Secret Cutter’s new album, Quantum Eraser, is brutal. Descriptions of this release do not need to be toned down.
The Pennsylvania band has no apparent interest in only hitting the standards when it comes to heavy music and thereby letting themselves and their listeners go home without a hitch; the music hits you hard, and fast, with the band packing notable and memorable energy into a style that is already known for energy. As you go further and further into the extremes of heavy music, the amount of energy required for a release to top others like it becomes greater and greater — and Secret Cutter delivers via Quantum Eraser with an explosive, visceral festival of mayhem.
Their new album, as a seething, living musical creature of sorts, rests on the strength of musical body parts. One such component is the vocal work of front man Ekim, whose screams hit as more meant to absolutely boil over with energy rather than just be heavy and “aggressive.”
As guitarist Evan Morey explains: “When I’m putting a riff together, if it makes my muscles tense up I know it’s something that’s most likely going to work. Ekim’s vocals are a big factor in the chaotic sound. If we had normal death metal growls over the music, I don’t think it would have the same aggression and power.”
The infusion of chaos is intentional on Ekim’s part. “I want people to feel the music as well as hear it,” he says, adding, “When all is said and done then you can breathe.”
His vocals rest upon a simmering vat of impressive musical work from his band mates, and it’s all made with the same intent. The chaotic brutality is not accidental.
There’s more to it, though, which in an increasingly musically saturated environment helps it stand out. That intent makes it something far more than just random noise and screaming. The songs flow and work together to reflect a human existence on this planet, highs, lows, and all. Drummer Jared Stimpfl, who notes the impact of losing a parent during formative years on him, shares, “I find a strange peace amongst the chaos. It just feels normal.”
To the end of being “human,” Secret Cutter molds musical themes into their work that could be compared with sludge metal; with the brutality always still intact, they take “heaviness” out of the confines of breakdown laced music and make it their own, letting their music be something far more than just a gimmick.
Stimpfl explains: “A good song, to me, is something that conjures any kind of emotion, whether good or bad. If I feel nothing then I know it’s not going to last or it’s something to be examined later, when time molds it into something different and hopefully, more emotional. The fast/slow dynamic ties in to the extreme highs and lows of existence, for me. You just have to ride it out.”
Morey, the guitarist, adds that the band members believe that “if we are bored with a song, the listener will be as well.”
There’s certainly little room for boredom on the gloriously suffocating new release from Secret Cutter.
Quantum Eraser is the group’s second full-length, with the band having been an active project for its members for about a decade at this point. The band’s drummer explains that writing for their new release actually extends back a significant length through that period.
He says: “The writing was half done when Self Titled came out [in 2014], so it took about another year to gather enough material to get solid and start recording. It is a long process because we have to squeeze it in here and there, then stack time on top of that so inevitably there are changes, and changes, and changes. We’ve all been through some heavy life transitions throughout the life of Secret Cutter. I think in some way that all ties in to the growth.”
That growth has brought them to the point of releasing what guitarist Evan Morey quips is the soundtrack to the end of the world. That end of the world arrives July 6 via Deathwish Inc. and Holy Roar Records, having been recorded by the band’s own Jared Stimpfl at his Captured Recordings Studio, which has served artists like Jesus Piece and Hell To Pay.
Photo by Tim Wynarczuk