- Ritual Of The Cup :
10. Blaze Of The Grail (3:58)
11. Lapsit Exillis (1:38)
12. Lapis Baitulous (2:23)
13. Safina (9:35)

Total time 54:40

Line-up / Musicians

- Trey Spruance / electric, 12-string & microtonal guitars, bass, electric sitar, baglama, organ, electric piano, keyboards, sampler, programming, electronics, tar drum, dumbek, zither, trumpet
- Eyvind Kang / violin (3,5-7,10,13), cello (7)
- Tim Smolens / bass (6), contrabass (1,4,11), cello (1,11,12)
- Danny Heifetz / drums (3,5,6,9,10,13), dumbek (1,4,11,12), riq (4,11,12), zils (5,11,12)
- William Winant / concert toms (5), frame drum & cymbals & bass drum (8), zils (11), ankle bells (12)

- Bär McKinnon / saxophone (10,13)
- Timb Harris / violin (1,8,11), viola (8)
- Fatima Khanoam / santur (1,4,11)
- Jason Schimmell / cumbus mandolin & acoustic guitar (4)
- Shamou / darbuka & riq (1,4)

Releases information

Artwork: Mari Kono

CD Web Of Mimicry ‎- WoM 006 (2001, US)

Thanks to silentman for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Mimicry 2001
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SECRET CHIEFS 3 Book M ratings distribution

(77 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(42%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

SECRET CHIEFS 3 Book M reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by frippism
5 stars I think that as an Israeli progressive music fan it is my duty to be as close minded and judgmental of Middle Eastern music as possible. The Israeli Middle Eastern music scene is... SO... BAAAAAD, that nothing but only Korean pop succeed to reach it's levels of baditude.

When first listening to Secret Chiefs 3, I was then turned off from the general Middle Eastern flavor here (which is very strong), yet I was really interested in the doing of these a-people, because it was all very different than anything I've heard. And in the end Secret Chiefs 3 really just taught me what many avant and prog bands taught me: genres are tools, not mindsets. Middle Eastern music isn't automatically bad (though you could very easily think that from the kind of stuff "the man" is putting out. So bad... *tear*). With that SC3 are not a Middle Eastern band. They're just awesomeness in a can. They're sick mesh of electronica DJing, heavy metal riffs, Middle Eastern melodies, funky bass lines, surf rock, really weird time signatures, varied instruments, and long flowing hair has won me over entirely (You really think you can survive the HAIR????). They're probably along with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum the best avant-rock (well you really can't call this rock but it will have to do) to come out of the California avant-garde scene.

For those afraid of the word RIO (ahhhhhh!!! The horror) be not afraid! SC3 is not random noise (not saying really that any RIO band is, it is definitely the stereotype that has been tagged to it by many people... bastards). The melodies are ethnic and surprisingly catchy. The electronica beats are really cool. A moment it's a belly dancing party and then it's a rave and then it's a metal show and many times it's all them together. Try drinking that mix... You'll die, don't do it.

The songs are all really great. I don't really want to elongate on them too much, a bit pointless really. I'll just name a few and get on with it (these are songs you probably should check out first if you are interested in SC3): "Horsemen of the Invisible" (so awesome... so awesome), "Ship Of Fools", "Blaze Of The Grail" (funky awesome), "Zuliqar III". But really, and I mean really, all songs here deserve an honorable applause and a general praising hum ("hmmm... I say... oh ha ha how sonically pleasing").

Trey Spruance and co. deserve much respect for the excellent musicianship and really tight groove they've got going. Spruance (of Mr. Bungle fame) is a genius. He also plays a million trillion instruments on this album so yeah... damn. My bassist critique of Tim Smolens is very positive. He's groovy and provides the whole backbone of these songs. The grooves are usually very interesting and melodic. I'm not going to praise all musicians, though all very much deserve it, there's just too much of them. Buuuut, Eyving Kang on violins, adds so much to the music. The violin many time goes through so many effects and things that it really is just awesome.

I mean for a long time I have believed in modern music's ability to be even better than the golden 70s. In the end the decade doesn't really matter, but music like SC3's really goes to show that original music is alive and more than well, and we are probably in a golden age of music ourselves. SC3 just assures me that I have nothing to worry about, there are still people messed up enough to be coming up with this stuff. 4.75.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Whereas the previous albums by Secret Chiefs 3 - the two Grand Constitution and Bylaws albums - had roved all over the musical map, Book M seems to be a much more cohesive piece - possibly due to Mr Bungle's demise (or, at least, long-term hiatus) forcing Trey Spruance to think of the Secret Chiefs as his main project rather than a sideshow. This time around, the band focus on merging the Middle Eastern and ambient electronic dance music aspects of their sound, creating a curious blend of the very traditional and very modern.

Such a mixture of different elements of the band's music is, of course, in keeping with the alchemical themes of the album, though it would take an esotericist who had carefully studied all the books Spruance has read to figure out what he's on about here; the important thing is that this album shows an important maturation in the sound of Secret Chiefs 3 and is the best of their first three releases.

Review by LearsFool
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars "Book M" is just one of the all time greatest avant-prog albums. On it Secret Chiefs 3 serves up a meal that was made by just plain smashing through barriers, mixing genres in ways that were before unheard of. Traditional Middle Eastern, electronica, heavy prog rock, prog metal, and even resemblances to heavy hip hop and dancehall beats, all of these take turns blowing your mind. The music is manic, fast, and complex, putting your friend's tech death garage band to shame. And it is all masterfully constructed and played. The result is an album that never lets up until the band just runs out of ideas, and then knows to pull out their preprepared grand finale. Listening to this record is like putting yourself in the middle of the crock pot the band used to cook up this delicious magnum opus, this soup of genres and styles and inspiration. It's hot, it's spicy, and it is wonderful. Try dancing to it! At the least, do yourself a massive favour and try this homecooked masterpiece. You won't regret it. You may yet even play it on repeat all day.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Book M by Secret Chiefs 3 is an album that deserves to be heard that has, thus far, gone mostly unnoticed on this website (as evidence by the whopping ZERO reviews of this album. Perhaps not everybody's cup of tea, Book M is an absolutely insane mix of genres ranging from surf rock, techno, metal ... (read more)

Report this review (#252682) | Posted by AgentSpork | Wednesday, November 25, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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