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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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Buy SECRET CHIEFS 3 Music


Book of HorizonsBook of Horizons
Mimicry 2004
$5.00 (used)
Book of Souls: Folio aBook of Souls: Folio a
Web of Mimicry 2013
$14.99
$7.74 (used)
Book Beri'ah Vol 10-malkhutBook Beri'ah Vol 10-malkhut
Tzadik 2019
$15.96
$15.94 (used)
Path of Most ResistancePath of Most Resistance
Mimicry 2007
$15.98
$6.98 (used)
Xaphan: The Book of Angels Volume 9Xaphan: The Book of Angels Volume 9
Tzadik 2008
$13.57
$13.54 (used)
PerichoresisPerichoresis
Web of Mimicry 2014
$11.48
$8.93 (used)
Second Grand Constitution and BylawsSecond Grand Constitution and Bylaws
Mimicry 2000
$11.48
$4.97 (used)
Book MBook M
Mimicry 2001
$9.49
$4.17 (used)
Satellite Supersonic, Vol. 1Satellite Supersonic, Vol. 1
Mimicry 2010
$9.96 (used)
First Grand Constitution and BylawsFirst Grand Constitution and Bylaws
Mimicry 2000
$13.41
$9.92 (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)

3.89 | 29 ratings
First Grand Constitution And Bylaws
1996
4.28 | 31 ratings
Second Grand Constitution And Bylaws - Hurqalya
1998
4.42 | 88 ratings
Book M
2001
4.09 | 85 ratings
Book Of Horizons
2004
4.42 | 28 ratings
Xaphan - Book Of Angels, Vol. 9
2008
4.16 | 24 ratings
Traditionalists: Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini
2009
4.34 | 25 ratings
Book Of Souls - Folio A
2013
4.07 | 10 ratings
Ishraqiyun: Perichoresis
2014

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

4.25 | 12 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
0.00 | 0 ratings
Zulfikar II / Zulfikar III
1998
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ishraqiyun / The Electromagnetic Azoth - Balance of the 19 / UBIK
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Electromagnetic Azoth / UR - The Left Hand of Nothingness
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
UR - Kulturvultur / Drive
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
UR - Circumambulation / Labyrinth of Light
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Secret Chiefs 3 / Quintron - Purple Pickle Eater
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ishraqiyun / Forms - Saptarshi / Radar (The Day the Earth Stood Still)
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
Secret Chiefs 3 / Traditionalists - La Chanson de Jacky / The Western Exile
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
Forms - Danse Macabre & Apocryphon of Jupiter
2014
5.00 | 1 ratings
UR / Forms Split
2014
0.00 | 0 ratings
UR - Telstar / The New Daylight
2016
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (w/Gregg Turkington)
2017
5.00 | 1 ratings
Forms - Danse Macabre Superdeluxe
2017
0.00 | 0 ratings
Traditionalists / Ishraqiyun - The System of Antichrist / Bereshith
2017
5.00 | 1 ratings
UR - Personnae: Halloween EP
2018

SECRET CHIEFS 3 Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Book M by SECRET CHIEFS 3 album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.42 | 88 ratings

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Book M
Secret Chiefs 3 RIO/Avant-Prog

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

5 stars When the debut album by SECRET CHIEFS 3 came to light in 1996, the project which was an extension of creative mastermind Trey Spruance's fertile imagination seemed like a one-off project where the cross-pollinating effects of Western and Middle Eastern musical styles could duke it out under the banner of mutilated surf rock and drum and bass techno. The album pretty much successfully covered as much ground as possible within the somewhat less overarching reach of the Mr. Bungle projects. Making it clear that tracks like "Techno Allah" on the "Disco Volante" album were spawned in the deep recesses of Spruance's psyche, the album pretty much nurtured every possible variation of that track and then some. However, the project was not quite finished as a second "Grand Constitution" in the form of "Hurqalya" was forged in the same molten cauldron of surf rock, breakcore, Arab folk music, progressive rock and psychedelia which abandoned the free-for-all head scratching moments of the debut and steered the project into a somewhat more focused stylistic approach however Bungle was still going strong and nobody could have guessed that SC3 would generate more life.

