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SECRET CHIEFS 3

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Secret Chiefs 3 biography
Founded in San Francisco, California, USA in 1995

SECRET CHIEFS 3 is an Avant-Garde band led by Trey Spruance. Their style is influenced by oriental folklore and electronic music, fused with metal. Trey Spruance was also a member of MR. BUNGLE, and their songs Ars Moriendi and Desert Search for Techno Allah are a good example of the SECRET CHIEFS 3 style. Danny Heifetz also is a permanent member of both SECRET CHIEFS 3 and MR. BUNGLE.

Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com : They are a very unique band, really unpredictable and incorporating many different styles. They are using a variety of traditional oriental instruments, juxtaposed with really modern electronic DJing. Add to that the metal influences, and the really innovative songwriting.

See also: HERE

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Second Grand Constitution and BylawsSecond Grand Constitution and Bylaws
Mimicry 2000
$11.48
$3.73 (used)
First Grand Constitution and BylawsFirst Grand Constitution and Bylaws
Mimicry 2000
$13.73
$10.85 (used)
Xaphan: The Book of Angels, Vol. 9Xaphan: The Book of Angels, Vol. 9
TZADIK RECORDS 2008
$13.27
$13.16 (used)
PerichoresisPerichoresis
Web of Mimicry 2014
$11.48
$13.41 (used)
Book of Souls: Folio aBook of Souls: Folio a
Web of Mimicry 2013
$9.99
$7.69 (used)
Book of HorizonsBook of Horizons
Mimicry 2004
$12.44
$6.66 (used)
Book MBook M
Mimicry 2001
$11.51
$7.59 (used)
Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi UominiLe Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini
Mimicry 2009
$23.50 (used)
Path of Most ResistancePath of Most Resistance
Mimicry 2007
$9.49
$6.50 (used)
Satellite Supersonic, Vol. 1Satellite Supersonic, Vol. 1
Mimicry 2010
$11.48
$9.99 (used)
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SECRET CHIEFS 3 discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SECRET CHIEFS 3 top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 26 ratings
First Grand Constitution And Bylaws
1996
3.98 | 28 ratings
Second Grand Constitution And Bylaws - Hurqalya
1998
4.38 | 84 ratings
Book M
2001
4.09 | 83 ratings
Book Of Horizons
2004
4.43 | 27 ratings
Xaphan - Book Of Angels, Vol. 9
2008
4.20 | 22 ratings
Traditionalists: Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini
2009
4.36 | 24 ratings
Book Of Souls - Folio A
2013
4.07 | 9 ratings
Ishraqiyun: Perichoresis
2014

SECRET CHIEFS 3 Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.27 | 11 ratings
Eyes of Flesh, Eyes of Flame
1998

SECRET CHIEFS 3 Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

5.00 | 4 ratings
Live at the Great American Music Hall
2007

SECRET CHIEFS 3 Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 2 ratings
Path of Most Resistance
2007
3.08 | 5 ratings
Satellite Supersonic Vol.1
2010

SECRET CHIEFS 3 Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.05 | 3 ratings
The Theatrum of Suprasensory Universes Vol. 1
1998

SECRET CHIEFS 3 Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Traditionalists: Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini by SECRET CHIEFS 3 album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.20 | 22 ratings

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Traditionalists: Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini
Secret Chiefs 3 RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This album by Secret Chiefs 3 is actually done completely by one of the satellite bands that records under the SC3 name. The satellite band featured here is Traditionalists, who is the incarnation of the band that does songs in the style of movie soundtracks. That is what this album is, a soundtrack from a movie that doesn't exist. The name of the non-movie is 'Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimit Uomini', which translated from Italian to English is 'The Severed Right Hands of the Last Men'. The music is based on and inspired by existing Italian horror/suspense films called 'giallo horror films'. Soundtrack composers like Ennio Morricone, Bruno Nicolai and others are sources of inspiration for this album.

The album is made up of 30 tracks, all of them with durations less than 3 minutes (except for two tracks that manage to barely crack the 3 minute mark, and the entire album run time is just under an hour. Some tracks are quite dramatic, spooky and cinematic as you would expect, and others, like 'Sophie's Theme' are very European sounding with mostly orchestral elements. There are wordless vocal elements scattered throughout, mostly elements of horror.

Trey Spruance, the one constant person in the SC3 collaborations, plays most of the instruments, but there are several other guests that pitch in playing additional keyboards, string instruments, percussion and so on. At times, the music is quite accessible as far as soundtrack music goes, but at other times it can get quite chaotic and intense in an avant-garde manner, sometimes shifting suddenly from one style to another, but remaining mostly orchestral throughout. From time to time, you get a more modern feeling, like on 'Agenda 21' that features an upbeat and jazzy bass line supporting dissonant chimes, swirling flutes and strange guitar power chords. There is also a sense of humor that shows up every once in a while in the music itself as is the case with 'Zombievision 2012' and also with the intentionally terrible rhythm loop in 'RFID Slaverider'.

