CD Review

The Secular - "Hatesex"

By Marcus Pan

Hatesex"Unleash your fury of love and hate, and all that moves us. You'll feel better for it I promise you." From the opening barrage of high pitched guitar strings of track 1 (Hatesex), The Secular promise a barrage of sound and sensibilities. Front woman of the band, one Renee Quick, is a Catholic school girl gone mad - and I'm not making this up. Take a look at the web site for yourself. You'll see why I love skirts. Yummy. Not to take away from the other players here - it's just that I have a mortal weakness for skirts. It's not my fault - it's been embedded…well, I digress.

The other players…I've come to a bit of a cross here. The website shows some of the members listed on the CD jacket for The Secular's debut release, Hatesex, but has either name changes or others that aren't listed anywhere within the CD. So I'm going to have to stick with the CD for the time being, as that is what I am reviewing. On bass guitar is Johnnie Katt. On guitars are Benn Ra (who also does sequencing) and Kriss P. Bakkin. The one-name Larshus handles drums/sequencing. Ah, here we go. According to their press sheet Benn Ra has moved on to band Nation Of Fear and has been replaced by Bishop. All is right.

Hatesex is such a fascinating word, isn't it? I just finished the review of Gene Loves Jezebel's Love Lies Bleeding and on that release is a song called Loving You Is The Best Revenge. Somehow, at least at 4:37 in the morning, the segue seems complete. The music on Hatesex is somewhat eclectic with an industrial rhythm yet a dark-metal arrangement. Renee's vocals are girlish and sweet and adds a kind of innocence to the blaring nature of the musical body. It's an interesting flavor.

SecularThe Manufacture takes track four on this seven-track release. The bass is a highlight here, moving strongly forward and pushes the rest of the instruments with it. Even the drum beats seem to rely on Johnnie's notes. It gives the track a kind of awkward and sluggish feel - which works well with the warbled quality of some of the lyrics during key points of the song. Let's step back a moment to track 1 - the moniker of the debut. Hatesex opens with the high-pitched guitars I mentioned earlier in this review. The drums provided by Larshus are highly mic'ed and come out in a head pounding manner. To hear Renee yell "Sex!" at full volume is riveting. The last track of Hatesex is a remix of the song of the same name given the added moniker of Paid With Love Mix. The head-poundingness is removed and replaced with an electronic back-beat style instead and a techno riff scrapes through the song. They mess with Renee's vocals too, moving it from right to left to center so you feel accosted on all sides. Quite well done over all.

The Secular have a strong debut here. There is room for improvement, of course. I wouldn't be true to my trade if I didn't have some critiques, neh? One is the recording quality. The album has a live-to-tape sound to it. While the raw nature of the sound is a breath of fresh air indeed, some of the mic setups seem to have been turned up too much here or too low there. One example is on Hatesex, where the drums are mic'ed loud enough that they distract from other portions of the arrangement. On Simple Savior the bass seems to either have too loud a hit on notation starts - or maybe it's too much sustain that doesn't fade before the next note is hit? The keyboards are barely noticeable in the background during choruses as well. I imagine, from the sound of this recording, that The Secular are quite riveting live. With past bill partners like Electric Hellfire Club, Christian Death and Gitane, you'd expect that. They have that made-for-stage sound that sometimes takes a lot of studio sessions to perfect in a mix.

Industrial rhythms, heavy drums and bass, blaring guitars and the voice of a girlish bundle of raw power. The music of The Secular is definitely not for the low-decibel listener. This is loud, boorish hate riffs made for pitting to. Or fucking to - hey, whatever floats your boat, maan.

Contact Information:
Phone: (818) 775-1143