The new millenium arrived and Mr. Bungle released its final album "California" and then promptly called it quits which left Spruance with the freedom to indulge his wildest fantasies in his many side projects. While Faxed Head had reached its logical conclusion rather quickly the SECRET CHIEFS 3 project however conjured up a wealth of new stylistic cross-pollinating elements to be explored and in the process of searching through the misty brumes of the musical sounds of the Silk Road, Spruance continued the project and declared it his main gig as the ashes of Bungle were finally laid to rest. BOOK M emerged three years after "Hurqalya" and took all the disparate elements of that album and executed them into even more demanding instrumental gymnastics with unthinkably precise and wickedly cool production techniques. The fusion techniques of the previous albums had been flawlessly woven together like the highest quality Persian rug and the results were the next chapter of the mystical thematic world that simulates a long lost culture secretly ruled by the invisible mystics vibrating in a dimension just outside of our perceivable frequencies. These sounds culminated into one of the SC3's most magical albums that continued the Ennio Morricone film score feel in Spaghetti Middle Eastern form teased out with subtler hints of surf rock, chamber pop, avant-prog and modern Western classical majesty.

Thematically BOOK M can be thought of as the soundtrack to three volumes of mystical texts: "Observance Of The World," "Engagement Of The Sword" and "Ritual Of The Cup." While the Middle Eastern sounds that range from traditional Arabic folk and Persian scales to even touches of Indonesian, Indian, Celtic folk and gypsy swing, the tracks meander through various layers of tones and timbres with off-kilter time signatures, drum and bass electronic outbursts, surf rock undercurrents and bouts of renegade violin solos (courtesy of Eyvind King), heavy metal guitar heft, funk grooviness, psytrance electronica hyperactivity and appearances by fellow ex-Bunglers Danny Heifetz on drums and various ethnic percussive instruments and Bär McKinnon on saxophone. The entire run of the album's near 55 minute run is like a well executed journey through the mystical lands that evoke sonic representations of the magical beings encountered through the various ritualistic practices that evoke the timelessness of the folk aspects of the music. It's almost as if the timelines have merged and the relaxed acoustic ancient world has united with the electronic frenzied quickening of the modern 21st century where it is impossible to distinguish the origins of any particular element of the music.

Less anarchic than the previous two albums, BOOK M seamlessly exudes a true sense of multi-genre fusion rarely achieved in such a perfected manner by recycling past themes and advancing them into new epic arenas. The album truly comes off as the soundtrack to a film that has never existed yet evokes the mystic avenues of the mind where the crossroads are populated by the entire lexicon of the musical histories of planet Earth. Spruance proved on BOOK M that not only did SECRET CHIEFS 3 still have life in the project but that it could be elevated to extremely advanced levels carried out through the rigorousness of perfecting the production techniques and the meandering march of modulating magnificence. The brilliance of this album results from the fact that every detail is perfectly carried out but by how easy it is to sit for the entirety of this album time after time and never once find the slightest flaw or trace of boredom. SECRET CHIEFS 3 is truly a niche sort of band that is music for nerds who have heard it all before and crave something totally inventive and completely existing outside the box of the established orthodoxies of the music industry. Not only did Spruance demonstrate that he was one of the masterminds of the entire Bungle experience but made it clear once and for all that out of the ensemble of genii that made up Bungle that he was one of the top dogs in the creative madness that took the world by storm and still resonates high on the freak-o-meter even by today's standards. Another masterpiece by SC3 here!

 Second Grand Constitution And Bylaws - Hurqalya by SECRET CHIEFS 3 album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.28 | 31 ratings

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Second Grand Constitution And Bylaws - Hurqalya
Secret Chiefs 3 RIO/Avant-Prog

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

5 stars The debut album by SECRET CHIEFS 3 had been an all out battle over a stylistic approach with borrowings from previous Mr Bungle tracks, sneak peeks of future Bungle and a dash of Trey Spruance's wild ass freakery from his side project Faxed Head not to mention the plethora of influences that included but not limited to Arab traditional music, Bollywood, surf rock, electronica, avant- prog, psychedelia, jazz and well a big whopping mix of pure avant-garde. With all these genres duking it out possibly with no thought into a future of this side project, not only would SC3 become Spruance's main gig despite one final Mr Bungle album in the making, but it became a passion and on this sophomore album SECOND GRAND CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS: HURQALYA, the project coalesced into a more stable mix of different musical elements that would become the template for which future SC3 albums would revolve around.