The music is ever changing, but there are a few running themes that pop up in differing variations throughout the album, that helps to keep a line of coherent themes. For a soundtrack that mixes modern and orchestral elements, is does have a surprising amount of variety to keep things interesting. I find the entire thing to be quite interesting and never really lose my interest because it is full of nice surprises as far as musical elements go. The fact that there are so many short tracks really does not take away anything from the album as the tracks mostly flow into each other and become small parts of a greater whole. While going through the album, it helps to keep track of the individual section as the go by track by track, because it helps you keep your place in the entire sequence and it helps to break up the entire album into each individual thought and idea. I find it all even more enjoyable by doing this.

As with every other SC3 album, I find this one quite enjoyable even if it is a non-soundtrack. You can almost even see the scenes that are depicted in the music, and that is quite a feat to pull that off so believably. I can't help but consider this a masterpiece, like most of the SC3 music. The music is meticulously composed and played, every note is important. The amazing thing is how it all flows together so well, because you run into some really strange shifts through the music, but it all seems like everything fits into the whole picture so well. Once again, I find it difficult to give this album anything other than 5 stars, it is quite the masterpiece in my opinion.

 Xaphan - Book Of Angels, Vol. 9 by SECRET CHIEFS 3 album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.43 | 27 ratings

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Xaphan - Book Of Angels, Vol. 9
Secret Chiefs 3 RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Secret Chiefs 3 (SC3) is the brainchild of 3 members of the now defunct "Mr. Bungle", and many people have made the mistake of calling SC3 "Mr. Bungle without Mike Patton" but this is not an accurate comparison. SC3 has been a conglomeration of musicians of whom Troy Spruance has been a constant member of. Typically, the band line-up depends on the style of music Spruance wants to create, and because of these differing line-ups, there are 7 satellite bands that have played under the name SC3. On some of their releases, the band names are acknowledged. On this album, "Xaphan ? The Book of Angels, Vol. 9", this is not the case, everything is strictly credited to SC3. This album features music which is inspired by one style of music, which is Klezmer based and the music is composed by none other than John Zorn.

So, I am sure many questions come up from this first paragraph like what is Klezmer music, who is John Zorn, and why is this album designated as Volume 9? Without going into too much detail, because some of you may already know the answers to these questions, and there is plenty of information on the internet about these subjects, I will try to briefly explain.

Klezmer music is a musical tradition of a certain sect of Jewish people from Eastern Europe. That is the style of music this album is based upon. The style uses several different modes of their own which are similar to the musical scales that most of us are familiar with, but they call them different names. It also uses interesting vocal sounds as part of the lyrical content including laughing, sobbing and so on.

John Zorn, who is also featured on the Prog-Archives site, has quite an extensive discography consisting of his compositions and performances and has worked with many different artists. One of his projects is called the Masada project, which is quite a huge project, and "The Book of Angels" is a set of around 300 compositions that he wrote at the end of 2004. All of these compositions are available on 19 volumes, each volume is performed and recorded by a single artist/band, and in this case, Volume 9, which is called "Xaphan" is performed by Secret Chiefs 3. Xaphan is one of the fallen angels that conspired with Satan and set heaven on fire. As in all of the volumes, all of the track titles are named after characters in Jewish and Christian mythology.

Ok, so I hope that clears everything up about the background of this album and what it is all about. And no, it is not part of the "Book of Souls" trilogy that SC3 has partially released. I know it's so hard to keep track of all of these projects, but if you want to really be confused, try to keep track of the immense number of projects that John Zorn has done. Ok now on with the review of this album.

"Sheburiel" is the name of the chief of the angels that guard the 3rd hall of the 7 celestial halls. Those who are familiar with SC3's music will know that you can expect traditional and modern instruments are going to be involved, including electronica and orchestra. All stops are open on this track with several flavors and textures creating a masterpiece of musical sound. Overall, the track is a bit abrasive in places, as there is a bit of a metallic feel, but be aware that things do change quickly in SC3s music. There is even a slight lounge jazz feel that permeates the track through the percussion, with the European and mid-Eastern influences that are evident in a lot of their music, even with bits of surf rock thrown in.

"Akramachamarei" is a master of the heavenly firmaments. This track is a bit snappier with a mix of orchestral flair, surf guitar and some traditional string instrument among other things. The setting is kind of a rhumba sound which has a tango part thrown in just to keep you guessing. Later some heavy guitars give some intensity to the middle section.

