The Metal Minute Awarded 2009 Best Personal Blog By Metal Hammer Magazine

Thursday, March 13, 2008

CD Review: Taint - Secrets and Lies

Taint - Secrets and Lies
2008 Candlelight Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.



Between October File, Ramesses and Taint, the streets throughout the UK have to be rumbling in a way they probably haven't quite felt since the dawn of punk and the NWOBHM. Pin the stoner tag to Taint if you must since there's certainly enough low-tuned sludge in the vein of Crowbar and Weedeater to warrant it, but in the case of Taint, there's something about their not-quite-subtle affinity towards a roughneck reinterpretation of Zeppelin, Aerosmith and even some King Crimson prog that gives them their own air of cool.

Taint has officially been around since 1994 and Secrets and Lies is only their second full-length album, but these fuzz destroyers have meticulously worked their way towards creating their own niche of stoner/sludge via EPs that have allowed the Welsh rockers to patiently hedge their craft and elevate to this moment of assuredness that is guaranteed to make Taint the toast of the sludge underground.

Intensity is the name of the game to Secrets and Lies and you're going to have it dashed straight into your ear canals with the grindingly heavy last stanza of "Hex Breaker" and the collapsing speed rhythms of "Barnstorm Zombie Revival." You'll feel the nervous tension right out the gate on the opening bars of "Born Against Nihilist" before the song stamps forward with a massive tempo on the verses while Jimbob and Al West create havoc with itchy guitar and bass lines that keep pressing the core agitation of the track, eventually allowing it to release into a Clutch and COC-like pogo rhythm.

Upon greeting from "The Idealist," Taint plays rat-a-tat on your grey matter, brandishing a furious sonic assault before mangling the cut to bits with scissoring riffs and tempo shifts that never lose their rocksteady feel. On "This Goddamn City," Taint slices a wound into its muse and throws salt into it with some appropriately ugly note sequences set to a largely sluggish doom tempo before exacerbating the song's inner turmoil by jacking things up in the last two-and-a-half minutes.

Taint pushes their own envelopes on "What the Crow Saw" by fusing Jethro Tull-like neo-Renaissance flute scales amidst a classic rock melody in the spirit of Zeppelin and even Traffic if you listen deep to it. The languished drag of the song also leaves you virutally unprepared for the explosive prog finish, making this Taint's own cranked-up "My God."

All said, Secrets and Lies is a must-hear, especially if you're a fan of subwoofed distortion metal. Taint's work here is he-avy to say the least and though they've been on the scene longer than most people realize, it's grand to now have them on the radar amongst the sludge elite.

Rating: ****1/2

18 comments:

JP said...

Hey, good to see this band surfacing on the minute! Totally concur with your review - this was actually out in the UK last year, whence I got it and it made my list of essential 2007 releases. 'Goddamn This City' is a track of epic heaviness, fast and slow bits.

Their debut THE RUIN OF NOVA ROMA is good, too, and maybe a bit more expansive and on the doom trip. Another great Rise Above pick.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I can see why; these dudes are quite brilliant

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