Secret Rule – The Resilient
Secret Rule is an Italian rock/metal band formed in 2014. There are bits of symphonic and melodic metal, modern metal, and a few shades of nu-metal here and there. The influences are varied, and the music reflects their love of a broad range of differing styles. They use both male and female vocals to create different feels and textures within the songs, giving them a better range and reach than many other bands. Add to this an angst at the current state of the world, and you have a recipe for deliciously angry metal!
- Angela Di Vincenzo – Vocals
- Andy Menario – Guitars/Keyboards/BVG
- Sebastiano Dolzani – Drums
- Andrea Arcangeli – Bass
The Resilient is Secret Rule’s eighth full-length album in eight years. They released one a mere two months before the world shut down in 2019 and three during the touring lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. Now, they are back with another bit of Hellfire to unleash on the world. The Resilient is issued on 7HARD Records and released on June 17, 2022.
- One More
- Time To Reset
- I Wanna Cry
- The Illusion
- The Showdown
- A Little Piece Of Joy
- The Hope
The album starts with an anthem to the angry. “One More” is that song about how those in power are teaching us to use their own violence against them to take back the lives they stole. The rhythm has an excellent galloping sound, and the guitar riff chugs along beside the rhythm, providing a killer pairing. The vocals are higher pitched in many sections and have a lot of warble/vibrato in them, indicating frustration with the system. The song is heavy, at times edging towards doom. You feel the emotion of this track.
“Time To Reset” is sludgy through the intro, ramping up quickly in the song’s main body. The airy keyboards around the riff add some eerie tones and create another, different feeling for the lyrics to support. For this song, it sounds more like a beast that has been unjustly chained has broken loose and is coming for the captors. We also have the male/female vocals harmonizing in some areas for the first time. The voices are more haunted in this song rather than angry. There is anger, but it feels like there is a bit of regret that it came to this.
“I Wanna Cry” speaks more to the hopelessness that leads to the coming rebellion. The pace is more of a mid-tempo for what Secret Rule likes to do. This is not their fastest or slowest song, hovering beautifully in the middle. The muted vocals through the verses add a nice touch to the texture of the song. The keyboards go heavier on this track, giving the song a deeper, more foreboding feel.
The next track is the toxic relationship song. “Unlovable” is about how nothing will work, no matter how much you want it to. The vocals are light and airy, hitting a full belt in sections. The rhythm is killer. The drums and bass work together in tandem to deliver a fantastic platform for all the varied guitar work. The guitars go from heavy to melodic to delicate, then roar back to heavy. This is a beautiful composition. The added piano towards the end, just before the fade, is a great touch.
The opening to “Obsession” has a bit of an industrial/techno feel before returning to the signature Secret Rule heavy, chugging riff. A phrase like, “I can feel your fear when you’re at the borders of your comfort zone, it’s your gaol,” makes this song feel like it is more about the internal struggles to find your proper place in the world and the system under which you exist. This one hits me right in the face. Trying to push the limits and do something new is difficult and scary, but a life lived in the comfort zone often resembles a prison.
“The Illusion” opens with a bit of a New Wave synth sound, though that is short-lived. The guitar crushes that notion by using a really dark tone. That guitar tone really contrasts with most of the vocals on this track. The piercing screams under the main vocal line added to the occasional growls from the male voice and put a lot of tension in the song, giving it a very foreboding feel. The chaos of the voices is delicious, creating some fear and almost triggering that “Fight or flight” response.
For “The Showdown,” we get ready to fight. The resistance is prepared, and the war will begin. Planning is done; the time to fight is now! The battle is worth the sacrifice if it must happen. This is a cause worth dying for. There are some Arabesque tones, and the vocals are darker and angrier. You can feel every bit of what led the protagonist to this point. I’m ready to pick up arms and join the fray.
“A Little Piece Of Joy” hurts emotionally. The lyrics speak of never giving up hope despite the battle scars on the skin and the turmoil experienced by the mind. It is so hard to maintain any positivity when amid personal Hell. The joyful guitar solo is a bright spot on this record. The higher-pitched vocals add that little spark of hope within all the angst and desperation we’ve felt during the other songs, turning the entire feel of the record on its’ ear.
The disc ends with a bit of sadness, even though the song is called “The Hope.” There is hope, but the day for it is far off and still seems a bit unattainable, though the fight against oppression will never cease. One and a half minutes of acoustic guitar and heavily emotional vocals fade this album out, letting it almost die with a final note of hope in the darkness of the present, longing for the brighter future
Secret Rule has crafted a record about how, even in the darkest aspects of the present, there is hope for a future where this current Hell is just a memory to be read about in history books. The music is bombastic, gentle, harsh, beautiful, and angry. The vocals are all of that and more. The use of the contrasting voices added so many excellent layers of emotion, making this album, not just sound, but feel all the feelings of someone fighting a tyrant on the front lines.
To me, this album is reminiscent of Operation: Mindcrime, the epic anti-government concept album from Queensryche. It is not the same story, but the overall effect is similar. Here, we also have an epic album that tells a story of a person dealing with their need to get out from under an oppressive regime. This album could be set in any nation on earth at some point. It sounds modern but feels timeless. And that, my friends, is the mark of an excellent record.
- Guitars – 9
- Rhythms – 9
- Vocals – 9
- Songwriting – 9
- Production – 9
- Overall – 9