Best of 2016 Playlist

December 15, 2015

Featured Post - SECRETS

This month's featured band released their 3rd album on Dec 11. And the title is very appropriate. SECRETS haven't had an easy road, and "Everything That Got Us Here" couldn't be a better testament to their abilities. They've lost members, had their fair share of road trouble, and are signed to Velocity/Rise Records, which by some standards is a headache all its own. To buy their album on iTunes click this (link). 

If you told the founding members of SECRETS how successful they'd be in less than 5 years, they probably wouldn't have believed you. You have to give them credit, they've been through hell. Formed in 2010, the band came to be after tragedy struck the founding members' former band, A City Serene. ACS members dispersed after the band was caught in a bus crash, which left all members injured, and one in a coma. 

But they didn't let that stop them. Former ACS members, Xander Bourgeois, Marc Koch, Joe English, and Michael Sherman, came back and added Richard Rogers as their rhythm guitarist and clean vocalist. And then, SECRETS was born! Originally planned as an EP, the band worked with Tom Denney on what would become their debut album, "The Ascent". SECRETS caught the eye of Rise Records imprint Velocity Records, were signed soon after, and released their debut album in 2012. 

"The Ascent" is very much a debut album. There are bright spots, and cliche spots. It's also a lot different from their current sound. Under Xander Bourgeois' leadership, the band aimed for a much heavier sound, more melodic hardcore than their current post hardcore style. Bourgeois' vocals geared to metalcore, and the contrast between his deep growls and Rogers' clean vocals is jarring (but in a good way).

When the band opted for a lighter sound, Bourgeois and Koch decided to leave and form a new band, The Haven. SECRETS added Aaron Melzer to their roster, the former vocalist for Author and Finisher. Even more of a surprise was the band's announcement of a new album, less than a year after their debut. It was recorded and released in quick succession, some of the recording being done while the band was on tour. 

The dynamic between Rogers and Melzer eclipsed the previous pairing. Melzer, and current vocalist Wade Walters, has a much gruffer, almost gravely voice. It suits the band's sound, which focuses on the contrast between their hardcore verses and poppy choruses. The band's live performances have become much more energetic, and fun since their beginnings. Melzer did a great job as frontman, holding audience attention and maintaining the "hype". 

So far Wade Walters has done an admirable job filling Aaron Melzer's shoes. It's too soon to say which vocalist is better, if one is better, but we're happy the band chose Walters. Previously Walters was a member of The Will, The Way. The lack of unclean vocals on the band's most recent album is criminal. Hopefully they'll make better use of Walters in the future, since he has a great voice. Live performances of songs like "Artist vs Who?" and "Live Together, Die Alone" show just how much talent Walters has. He manages to stay true to Melzer's original delivery, but without it sounding like a cover. 

To read our full review of "Everything That Got Us Here" click the provided link. In a quick summary, it's not as good as we had hoped it would be, but it's still a good listen. This is the band's most mainstream album, which has pros and cons. Con: the band often falls for pop cliches and sounds like Rise label-mate Issues. Pro: Every song is an earworm, and the new influences keep the album fresh, far from a repeat of past work. 

Bottom line, this is one band that deserves your attention. If not for their amazing story, and ethic, then for their sound. For new listeners, we would recommend listening to "Left Behind", "Learn to Love", "Dance of the Dead", "Fragile Figures", "Infinite Escape" and "Somewhere in Hiding".