With Mr Bungle on hold due to Mike Patton's commitments to Faith No More (with Trey Spruance contributing guitar work on 1995's "King for a Day... Fool for a Lifetime"), Spruance sallied forth on the next phase of his true love which took the elements previously displayed on Mr Bungle's track "Techno Allah" from the "Disco Volante" album and turned the idea into a veritable band project. And while the debut album was basically four members of Mr Bungle exploring Bunglish ideas into more extreme territories, on SECOND GRAND CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS: HURQALYA Trevor Dunn didn't return and was replaced by William Winant who covered the massive sprawl of instruments that included kanjira, timpani, snare drum, cymbals, ankle bells, hammer dulcimer. Likewise Trey Spruance increased his duties to include guitar, mandolin, bass, organ, synth, keyboards, trumpet, baglama, zither, programming, tapes, chorus vocals and Danny Heifetz expanded his percussion to include drums, tambourine, shaker, finger cymbals, dumbec.

With all these new instruments HURQALYA has an exponentially richer sound spectrum than "Bylaws 1" and that's not all! Fellow Bungler Bär McKinnon appears as a flautist, Paul Dal Porto plays sitar, Eyvind Kang joins in on violin and erhu and there is a hauntingly beautiful vocal appearance by Laura Allen on the Arab pop meets Bollywood track "Mera Pyar Shalimar." The album is decidedly more Middle Eastern focused with instantly catchy Arab melodies but strangely juxtaposed with Indian instrumentation, surf rock, breakcore, psychedelia, drum and bass and even a touch of trumpet mariachi style all wrapped into an Ennio Morricone styled sort of spaghetti Western type of cinematic approach. SC3's second album in affect sounds like one of the first attempts to make a spaghetti Middle Eastern experience and in the process creates one of the most unique albums i've ever experienced even different from the band's other endeavors.

The album is begins and ends in an epic fashion. "The Rose Garden Of Mystery" provides a soft acoustic guitar arpeggiated melody that builds instrumental counterpoints while setting the mood for occult practices on the Silk Road. In between the tracks are centered around surf rock with electronic effects (the "Book T" tracks) while tracks like "Renunciation," "Jabalqa," "Mera Pyar Shalimar" and "Jabarsa" are clearly rooted in Arabic musical styles that take the melodic approaches of traditional Arab music, add some bellydance type of grooves and fortify it with strange sound effects, breakcore and progressive time signature complexities. The result is a compelling tapestry of pan-continental styles of music that had hitherto never found themselves so intricately woven together in such perfect splendor.

While the first nine tracks are fairly accessible, the final two are the most difficult but easily skipped for those who don't wish to take the meditative journey into the sandstorm laced noisy journey that takes place on "Beyond The Mountain Qaf" which eschews all musical traditions and unleashes the most experimental noise rock and Krautrock stylistic approaches completely with wind sounds, rain and other field recordings. The track morphs into the closing "Hurqala" which brings back an Arabic melodic and even climatic epic score. Like Lawrence of Arabia meets Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The track continues with variations on the main theme but then drops out leaving several minutes of silence before making a reprise with a new variation as if a final desert theme finds closure to the mystic journey that was just experienced.

SECOND GRAND CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS: HURQALYA was not only my first experience with the SECRET CHIEFS 3 project but even to this day after untold hundreds of listens to this exquisite album still remains one of my all time favorite albums and in my book sits equally well with the following "Book M" and "Book Of Horizons." These three albums find SC3 in perfect form with all the elements carefully crafted. The most amazing thing about this album is not only the beautifully crafted composiitons that stew the slices of disparate genres into a world gumbo but the amazing production job that creates an even more dynamic experience with no detail left to chance. The timbres, tones, dynamics and cadences all correspond to a more intricate storyline that is unaccessible but mysteriously perceived. I cannot think of too many albums that are so brilliantly designed and this will most likely rank high on my list for a very long time. Perhaps my only complain is the several minutes of wind and silence that end the album before a brief little reprise of music but it's easy enough to push stop at any time so in no way affects my overall score. PERFECT! MASTERPIECE!

