Italy’s Secret Rule has been seriously busy in the eight years since their formation in 2014 releasing an impressive seven albums in six years. Being prolific in the studio with high output can spark the “quantity versus quality” debate but so far Secret Rule has produced a classy discography. Eighth album The Resilient certainly continues that trend.
The band describes themselves as a modern rock/metal band ‘with a sound that is a mix of powerful rhythms and catchy melodies with a little touch of electronic and symphonic inserts’. It is not that any previous album does not warrant the description but it is certainly amplified on The Resilient, it is an album that rocks hard when it wants to and at other times has a sublime smoothness to it with songs taking some twists and turns to make both interesting and engaging listen which warrants repeated plays as the detail reveals itself – and this band does have an ear for the detail which is further heightened by an excellent production.
One More is a spirited opener, the child choir leads into a chunk of guitar and a slice of keyboards before Angela Di Vincenzo stamps her vocal authority onto the track which picks up the pace with some sweet double bass drum and an electrifying solo from Andy Menario. Time To Reset has a jagged riff which deftly drops in keys at points and it is the heaviness interspersed with melody, the tone changes and another ripping solo. Drummer Sebastiano Dolzani and bassist Andrea Arcangeli are at the fore on I Wanna Cry and to hear those bass strings is magnificent. It is a track that by the end the listener is left with wondering how they got there, go back and check it again. The pacing is an upward curve, Di Vincenzo’s impassioned vocals punctuating the music. Once again, it is that detail that is dropped into the song, the elements are interspersed to create soundscapes within the songs. Unlovable has a genteel edge, angelic vocals and it is that mix of heavy and melodic, the chorus sweeping in and that bass duelling with Vincenzo on the bridge before taking a really dark turn with the spoken word piece. Obsession is probably the most commercial song and another where it layers the detail; The Illusion is a head nodder, it is downbeat and with a chunky and all enveloping riff which feels oppressive and tight, Vincenzo hits some high notes complimented by gruff vocals but the keyboard parts add plenty of atmosphere. The odd song out is closer The Hope which is an acoustic ballad, just over a minute long, it does end the album on a gentle note which does not feel a loss considering what comes before it and does show another side to the band.
At nine songs, the album does not outstay its welcome but does not feel short either and has more than enough going on. The musicians are of course the star of the show but The Resilient is a very song driven record and this album is clearly a labour of love. The attention to detail and how the songs are constructed, absolutely nothing goes to waste and there is no excess to be trimmed. Secret Rule has a balance where they remain heavy but the melody is so well maintained and interspersed that the songs get stuck into the cranium. It can be something of a Faustian deal to be too commercial but the band has the balance just right, progressing, improving but with no loss in the identity.
The Resilient is one of those albums that requires repeated plays but it has an addictive quality to it as those details reveal themselves and the songs take hold. It is a compliment to the compositions and the dynamic of the record that there is no need to sit in a darkened room with a decent pair of headphones – although the experience is certainly recommended.
Secret Rule may just be one of the best kept secrets out there but if there is any justice in the world then The Resilient should raise their profile considerably – and on the back of this album it will be well deserved.