The Secret: a best-selling self-help DVD about the power of positive thinking. The Secret: a brutal Italian metalcore band with very few positive thoughts to share. The Law of Attraction clearly ain’t working for these four badasses from Trieste (even the name of their hometown sounds sad), who reportedly endured attempted suicides, jail time, nervous breakdowns, and drug addictions on the way to recording their second album, Disintoxication. Their pain is our pleasure. In just over half an hour of artful savagery, the Secret transfuses new blood into veins we thought were tapped.
Jugulars best hide when “Inferno” and “Death to Pigs” come steamrolling through. Scabrous guitars spout up in epileptic fits, plow through raging hardcore breaks and woozy ambience, and slam into ridiculous breakdowns that are over before we have a chance to accuse the Secret of mosphit pandering. Much of Disintoxication could be material that Converge or Knut left off their last albums (the intro to “Poisoned Blood Is Never Enough” cops Botch’s “Transitions from Persona to Object,” too), but that’s no criticism. The Secret gets the sound and taps the essence, a remarkable control over music that’s chaotic at its core.
And so while Michael Bertoldini’s discordant ninth chords and Marco Coslovich’s caustic screams push Disintoxication toward the pure violent noise, there’s a focused sweep to even its most volatile moments. Drummer Christian Musich is both engine and disciplinarian, locking in the frantic riffs of "Intoxication" and “Kill the Dead” with grindcore blasts and hairpin changes; producer and guest skinsman Magnus Lindberg (Cult of Luna) is just as commanding, sending thunderbolts to crash slowly through the oppressive fog that surrounds “Umea.” Lindberg’s phenomenal recording molds guitars into live electrical currents, kick drums into palpitating heartbeats, bass into lean muscle. Disintoxication feels alive.