Formed in 2006, SECT is still a rather young band from the north-western Russian town Murmansk. Their debut release "WWIII" sees them fusing Black Metal with Thrash riffs and some inventive use of solos, leading to some interesting results.
Even though "WWIII" should be regarded as a Black Metal album, the musical content still lies more than a block away from the necro roots of the genre. The use of more typical Thrash Metal riffs places SECT firmly in the modern wave of bands, but not without retaining an aggressive and filthy sound. Throw in a generous but well-restrained use of guitar solos, and you have a dynamic and exciting album that grows on every listen. Songs like "White Faces" have a decidedly uplifting quality, which removes the band even further from a traditional sound, yet the Russian lyrics sound effectively hateful and brutal.
An extra mention goes out to the track "Sigh", which is a Black Metal version of Chopin's "Marche Funèbre". Whereas this song is an obvious choice for a Funeral Doom band (UNTIL DEATH OVERTAKES ME have an excellent version), making it work in the aggressive stylings of Black Metal is a bit trickier. Yet, somehow, SECT puts a new spin on the masterpiece with a violent injection, while still retaining the despondent feeling of the original piece. Nothing short of fantastic, if you're going to check out just one Russian Black Metal song this year, make it this one.
As should be clear to you at this point in the review, "WWIII" is a fine piece of modern Black Metal, taking influence from a myriad of places to create a fresh sound. While they're not able to completely throw off the shackles of the cliché, they still manage to be forwards-looking while still maintaining a strong focus. It might not be the grimmest, evilest, or even most brutal album of the year, but the unconventionally-minded Black Metal fan will find plenty of interest here.
(Online May 9, 2009)