"Shoel" is another of the angel guardians in the 7 celestial halls. This one starts out with some hand drums and other percussion. A fast bass line and a processed muted guitar sound like a futuristic Bond movie which quickly moves to a sultry European sound with an accordion, or at least with that effect. But overall, this one is driven with organ and bass and later a funky guitar.

"Barakiel" has dominian over lightening and can be invoked when you need luck. This is a slower track starting out with an acoustic string instrument, an electronic vocal effect, atmospheric sustained guitar, and an auto-harp. Later, it switches to a lush orchestral sound. Very nice.

"Bezriel" is a name I couldn't find any information on. The track is more avant jazz based with an improvised keyboard solo and solos with other traditional instruments with heavy guitars used to mark the interludes between solos.

"Kemuel" is the leader of the 1200 angels of destruction. According to legene, he was also destroyed by Moses. This one has a great cinematic sound for a while, but then goes into a wild violin solo, which could be processed because there gets to be some really awesome, but alien sounds. Later it goes into a real quirky micro-guitar solo, which sounds like the foundation of the track is playing a different meter than the solo.

"Labbiel" was originally named Raphael and was blessed because he complied with God's command in the creation of man. This track has some wordless vocal work done by "Anonymous 13" a female vocalist who works with SC3 on several of their albums. There is a fast paced guitar solo in there too before more intense guitars come in.

"Asron" is one of the guard to the gates of the east wind. This track has a distinct mid-Eastern vibe to it with traditional instruments carrying the melody, which later gets taken over by an acoustic guitar giving it a more Spanish flavor.

"Balberith" is a fallen angel who according to a priest possessed a nun in 1612. There is a persistent cowbell on this one at first, but when things continue to intensify, it gets swallowed up in the percussion. This one leans more towards jazz improvisation and grows more intense towards the end.

"Omael" is an angel that multiplies species, makes races and influences chemists. This track is fast paces and has some quirky traditional instruments taking over the melody.

"Hamaya" is a ministering angel. This track is quite beautiful starting with a vocal choir and moving on to a lush orchestra which is later led by a very interesting sounding traditional instrument and some vocal effects. Very cinematic and dramatic as it moves on and later turns into a drone as it ends. Another beautiful track.

This album is one of SC3's more consistent albums since the inspiration comes from a single source instead of so many, yet it is still innovative, stretching the boundaries of it's source and always changing and morphing within a single track. Something does have to be said of the consistency in this album however, which strengthens the focus and actually turns the album into a more satisfying experience. Just like all of the other SC3 albums I have heard, the music is unbelievable and difficult to describe, so its best to listen for yourself, but this music is so dynamic and versatile, that even if it centers on one overall style for inspiration, it still seems so varied, but more focused as a whole. It is hard to believe, but this results in another 5 star album which improves even on the last 5 star album. It does that through being innovative and not relying on the greatness of the last album to simply make a copy. Simply breathtaking in many places, surprisingly accessible yet challenging at the same time.

 Book Of Souls - Folio A by SECRET CHIEFS 3 album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.36 | 24 ratings

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Book Of Souls - Folio A
Secret Chiefs 3 RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the second part of Secret Chief 3's trilogy 'Book of Truth' (the first being 'Book of Horizons' from 2004), 'Book of Souls: Folio A' was released in 2013, and is the 7th album released by the band. Just like 'Book of Horizons', all of the tracks on this release are credited to the satellite bands that record under SE3's name, of which there are 7. Only 5 of those bands are represented on this album, the ones that are missing are 'Holy Vehm' and 'NT Fan'. The latter was also missing on 'Horizons', but this time 'Holy Vehm' was left off, which is fine because they were the ones that sounded out of place the most on 'Horizons' with their death metal sound, and the growling vocals are not that appealing to me, even though that album was a masterpiece. The heavy guitars are spread out much more evenly on this release because of that. Trey Spruance (formerly from Mr. Bungle) still heads over all of the satellite bands.

So, the question is, is this album still as great as 'Book M' and 'Book of Horizons'? Well, that is what we are going to find out. 'Balance of the 19' (Ishraqiyan) has a quirky melody inspired from Persian and Afghan influence with both traditional and modern instrumentation. Percussion is tricky and guitars become more intense in the middle section while the traditional instruments flutter around them. A simple melody becomes complex with the odd timing.

'Nova IHVH' is credited to Secret Chief 3 (as are, from this point on, every other track on the album, which act as intermediary, short tracks), and sounds like a radio station jingle that morphs into heavy metal and back in twenty seconds. Quite funny actually. 'Potestas Clavium' (The Electromagnetic Azoth) has a marching band rhythm with brass instruments, and accordion, chimes and heavy, distorted, electric guitar power chords. This track probably encompasses the sound of all of the satellite bands in one track. It's quite a cavalcade of musical styles with little breaks of experimentalism. 'Post-Identity Hour' this one sounds like a jingle from a news program and then changes several times, almost like scanning through radio stations for the first half, and then settling into an orchestral, romantic style.

