Getting together in 2016 in Ottawa Ontario Canada, DJentlemen Held In Secret crafted their debut EP “Dawnbreaker” over a two year period before sharing it with the World at the tail end of 2018. After a year of shows, David Lamothe (Lead Guitar), Matt Zephyr (Vocals), Tommy Lemieux (Drums), Joey Sollazzo (Rhythm Guitar) and William Gunn (Bass) returned to write their sophomore EP and had a number of goals in mind. Lyrically, they tackle head on five of the biggest problems in today’s society in Abuse, Racism, Depression, Pollution and Addiction. So this one is going to be deep.
DJent riffage opens up the floor with “Ties” quickly joined by short bursts of Tech-Metal permiating the mix. But for all those heavier moments, there is a bright, rich and sung chorus with some aching synths and a pinch of the Progressive in the final third that adds that depth and texture to the sound to match lyrical theme. Title track “Nomads” sees Garrett Russell of Silent Planet pick up the microphone and the pitching contrast between his vocals and Zephyr’s is a winning combination. Again it’s the final third that offers up some different stylings with the DJent prominence making way for some programming and aching screamed vocals before bursting back into the opening salvo with the close. “Downcast” punches above its weight with slower, chunkier downtuned riffs, sounding like an 80s pop track in some of its vocal stylings. They manage to carry off something that shouldn’t work on paper and make elements that shouldn’t belong work together well, something that some of Volumes last album did as an example. The dirge of the mid tempo riffs is blostered by the crush of the tones, while the oriental chimes of the synth that bleed through the staccato gaps join it symbiotically to “Gaia” neatly. The first verse rap scream of that is a showstopper thanks to a distortion in typical and a collection of “Bleigh!” moments follow suit. A couple of sing-a-long clean choruses are perfectly blended into this heavier track and the variety in the styles is a sign of not only the quality of the musicianship but also of the willingness to take a risk for a reward. At no point here have the band delivered anything sounds out of place. “Static” is a song about the opioid crisis and vocally delivered in the first person, it’s lyrically heart breaking. The piano is prominent in the mix and plays the beauty to the beast contrast to the heavier guitars beast. Zephyr shows off some impressive vocal range throughout the five tracks but the gutteral growls of the final burst of this are something which he didn’t seem capable of delivering at the start, such is the passion in this performance and the depth of meaning in the lyrics [7.5/10]
2. Nomads (ft. Garrett Russell of Silent Planet)
“Nomads” by Held In Secret is out now and available over at bandcamp