Secret Cutter is a doom or sludge, or doomsludge trio from Bethlehem, PA. To be honest, I do not really care what kind of bucket or genre you want to attach to music or this band in particular, what I do know is that this is another self released title that came out of left field and hit me like an errant foul golf ball from three fairways over. Not since the UK band Bovine and Italian band Magister Templi have I had an unexpected release like this and of this caliber.
Secret Cutter play on the low end of the spectrum, with the proper amount of fuzz thrown in to keep our ribs on continual vibrate. One of the most interesting facts about this release is that the song lengths are short, punk and grind style of short. Typically musicians that dabble on the low end and mainline the fuzz, like to keep things going for a bit, hell, Sleep wrote a 50 plus minute single song. It is rare to find low end masters keeping things short. This is the first thing to tackle, does the limited track time allow the song to build and keep its natural momentum and resonance. Let’s take the opening track ‘Mirror Mirror’, there is no opening slow intro, this track just jumped right in on all cylinders, it builds fast and maintains pace for the duration. Taking the shortest track ‘Midtro’ at little more than a minute, does take a few seconds to take off, but this slow (and here slow is relative given the track length) build does not detract, soon we are at full altitude for the flight. Neither track loses a step due to length.
The remaining tracks fit together to yield a sludgy ensemble with enough kick to send even a casual listener through the next wall. We talked ‘Midtro’ which gives way to ‘End of Sylvan’, a bit longer but just as filthy fitting of note as its predecessor. Vocals are delivered in a bleak and shreak way that few releases this year can rival. Having no bass in this release, it brings me back to listening to the latest offering from Uzala, and like their west coast colleagues, Secret Cutter, manage to capture a heavy tone with no bass. They just dont miss a step. ‘Headache Ball’ and ‘Craving the Silence’ are two highlight tracks that capture the essence of the band for me. No nonsense crushing music, vocals that are delivered with raw animal power, with a mix and master that compliment the music. This is not over produced or underproduced. This is spot on produced, the right amount of all that is necesasry to give us another stellar release this year.
You may not have heard of Bethlem, PA or Secret Cutter, but I urge to you seek out the latter. This is another example of what a trio can do, their self-titled release is testimony to their skill and dedication to their craft. Listen to Secret Cutter, if there is an underground sludge metal movement surely these three are at the forefront of it. Great music, great release, thanks Secret Cutter.