'Personae: Halloween' (UR) is a cover of the music from John Carpenter's movie 'Halloween'. Starting out with a catchy rhythm playing under the spooky movie themes, this one rolls along quite smoothly. The track utilizes orchestra, chimes, synth and heavy guitars. Very cool. 'Utopian Weekly Update' is another radio jingle style conglomeration of wackiness.

'Scorched Earth Saturnalia' (FORMS) is the centerpiece of the album and the longest track at over 7 minutes. It starts with a nice piano solo which is joined by some nice expansive sounds from other instruments. This goes into a fast paced section brought in with a cello and lots of piano pounding with many other style changes that still keep with the darker feel of this track. The track is avant-prog, no doubt, yet it is still surprisingly accessible, if you don't mind the ever changing themes (some you'll recognize) and styles that are all melded together by a mysterious and ominous feel. There is another quick 6 second interlude track called 'Full Spectrum Anamnesis' made up of various ascending electronic tones, which is followed by 'Drive' (UR). Again, we get an orchestral sound, but the tones are shifted around throughout. This makes for some interesting effects along with the micro-tuned guitars. This track is a perfect example of avant garde techniques being used on a track that comes across as quite accessible and cinematic which creates a nice and unique atmosphere. Then there is another quicky called 'Barzakh ID Markers' which sounds like a bunch of radio announcement music all jumbled together into 44 seconds.

'La Chanson de Jacky' (Traditionalists) features Mike Patton on vocals in both English and French. The song has a dramatic fast lounge singer jazz sound with a European sound, sort of like an over the top version of 'Conquistador'. The music is mostly orchestral. 'Toy Soldier's Frontline Report' is an avant garde march tune. 'Tistrya' (Ishranqiyan) again mixes electronics, traditional and modern instruments to create another interesting middle-Eastern dance with some very tricky rhythms and percussion patterns with some spots that get quite intense and others that are soft.

As I mentioned, this album is a bit more 'evened out' compared to 'Book of Horizons' in that it spreads out the heavier parts among the tracks instead of having them condensed into a few tracks. Other than that, and the fact that Mike Patton actually participates on one track, this album stays pretty much on par with the first part of the trilogy. As of yet, there hasn't been a third part added, but seeing as it took almost 10 years for the 2nd part, it might still be a while. Overall, this album contains the same things you loved about 'Horizons' but things do not stand out as much, probably because it is similar. Where 'Horizons' got a 5 star rating which included ingenuity, this one gets 4 because, while it is still awesome, it is similar. This album should still not be ignored however. And if you hear it first, then to you it will be a 5 star album.

 Book Of Horizons by SECRET CHIEFS 3 album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 83 ratings

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Book Of Horizons
Secret Chiefs 3 RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars "Book of Horizons" is Secret Chiefs 3's fourth album. After the amazing "Book M", it was brought to light that SC3 actually consisted of 7 satellite bands. This fact came to light on this album as each of these tracks have the name of the satellite band responsible for the track. Out of the 7, there is only one that isn't represented in this album, and that is "NT Fan". The other 6 represented on this album are "Forms", "Ishraqiyun", "Traditionalists", "Holy Vehm", "The Electromagnetic Azoth", and "UR".

The SC3 has been known to experiment and mix various musical genres, expanding them into new sounds and styles. They use traditional instruments that are unique to the culture and traditional rock instruments and electronica. This results in some very interesting and enjoyable music that is unique, yet familiar. Trey Spruance, who is the leader of this collection of bands, was previously with "Mr. Bungle", and he created SC3 with the help of 2 other members from that band. The common mistake people make when trying to define this band is that it is "Mr. Bungle" without Mike Patton, but that is not a correct definition of this music. SC3 is a completely different band from Mr. Bungle.

The album starts with "The End Times" (Forms). This is a peaceful and pensive track utilizing guitars, electric piano and some strange warbly instrument that almost sounds like a bowed saw. Percussion starts later with an interesting array of traditional instruments that I can't identify, because there are so many at use, but it has a slightly European vibe to it and it is quite beautiful and unique. There is a use of modals mixed in there that is amazing. "The 4 (The Great Ishraqi Sun)" (Ishraqiyun) has a more mid-Eastern dance vibe utilizing strings along with rabab, baglama, esraj, some micro-tuned guitars and other instruments I've never heard of along with guitars and drums. "The Indistructable Drop" (Traditionalists) is experimental and eerie using gongs, harp and organ. It's also quite short yet nice.

