Secret Cutter – Quantum Eraser

Regular readers will be fully aware of the high level of praise thrown Holy Roar’s way throughout 2018 so far, and with good reason, because their roster continues to produce some of this year’s most exciting, aggressive, and forward-thinking music. So when it was announced that the label would be helping Secret Cutter get their second record, Quantum Eraser, to the UK faithful you could almost hear the sound of this little island’s collective jaw hitting the floor.

If, however, you’re not fully aware of Secret Cutter at this point, now is the time to get acquainted because they’re about to take your head clean off.

Over the past nine years, Secret Cutter has developed a sound that is built on the jarring pairing of slow, menacing riffs that EyeHateGod would kill for, and frantic punk fury. The heavily distorted and sludgy self-titled record four years ago became cult favourite for its outright hostility and the wonderfully titled If You Don’t Hate Yourself You Aren’t Paying Attention EP that came before it set the band on the right path of destruction with its unrelenting grind. However, little was known about the three-piece, which certainly added to each release’s mystique, but Quantum Eraser is the record that will give them the recognition of one of the scene’s true heavyweights.

Lead single ‘Trampled By Light’ gives any newcomers the best example of the Secret Cutter “sound”, with a rolling, galloping riff and Ekim’s white-hot vocals that trudge along with growing menace. ‘Bended Knee’ by contrast starts with a short, harrowing blast of feedback before that grind that made the first EP so exhilarating bursts forth. Only for a moment though, as the measured menace takes hold again with a sludgy breakdown that feels like a hand round your throat choking the life out of you.

It’s Secret Cutter’s unpredictability that sets Quantum Eraser apart from other releases this year with moments like ‘Vow Of Obedience’ shuddering from the speakers, not in a “wacky” spontaneous manner, but more an uncontrollable, deranged approach that’s over before you even have a chance to fully grasp what it is you’re hearing. It speaks volumes about the band’s wide range, with the unhinged switch between piercing shrieks and guttural barks on ‘Doormat’, and the more measured album closer ‘Oblivion’ delivering a doomier, heftier punch. The lack of a bassist doesn’t even hamper the sheer weight of the record, with Evan’s stomach-churning guitar tone and Jared’s high hats rattling alongside him.

Brevity is key, and Secret Cutter packs more bile into thirty minutes than most bands do in an hour. There have been plenty of raw, abrasive records released this year, but very few are as exhilarating – or disturbing – as Quantum Eraser.

8.0/10

ROSS JENNER