For many, Secret Chiefs 3 is considered to be "Mr. Bungle minus Mike Patton." While I feel this description does a grave injustice to the band, there are those out there blind to the genius that Secret Chiefs 3 has committed to tape. This is quite unfortunate for them, and coming from the Patton super-fan that I am, this remark should not be taken lightly. It was during the downtime between Mr. Bungle albums that the remaining members sans Patton got together and formed this bizarre and eccentric musical unit that takes roots and influences from a diverse field of genres: surf rock, death metal, world music, electonica, pop, and musical scores.
Book of Horizons opens with "The End Times," a carefully orchestrated piece that brings to mind the eerie music score from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, in fact as I listened I pictured the car traveling along the winding road from the film's opening scene. On the next track, we experience a style change. "The 4 (Great Ishraqi Sun)" takes a lot of influence from traditional Middle Eastern music. This style is later revisited on the track "DJ Revisionist," which also features Arabic guitar tones. By this point you may notice that vocals are used very sparingly. Perhaps the musicians involved felt it detracted from the mood trying to be evoked
After a brief noise-scape, Secret Chiefs 3 transforms themselves yet again, this time on "Exterminating Angel" they take the form of speeding metal act, blast-beats and deep growls included - not sold separately! I warned you that this was a diverse album, I suppose you thought I was bull-shitting you. The subsequent three tracks, especially "On The Wings Of Haoma," bare the closest similarities to the direction taken by Mr. Bungle on Disco Volante. If you're looking for a modern comparison to some of the pieces that are contained, after several listens I finally was able to pinpoint one. It's my theory Quentin Tarantino accidentally left off several of these tracks, most notably "Book T: Exodus," from the soundtrack to the two volume film, Kill Bill. They fit that mold of surf and pop that Tarantino is notorious for using in his films.
"Anthropomorphosis: Boxleitner" is one of my favorite tracks on Book of Horizons. I love the integration of the keys/snyths. Secret Chiefs 3 can do it all; there is no doubt about it in my mind. Despite the contrasting musical styles contained throughout, the album still holds up fairly well as a unit. Sure it is a tad schizophrenic, but that's what makes it so unique.
If you have a short attention span you are probably going to get lost mid-way through Book of Horizons. If you're looking for something straightforward, this will be a waste of your time. This is experimental music at its finest.
8.5 / 10
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