"Exterminating Angel" (Holy Vehm) starts out with some wild drums and a drone. After this, some crazy screaming vocals come in and then it continues with a wall of noise. Growling vocals start later, as the intensity level of this one is right off the chart on this death metal rant. "The Owl in Daylight" (Forms) uses glockenspiel, chimes, bells to create a track that starts out dark and quickly lightens up to an almost lounge jazz track with some crazy quick texture changes throughout. This track is inspired by the unfinished Phillip K. Dick novel of the same name which was being written when he passed away. With all the bells and chimes mixed later with heavy metal guitar, it sounds like a Christmas song put through the mixer from Hell. "The Exile" (Traditionalists) is almost the complete opposite from the last two track as it is a lush and beautiful melody created by strings, acoustic guitar, and so on. It sounds very cinematic, with a very western flavor at times, yet becoming very expansive.

"On the Wings of the Haoma" (The Electromagnetic Azoth) starts with some traditional percussion and electronics. But then it shifts and changes so quickly it is hard to pin it all down. The overall feel is Persian, but it is a perfect example of mixing traditional instruments with electronica and avant-prog. The middle part of it is quite experimental and ambient but by the end, it turns into surf rock. "Book T: Exodus" (UR) is based off of the movie theme from "Exodus" by Ernest Gold, but rescored for orchestra and surf band. Yep, it is, and it's amazing! ! ! ! "Hypostasis of the Archons" (Holy Vehm) is more of the death metal styling, but with a craziness that is completely unpredictable. It is scary with screams, growing and raspy vocals featuring 3 vocalists. There are some wild guitars as you would expect from this music, and constantly changing meters. Totally chaotic. "The Electrotheonic Grail Dove" (Traditionalists) is a very short track that sound like someone dropped a bowlful of musical notes on the floor.

"The 3 (Afghan Song)" (Ishraqiyan) is based on a traditional song. It uses traditional instruments again like the sitar, dohl, and so on along with synthesizers, bass and drums. "DJ Revisionist" (The Electromagnetic Azoth) also uses traditional instruments with rock instruments and electronics. Again, you get that Persian sound mixed with various rock styles that run from surf rock to avant garde and somehow it all makes sense. "Anthropomorphosis: Boxlietner" (UR) starts out with droning sounds from strings and percussion but quickly switches to an almost poppy sound with electronic instruments and a sudden influx of loud guitars and orchestral effects. This is another ever changing landscape of amazing-ness that has to be heard to be believed. "Welcome to the Theatron Animatronique" (Forms) starts with electric keys playing a middle Eastern sounding melody with other orchestral effects and textures, chimes, harp and all of that. The simple melody breaks down at parts and things get somewhat complex, but it always returns to variations of the melody played by differing lead instruments and becomes expansive and cinematic and features traditional vocals at the end.

Just like "Book M" , this album is simply amazing, but this time, since it is played by the different formations of the band, there is quite an amazing variety unlike anything I have heard lately. And every one of the tracks are so well done, nothing sounds amateurish as you might expect from a band creating so many differing styles. Where most of Book M was devoted to Persian and Afghan undertones, this album goes everywhere. Amazingly enough, there is not the feeling of disjointedness that you would expect, probably because every track is so well done. This album exceeds even the excellent Book M, which was also a 5 star affair, and you wonder how can this be even better than that? Well, you better start listening to these albums to find out.

 Book M by SECRET CHIEFS 3 album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.38 | 84 ratings

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Book M
Secret Chiefs 3 RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Secret Chiefs 3 started out as a project from "Mr. Bungle" members Trey Spruance, Trevor Dunn, and Danny Heifetz. However, this doesn't mean that the music sounds like Mr. Bungle without Mike Patton. This music is a completely different animal, even though it is still very different from most everything else. Since the beginning, several other artists have been in or worked with the band, and now it has become more of a collaboration between artists with Spruance being the one constant member. The band has also explored so many different styles and genres, often within the same album. So, pretty much every recording by the band has been a surprise. It has also been revealed that the band is actually comprised of 7 other satellite bands, some of whom have recorded albums on their own.

This particular album utilizes the combination of traditional western instruments along with Turkish, Persian, and Arabic instruments and other stringed instruments and percussion instruments. Plus you get these sounds provided in traditional and non-traditional settings resulting in some very interesting combinations that not only include ethnic flavors, but completely brand new otherworldly styles. All of this is also instrumental.

