Sound — 7
There comes a fine line with indicating whether a band is post-hardcore or metalcore. Whether you're Underoath, Alesana, or A Skylit Drive, there are just some bands who fall in between those subgenres. SECRETS also happens to be one of those bands, but with this new album, they are definitely falling more towards post-hardcore, and I'll explain why. This being their third full-length album ("Everything That Got Us Here") on Rise Records, and also going through three unclean vocalists, I'm sure what these guys went through wasn't so easy, but in the end, they picked up someone who sounds quite similar to Aaron Melzer, their last unclean vocalist. Introducing Wade Walters to the band, he is also a bass player. This past year the band had touring bassists to fill in, but what Wade makes a great fill in in regards to that. That being said, his contribution towards screams on this album are very consistent, however, he is not present all too much. The past two efforts, both Xander, and Aaron were present a fairly good amount. But with their last album, "Fragile Futures," it was pretty clear that this band was steering off in a fairly new direction. I can't complain though, as I love Richard Rogers voice (lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist).
With the "Intro" track, the majority of the fanbase are left with confused expressions. It comes across as a bit cheesy, like Hawk Nelson or Never Shout Never would do. Thankfully, it's only thirty three seconds, as I would've gone crazy if it had gone any longer. Not that it's a bad song idea per say, but it really does not seem to fit as an intro. After this, it goes into "Rise Up," which to me is great sonically, up until the chorus, which really lacks emotion, even with Richard being a great vocalist. The song idea has been done way too many times before, so that's a big part of the problem for me, and the song itself seems to just be there. It doesn't quite go anywhere. Wade Walters does a great job during the few moments he gets on this, but it doesn't do enough for me to play this song repeatedly. This band has never really written any solid guitar licks either so that's probably another reason why it just left me bored. The bass, and drumming on this song is solid though. The next track, "Left Behind" (first song leaked) left me with fairly high hopes for this album. I know people still complained that it sounds generic, but it's not like this band just does open note chugs throughout all of their songs.
Since they're post-hardcore, and their lead vocalist does cleans and is used way more often, there is no way they'd use those chugs when he is singing as it doesn't fit in well. To me, I think the way the guitar parts are utilized come off fine. It's nothing groundbreaking, and I don't want to use the "Oh, they're a post-hardcore band, so it doesn't matter" type of excuse because they're are some pretty damn technical PH bands out there. I guess what I'm trying to say is that these guys go for a different crowd, the not so technical one, kind of like what From First To Last, Hawthorne Heights or even The Used does. I will say that what SECRETS does differently is that they actually chug during certain times, where none of those bands really do. They also mainly play in drop A on this album, and I don't think there's any other PH band that plays that low. But what makes this great is that the bass is actually audible.
But to get back on topic with the song, it serves its purpose, and does well. Wade sounds great and Richard does an amazing job keeping the song catchy. Other solid cuts on this album vary from "Half Alive," where Richard comes off as sounding slightly like Spencer Sotelo of Periphery during the insanely catchy chorus. This song would go so well for a soundtrack to a Superhero movie. Since there aren't really many heavy moments on this album, you might as well take advantage, especially on track #6, "The Man That Never Was." I'm not a drummer so I wouldn't know what it's called, but it opens up hitting one of the cymbals then goes into some pretty cool guitar riffs (finally, cool guitar riffs), then Wade unleashes the anger that he was waiting to let go of.
"I wanna scream at the top of my lungs
Pissed off at myself for what I've done
I've been down this path
I've felt the wrath of the sins from my past
It burns so deep
What I've done to you I'll never escape
It burns so deep
You're everything I'll never be."
The drumming on this song is also pretty good.
"For What It's Worth" showcases a strong "If I Leave" by A Day To Remember type of sound with the way the guitar parts sound and how the song is structured with just clean vocals. "Turn the Page" is an anthem that would sound amazing live with the gang vocals, and whatnot. "In Loving Memory" goes back to some strong Wade moments, this time regarding his low growls. Joe English, their drummer, also did a solid job on this song. The album ends with an acoustic piece with just Richard singing. "The One With No One" does a solid job taking the soft side of the spectrum that SECRETS already did so well, but turn it into a love song.
Lyrics — 6
"Rise Up" easily wins the award for most cliched lyrics of the year. "You gotta rise up. You gotta fight it. You can't just follow. Greatness can't arise through typical lives. It's never easy to get what you want. Step up your drive. Throw doubt aside when you fight for what you love. Your dreams are shot and there's a chance to give up. Don't give up. Show your guts. Show them what you're made of."
"Left Behind" does a much better job, and I actually think these lyrics are the some of the best ones off the entire album:
"Oh, this costs enough to make your dreams go broke
They're selling failures to me, purchase pending
I can't afford them, but I can't stop spending."
"Learn to Love" also seems to have that cheesiness factor to it with the lyric "You'll earn the love you want when you learn to love yourself." But it's not terrible as a whole. These were my favorite lines in it:
"You're dodging each reflection
Mirrors haunt your soul, shake your bones
I think you're missing something darling leave that hole it's not your home
Of all the troubles that you worry over leave those thoughts alone."
"I'll Be Fine" also has fairly good lyrics:
"I feel empty and alone
Hoping this bottle takes me home
I feel hopeless and afraid
While I drown my life away."
The best lyrics on this album have to go to the ones in "In Loving Memory":
"Lying in this half empty bed between barely alive and halfway to dead
Beat down broken and dragged through the mud
With one wing dipped in gold and the other in blood."
Overall, this section doesn't have too much to really offer, but it isn't bad. I was just expecting a bit more.
Overall Impression — 8
It really is a shame that I can't remember any particular riffs, aside from one song on this entire album. But hey, these guys are more chorus driven than anything now, which isn't a bad thing. I really enjoy both vocalists additions to this album, but the album as a whole isn't anything to "wow" at. I do, however, enjoy this album much more than the other two. I did not enjoy "The Ascent" at all for some reason, but "FF" was somewhat promising, but still lacked during some moments. I can imagine this band gaining some new fans with the more radio friendly sound, but still getting on tours with bands such as A Day To Remember, Neck Deep, Ice Nine Kills, Like Moths To Flames, Of Mice & Men, and the like. Hopefully this band continues to grow.