REVIEW: Secrets - Fragile Figures

Genre: Post-Hardcore
Label: Rise/Velocity
Date of Release: July 23, 2013


Bands that coalesce the heaviness of metalcore with the electronic poppiness of post-hardcore are becoming increasingly common nowadays. They include bands like Asking Alexandria, A Skylit Drive, and, in this particular case, Secrets. This quintet formed in 2010 from San Diego, California, and sought out to deliver potent mixes of the previously mentioned formula. After releasing a demo in 2011, they got signed to Rise Records, a label renowned for signing bands such as Attack Attack, Sleeping With Sirens, and Memphis May Fire, leading to the release of the band's debut full-length in 2012 "The Ascent." In 2013, Secrets would put forth their second full-length album called "Fragile Figures." Though this release is far from innovative, there are things to be enjoyed in it.

The musicianship is demonstrated solidly in this record, along with the production. In terms of the vocals, both the aggressive and clean sides are performed greatly. The screams are quite powerful and fierce, while the singing has some nice passion and energy to it. The guitar work isn't anything too special in context of the melodic post-hardcore genre, but it does manage to deliver a sleuth of punchy riffs and melodies at times, especially in the explosive "Live Together, Die Alone." The same can be said for the drums, which are played with some good vigor and sound very potent. This sound is thanks to the production, done by former A Day To Remember guitarist Tom Denney. The mixing sounds crisp without being over-polished, and it makes way for a resonant sound fitting for this genre. Both the instrumentation and production are done well here.

"Fragile Figures," as in previous releases, consists of post-hardcore that stretches between light-hearted melody and grooved heaviness. This formula is overall carried out rather well, but is also nothing very special, either. Although this is thankfully their only truly detrimental flaw this album falls for, it is painfully undeniable that the music is nothing short of generic. If you're in search of something new to be brought to the post-hardcore genre, then this probably is not the place for you. However, just because it's been done before, that doesn't necessarily mean it fails. In fact, there are plenty of good things this soundtrack has to offer. The balance described earlier is very effective, thanks to the flowing and solid song structures and a healthy abundance of catchy parts. The best example of this would once again be "Live Together, Die Alone," which is loaded with gripping moments that all tie together into well-built frameworks. The dynamic is strong in the album's tracklist, and that is ultimately the record's greatest strength.

The lyrical content and artwork of this album also hold up rather strongly. The lyrics, like the music, isn't anything special, dealing with personal struggles and broken relationships. However, there is a little silver lining to them, too, an example being the final track, "Sleep Well, Darling," which focuses on a broken relationship that someone is trying to fix and make things right. On top of that, the artwork is great, especially in how the dark, crackling figure contrasts to the blank white background. It fits the concept behind some of the lyrics as well, in the wake of the message of moving on and "[finding] a way not to break."* Both the lyrics and artwork hold up.

"Fragile Figures" is, all in all, a pretty enjoyable album. Although it is very derivative of other bands under the same genre, every aspect of this album is performed well. The musicianship and sound production are very good, and the music itself is written and played out rather decently. It's certainly not bad, but it is merely things the post-hardcore crowd has heard many times before. As stated earlier, those looking for something unique from the post-hardcore genre will want to look elsewhere, but fans of the genre could try it out to hear some potent tunes. "Fragile Figures" is a not-so-fragile sophomore effort from a band with a surplus of potential.

Score: 7/10 (Solid)