"Book M" which is SC3's third full length studio album is mostly centered on the above mentioned styles of music, but there are some interesting combinations made here. The album is broken up into 3 sections, the first called "Observance of the World" taking up 3 tracks. After the mostly traditional sounding "Knights of Damcar", we get a sudden shift to a percussion heavy "Hagia Sophia" utilizing electronic beats and traditional percussion with a heavy string-like melody peppered with heavy guitars. "Vajra" takes a traditional melody and surrounds it with a tricky progressive drum pattern and increase the intensity with guitar power chords and many other amazing textures. What an awesome sound! "Ship of Fools (Stone of Exile)" utilizes a 3 / 4 pattern and slips in extra beats here and there to keep you disoriented while a quirky melody plays.

Section 2 is "Engagement of the Sword" taking up the next 5 tracks. "Horsemen of the Invisible" has a traditional dance melody playing with traditional instruments, heavy percussion, heavy guitars and electronics all mixed together in a foot- stomping, swirling track. Without missing a beat, they take organic instruments playing the melody and suddenly switch it to an electronic bass. "Combat for the Angel" has an amazing violin lead throughout the track and uses a hard, plodding drum pattern while the violin performs musical calescentics until the pattern breaks up and things get experimental. This flows into "Zulfigar III" which has a deeper and darker feel with rumbling guitars and electronic percussion taking the lead while strings play around. "Siege Perilous" starts out as a more gypsy-baroque sounding track in a mid-eastern gigue mixing some more classical and traditional styles with a start/stop melody. Some interesting experimentation goes on between the instrumental verses. "Dolorous Stroke" takes the complete opposite approach here with a fast paced drumming pattern and a very heavy surf-punk feel with a giant wall of shifting noise drones.

Section 3 takes up the last 4 tracks and is called "Ritual of the Cup". In "Blaze of the Grail (Main Theme)" a sitar style instrument plays an arpeggio chord while a funky guitar effect plays and suddenly changes to a high school marching band and then to a jazz orchestra and then throw in a crazy violin and add some tubas and you get the idea. Well actually you don't, that's why you have to hear this. "Lapsit Exillis" is a short track mixing traditional and rock instruments. "Lapis Baitulous" utilizes more electronic disco sounds with the mid-Eastern feel and various sundry items including the kitchen sink. This album ends with "Safina". Starting with expansive synth chords, an unexpected funky electronic bass line comes along and percussion drops in at 1 minute. Brass carries the melody as the funky beat continues as a jazz/funk fusion plays. The music fades just after 5 minutes. After 7 and a half minutes, a very loud, distorted and cinematic ending wraps it all up.

This album is an amazing melting pot of awesomeness. This is the music I love to hear, where styles are mixed to create new things, and even though you have an underlying style going on here, so many boundaries are stretched and genres are combined to make everything unpredictable, but undeniably catchy and listenable. How could you not listen to this and just love it? Even those not necessarily attracted to the middle Eastern vibe here will love this because it is so versatile. I highly suggest listening to this just so you can really experience it, because the things I say to try to describe these tracks don't come close to what you really hear. This is essential because it is so groundbreaking and unique.

 The Theatrum of Suprasensory Universes Vol. 1 by SECRET CHIEFS 3 album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1998
3.05 | 3 ratings

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The Theatrum of Suprasensory Universes Vol. 1
Secret Chiefs 3 RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars Tucked in between their albums "Second Grand Constitution and Bylaws: Hurqalya" and "Book M," the SECRET CHIEFS 3 released this bizarre out of character short EP that not only contained no surf rock, no Middle Eastern music and no heavy metal but actually contains no music at all. Well, not music in the melodic sense anyways. This short little EP titled THE THEATRUM OF SUPRASENSORY UNIVERSES VOL. 1 is an extreme mix of mystique concrète, sound collage and electronic free flow with occasional meaningless vocal utterances. There is a brief excursion into heavy guitar riffing.

Despite having 11 tracks listed, the whole thing only lasts a mere 11 minutes and 25 seconds long but there are a lot of ideas stuffed into this short and weird romp through a strange sonic universe detached from the SECRET CHIEFS 3 regularly scheduled program. As with their regular albums, this too is an ambitious assortment of ideas that parade down the timeline in a dreamlike state and if i had to compare it to anything, the closest i could come up with is Mike Patton's "Adult Themes For Voice." Not because of the actual sounds employed but rather the utter uniqueness and strange collage of weirdness.

Although i've been a huge SECRET CHIEFS 3 fan forever, i have never checked out this tiny little curiosity until recently. While totally existing outside of their "normal" parameters, there's nothing this band does that isn't from the heart. While this sort of stuff isn't my main staple for a sonic experience, i have to say that it's quite well done and will appeal to the noise and experimental lovers. Think the bleak soundscapes of Nurse With Wound only more decked out in hyperdrive. While an hour of this may have been too long, 11 minutes seems way too short. Worth hearing if you like it as avant-garde as it gets.

