Rating:
10
Secret Chiefs 3 - Book Of Horizons
2004


01. The End Times (Forms)
02. The 4 (Great Ishraqi Sun) (Ishraqiyun)
03. The Indestructible Drop (Traditionalists)
04. Exterminating Angel (Holy Vehm)
05. The Owl In Daylight (The Forms)
06. The Exile (Traditionalists)
07. On The Wings Of The Haoma (The Electromagnetic Azoth)
08. Book T: Exodus (Ur)
09. Hypostasis Of The Archons (Holy Vehm)
10. The Electrotheonic Grail Dove (Traditionalists)
11. The 3 (Afghan Song) (Ishraqiyun)
12. DJ Revisionist (The Electromagnetic Azoth)
13. Anthropomorphosis: Boxleitner (Ur)
14. Welcome To The Theatron Animatronique (Forms)


The gigantic orchestra includes:
-Trey Spruance / rabab, saz, bass, sitar guitar, clavinet, synth, add'l daf, electric and acoustic piano, organ, vocals, antur, electric guitar, banjo, tack piano, keyboards, soundscapes, cheng, shakers, dumbeks, microtonal guitar, extra percussion, tambourines, foley sounds and electoacoustic treatments
- Shahzad Ismaily / percussion (dhol, mridangam, ghatam, zil, etc)
- Eyving Kang / viola
- Rich Doucette / esraj, saranji
- Danny Heifetz / drums
- Kevin Kmetz / shamaisen
- Timb Harris / violin, viola
- Fatima / santur
- Tim Smolens - bass
- William Winant / Chinese and Tibatan gongs, percussion (marimba, glockenspiel, timpani, tube bells, cymbals, bass & snare drums, shakers, tablas, gongs, timpani, etc)
- Jennifer Cass / harp
- Jesse Greere / vocals
- Ches Smith / drums
- Ursula Knudson / bowed saw
- Jason Schimmel / acoutsic guitar
- Unhuman / vocals
- John Merriman / drums
- Jesse Quattro / vocals
- Kessica Kinney / vocals
- The Enemy / guitars, bass, samples


Ladies and Gentlemen, let me present to you the most breathtaking, ingenious, ground-breaking, monumental and ambitious achievement in the field of alternative music of the year 2004: the Secret Chiefs 3 album Book Of Horizons!

For those of you not in the know, SC3 is basically Mr. Bungle without Mike Patton. It seems like all of those who thought that Patton was the real creative force behind Bungle were completely wrong since not only is Book Of Horizons better than anything Fantomas ever released, it is also superior to anything that Mr. Bungle released! The greatness of this band is difficult to describe. They are completely unpredictable: their previous album, Book M was experimental electronica and the two before that were noise rock (among other things). Well, Book Of Horizons is their best and most varied offering yet.

As you may have noticed, I have added a band name to each track on this album. This is because the concept behind Book Of Horizons is that it is recorded by six different imaginary bands (all of which are in reality made up of the musicians of SC3). Here is roughly the kind of music that each one of these bands plays:

Forms: atmospheric, imaginary horror film themes, doomy funeral marches
Ishraqiyun: hybrids of various forms of oriental music with rock and dance music
Traditionalists: jazzy, conceptual film inspired scores
Holy Vehm: extremely chaotic and brutal death metal/grindcore
The Electromagnetic Azoth: experimental electronic music
Ur: symphonic surf rock

The above descriptions aren't always accurate since each one of these bands is in fact perfect and innovative at what they do. This allows for the band to approach pretty much every conceivable musical style, aesthetic and emotion possible. The Holy Vehm tracks will destroy even the hardcore Death Metal fanatics (trust me, it really is that extreme), while The Traditionalists' Morricone-inspired "The Exile" could be one of the most hauntingly beautiful things you will ever hear. The Forms' pieces will take you to a different, slightly scary world, while listening to Ur will make you think that you are on a relaxing beach. The listener will be surprised and challenged all the time while listening to this record.

All of this is delivered not only with the perfect musicianship displayed by Trey Spruance, Trevor Dunn and Danny Heifetz but also with a wonderfully clear and rich production. Interestingly, the numerous symphonic and atmospheric elements of SC3's music are all the effect of an analogue overdub marathon (similar to how Mr. Bungle's California was produced). This mixing method produces a very warm and organic sound and this album definitely benefits from it.

Since Book Of Horizons is such a complex and ambitious album, I could easily write a long essay about it, were I to try to describe every track in detail. For this reason, I will instead urge you to discover this band by yourself. Its well worth it. Not every band out there has their own, extremely intriguing and interesting philosophy (which you can read about on their website) and the ability to play virtually every kind of music perfectly. If there is any album that truly deserves a 10/10 rating, this is it.


 



Written on 11.05.2005 by
jupitreas
With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. Privately not actually an asshole, he lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he runs his small graphic and web design business.
More reviews by jupitreas ››



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ylside - 13.05.2007 at 21:10  
I can't stop listening to both Ishraqiyun tracks after you made me discover this album something like 6/7 month ago, man... this is a unique piece of music, unbelievable. Of course the rest of the album is pure genius also, that goes without saying.


10/10. Just because it transcends all genre boudaries. Definitly, a pure masterpiece.

Wow, I commented exactly 733 days after the review was written...
Fat & Sassy! - 12.01.2010 at 18:35  
Discovered these guys after seeing them open for Les Claypool. Let's just say it was fucking magical. This album fucking OWNS, and so does the rest of their discography.
!J.O.O.E.! - 05.07.2010 at 23:06  
Listening to this again for the first time in a while. It's still one of the most humbling musical experiences I've known. Bewildering is probably the best word to describe this record.
Introspekrieg - 08.09.2010 at 00:56  
Wow... finally got around to picking this up, I am stunned. The first Holy Vehm track really caught me off guard!
MétalNoir - 16.10.2010 at 01:38  
I'm not sure if this can be called metal, except when Holy Vehm kicks in, but it's great music anyway! I love the oriental elements!
JD - 22.05.2011 at 13:00  
I really couldn't get into this band, but there is some good songs like "Book T" "The 4" and "The 3".

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