 First Grand Constitution And Bylaws by SECRET CHIEFS 3 album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.89 | 29 ratings

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First Grand Constitution And Bylaws
Secret Chiefs 3 RIO/Avant-Prog

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

4 stars The world of Mr Bungle took the 90s by storm with a group of eclectic musicians reinventing experimental rock and metal with unthinkable fresh new paradigm shifts but in between albums they were busy with many other side projects although most of those would take place after the band broke up in 2001. Mike Patton was of course with Faith No More and Danny Heifetz moonlighted with Link Wray and Dieselhed. Trey Spruance on the other hand was the true wack job of the group with the over-the-top eccentricities of the avant-metal group Faxed Head as well as taking over the guitar spot in Faith No More for 1995's "King For A Day.. Fool For A Lifetime." After Mr Bungle's second album "Disco Volante" which came out the same year, there were no guarantees that the Bunglers would release another album and the members all went their own ways to find new projects to work on.

Before SECRET CHIEFS 3 would become Spruance's main gig, it was simply just another side project outside of the wacky world of Mr Bungle. The name SECRET CHIEFS was chosen because it referred to eclectic references to an occult spiritual hierarchy that was secretly operating the cosmos behind the scenes. Out of this moniker emerged an entire parallel universe with each album providing the soundtrack and eventually splintering off into satellite bands but on this debut album FIRST GRAND CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS, Truance joined forces with three other Bunglers, bassist Trevor Dunn, saxist Clinton Bär McKinnon and percussionist Danny Heifetz to create the most unhinged and eclectic of the SECRET CHIEFS 3 albums. The album cover art represents the Cycle of the Nychtermeron and can be seen as the gateway into the greater world of the occult displayed through symbology and titular references.

While with the second album SC3 would become Spruance's main project, at this stage he was just letting off steam and as a result this album is a wild eclectic mix of past Bungle, future Bungle, Spruance's other side project Faxed Head as well as the diverse sounds of ethnic music (predominantly Middle Eastern), surf rock and other electronica that would become the main mix of styles to come. Despite the project consisting of four Bunglers, the album still evokes an epic sound with a large number of instruments and musical styles. While SECRET CHIEFS 3 has become known mostly as an instrumental act, on FIRST GRAND CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS there are many parts with vocals only shared by Spruance and Dunn and then quite silly at that. Through the album's 20 tracks many of the SC3 sounds that would dominate future albums debut here as well as a number of weirdnesses that would never repeat themselves.

The short intro track "Ana'I Haqq" opens with the same sort of funeral organ sounds as heard on the "Disco Volante" track "Ma Meesha Mow Skwoz" which immediately brings the Bungle vibe into the forefront but instead of Mike Patton stepping in and taming the wild crew into vocal dominated bouts of stability, the album just drifts off into various often nebulous musical world. "Adept Chamber Of The Magian Tavern" prognosticates the electro-Middle Eastern fusion sounds that would define SC3 while "Inn Of 3 Doors" dishes out some expected cartoon music sounds before jumping onto the Silk Road with Indian and exotic Central Asian musical sounds. "Breeze Of Dawn, Death's Angel" dishes out some death metal bombast while "Assassin's Blade" takes the opposite approach with military drumming along with more musical mirages of the Middle East.

Throughout the album are a million catchy melodies but also are bouts of pure craziness adopted from Spruance's wild and uncategorizable band Faxed Head. Such antics are heard on "Bare-Faced Bazi" and "Killing Of Kings" which juxtapose somewhat easy listening with outbursts of insane vocal shoutings, complete musical breakdowns and sputtering insane electronic freakouts. Compared to more focused (which is saying a lot considering how eclectic all SC3 releases have been), FIRST GRAND CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS is all over the place with no clear winner in which stylistic approach dominates the album which makes this debut the more bizarre album within the greater extended Bungle universe. Highly melodic passages and utter chaotic noise often exist side by side however when melodies do pop up, more often than not are derived from Arab sources. Add heavy progressive rock elements, jazzy touches and psychedelic organ runs and album #1 by SC3 never delivers a dull moment. Not my favorite SC3 album but the wildest ride for sure and one that hits that avant-garde spot.

 Traditionalists: Le Mani Destre Recise Degli Ultimi Uomini by SECRET CHIEFS 3 album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.16 | 24 ratings

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

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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
4.42 | 28 ratings

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

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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
4.34 | 25 ratings

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

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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 | 85 ratings

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Book Of Horizons
Secret Chiefs 3 RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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
4.42 | 88 ratings

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Book M
Secret Chiefs 3 RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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
4.34 | 25 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.

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

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