3.5 rounded down

 Book Of Souls - Folio A by SECRET CHIEFS 3 album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.36 | 24 ratings

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Book Of Souls - Folio A
Secret Chiefs 3 RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Secret Chiefs 3's albums are generally rather consistent, Trey Spruance keeping things fresh by shifting quickly between styles (each of the component "satellite bands" representing a different genre). As such, Book of Souls is more or less more of the same, with some warped muzak for imaginary TV stations and corporations woven through the proceedings.

The big news here, mind, is that Mike Patton joins on vocals on one song, marking the first time Mike and Trey have reunited in the studio since the end of Mr Bungle. This is for La Chanson de Jacky, a piece originally by the great Jacques Brel and reinterpreted in an English-language version by Scott Walker. Both Walker and Brel's versions of the song are blended together here and fed through a Secret Chiefs 3 filter - specifically, through the style of the satellite band Traditionalists, who play Goblin-esque material suitable for Italian B-movie soundtracks.

Pairing Patton with the Traditionalists is an inspired move - not only does he have the vocal chops to do Brel and Walker justice, but also his own musical interests and that of the Traditionalists clearly converge, seeing how the Fantomas project has revealed Patton's own fondness for movie soundtracks. Will we see more Patton with the Secret Chiefs? Probably not much - were he to do a full album with Trey they might as well bite the bullet and make it a Mr Bungle reunion, after all - but hopefully we'll see more guest spots from him in the future, particularly where the Traditionalists are concerned.

 Ishraqiyun: Perichoresis by SECRET CHIEFS 3 album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.07 | 9 ratings

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Ishraqiyun: Perichoresis
Secret Chiefs 3 RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars As has been revealed since 2004's Book of Horizons, Secret Chiefs 3 is actually a collective of several different bands, all playing in different styles, with Trey Spruance as the common link between them all. After the Traditionalists (Goblin-esque Italian horror prog) got to do their own solo album, it was only a matter of time before other acts in the collective got to do their own pieces as well, and that's what this is.

Ishraqiyun is therefore a band which on the one hand is likely new to you, but which if you've listened to Secret Chiefs 3's earlier work you've probably encountered: they're the subunit who does that really intricate Middle Eastern folk music that's been sent through the electronic wringer a few times. The big question, of course, is whether an entire album of such material can stand up - and by and larch, Perichoresis does, offering a technically complex ride through a unique sonic landscape.

 Book Of Horizons by SECRET CHIEFS 3 album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.09 | 83 ratings

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Book Of Horizons
Secret Chiefs 3 RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

3 stars Hypnotic, creative, enjoyable: 7/10

When it comes to Avant-garde, I only know three names so far: FRANK ZAPPA, OOIOO and SECRET CHIEFS 3.

FRANK needs no introduction, OOIOO has eloquently mastered the idea of "experimentation" with the great percussion-focused TAIGA madness, and SECRET CHIEFS 3 explores three frontiers on the album BOOK OF HORIZONS: Indian, electronic and technical (AND FURIOUS!) death metal. Be warned, though: this band isn't the type that brings up insanity and calls "music". There is mild experimentation, but nothing too much of a "paradigm shifter".

The electronic part is the most "avant-garde" of the three genres. It features uncommon sonorities and structures, usually, you're unsure whether the song has begun or ended and if what you're listening to is a particular section of that track; suddenly the music stops and weird noises come in, and overall is the least interesting piece. I find it to be the weakest link.

The Indian part is great and the first track with this sonority - The Four (Great Ishraqi Sun) - is perhaps the best of the album. SECRET CHIEFS does a good job blending Western music/metal/rock elements with the oriental instrumentations and structures. The percussion is superb and counterintuitive, which really spices the music.

The last piece - death metal - is the part they masterfully nailed. Simply put, they're natural born for it. The musicianship is amazing, the drums are spectacular and the aura of each song is just as horribly heavy as any extreme metal musician would seek to achieve. Extermination Angel the fourth track and first of the genre is my favorite by SECRET CHIEFS 3, and frankly, of death metal as a whole. Hypostasis of the Archons is even fiercer and pretty much denser than a neutron star. The vocalist literally snores. Like a damn pig. It's indisputably the heaviest thing I've had the pleasure of being brutalized with.

In the end, SECRET CHIEFS 3 does a good job in bringing a good record. The most memorable songs are The Four, Extermination Angel, Hypostasis of the Archons, Anthropomorphosis: Boxleitner (an eerie track that features ALL of the three 'frontiers', albeit the death metal parts are much milder and blended with electronic) and Book T: Exodus (in the veins of epic Western movies). I'd definitively recommend for avant-garde fans, or just people looking for some spicy mixtures of electronic, oriental-themed and extreme metal music.

 Book Of Souls - Folio A by SECRET CHIEFS 3 album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.36 | 24 ratings

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Book Of Souls - Folio A
Secret Chiefs 3 RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars You have to be a dedicated fan to follow the works of Trey Spruance and his ever eclectic SECRET CHIEFS 3 project which in 2007 official revealed itself to be the amalgamation of seven satellite bands (The Electromagnetic Azoth, UR, Ishraqiyun, Traditionalists, Holy Vehm, FORMS, and NT Fan) but i am one of those hardcore fans so i relish the release of every album no matter which one of these satellite bands appears in the title along with some often the case unpronounceable title. For this pronounceable one BOOK OF SOULS: FOLIO A (Yes, this did come out before the 2015 Iron Maiden album of the same title), the seventh official album by SC3 we actually get more of a compilation album that features two tracks from all of these satellite bands except Holy Vehm and NT Fan. Some of these tracks are remade, some had been played live before release and some are totally new, however it is the perfect flow from beginning to end that makes this one of my favorite SC3 releases.

What this compilation business basically means is an even more eclectic album than usual for Mr Spruance and company for despite every track clearly sounding like SC3 in full regalia, the emphasis on different aspects of Spruance's musical palette shines through making a rather nice flow of musical ideas from beginning to end which include all the usual SC3 suspects such as surf rock, Persian and Arab folk, metal, soundtrack and electronic music as well as some other ideas ranging from tango to the usual Rock In Opposition and Avant Prog and classical angular rhythms always on display. There are 11 musicians on board with this one hosting instruments that include guitar, bass, drums, bassoon, oboe, english horn, flute, cello, contrabass, various ethnic percussion, harp, violin, viola and a surprise cameo vocal appearance on "La Chanson de Jacky" by Spruance's long time partner in crime Mike Patton from Mr. Bungle and Faith No More.

BOOK OF SOULS: FOLIO A is actually a collection of tracks that took over a decade to create and really delves into the extreme musical possibilities of all the types of music involved in its depths. For example, the Arabic and Persian influences are something that should have emerged from those respective cultures but SC3 seems to have found a knack for reinventing traditional musics from around the world by mixing and melding with the best production techniques showcasing every little detail into a glorious organic and powerful musical experience. There is literally no one who sounds like this band and BOOK OF SOULS: FOLIO A is a very nice de luxe and diverse offering of all the different ways Spruance has evolved this band into a musical octopus leaving no influential rock unturned.

All i can say is that this album is brilliant. It reflects the painstaking process and perfectionist tendencies of Trey Spruance over a decade time span leaving no t's uncrossed and no i's undotted. Everything about this album is perfect for my ears. The production is top-notch state of the art incredible and the music resides in some mysterious parallel universe that feels somewhat familiar but equally as alien as if it has been beamed across the cosmos from Alpha Centauri. While the musical scales that incorporate the various ethnic and Western influences are clearly recognizable, SC3 continues their abilities to weave this new musical tapestry into an ever more complex quiltage of sonic possibilities and delivers a successful outcome every time. This is the album where i started visualizing SC3's music as a giant musical sand worm wriggling about like the one on the movie "Dune" that makes its way around through the sandy deserts and with each move retains enough familiar vibrations to always be identifiable as the source but with each new wriggling displays a new variation in as many ways as chemical elements can combine to create more complex molecules. Music is a sort of sonic chemistry and Spruance really has mastered this alchemy of sound.

This album is almost exclusively instrumental as are most SC3 albums and while this Dune worm wriggles from one avant-garde angular rhythm to another throughout the album there does lurk one major surprise when suddenly the listener is slapped in the face by the most unlikely type of track they could encounter. When the listener gets to the eleventh track the sudden burst of a Jacques Brel cover "La Chanson de Jacky" with Mike Patton making a cameo is a true shock as if Barry Manilow came out and played "Copacabana" at a death metal concert, yet somehow, in some way, it all works but it is true that anyone who enjoys SC3 albums are already of an eclectic nature so after the initial WTF wears off it's all just par for the course of this experimental band that never fails to surprise. This is one of my absolute favorite albums of the so-called "satellite band" years and i can listen to this one over and over and over again in total admiration of how it all just flows from one track to the next. It should be mentioned that odd numbered tracks are the long fully developed tracks while the even ones are short little fluffers if you will for the following numbers. With music this complex, yet catchy and ever so captivating every time i listen to it always having my mind blown, i can give this glimpse of heaven no less than 5 stars.

Thanks to MikeEnRegalia for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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