If you have been looking around for reviews for this one and not found many it is due to the label not making promo available to anyone until the release date. This of course stops the album from being leaked prior to release (although naturally it has been now) and it also helps spread a certain mystique about what to expect. On listening to it via the digital download I had been sent I immediately thought how fantastic it sounded and decided as it was already out to see how much it was selling for at certain online shopping sites. As I much prefer having a proper album in my hands (still recovering from CD taking over from vinyl) and due to the fact that this was going for the silly price of £6.99 I put hand straight in pocket and can review this one in all its glory. Prophecy are indeed a canny bunch but let’s hope that all the other record companies don’t follow suit. mind you, if they did that would mean that they would simply not get their stuff reviewed and lose sales as not many bands are as good as Secrets Of The Moon.

The German band really have hit their stride of late and last release 2009 ‘Privilegivm’ was pretty damn formidable itself. Since then they have snuck three EP’s under the radar all leading up to Seven Bells which threatens to be their best work to date. I notice that LSK takes a bit more of a back seat this time around providing just ‘voices and effects,’ bass is not credited to anyone; strange. I also cannot help notice that Tom G Fischer is involved with the mixing and mastering which sounds absolutely phenomenal so I really did have high expectations for this and it did not disappoint in the slightest.

The album is an hour long and as the title suggests has seven magnificent tracks, each summoned in by the tolling of bells. Naturally the songs are long and incredibly involving so you need to be prepared to be taken on a deep and dark journey before pressing play here. Eerie tones seep around the bells of the opening title track and then drums solidly make their mark. There is a claustrophobic build up and everything comes in finally allowing you to draw that necessary breath. The melody is superb and when sG’s vocals growl in you feel like deliverance is at hand. The chorus sees the song title rasped out followed by a blackened welter of guitars and pummeling drums, perfect. There is a huge amount of atmosphere in the slower parts too; the bells themselves really do make a great instrument used this effectively. You have to smirk at a title like ‘Goathead’ it thuds in and slows to a gravid pace, oozing away and lurching back to the primitive tribal beat. Cries fly out the primeval swamp of the music and you wonder if it is right that something that is executed in such a gnarly fashion should sound quite so good. ‘Serpent Messiah’ is another why didn’t someone else think of that song title and it really is where the album opens up with a glorious number with a rot and roll melody hitting hard, clean and jubilant vocal swoops and some magnificent gloom laden acoustic parts. This is the sort of thing that if there were any justice in the world would be a hit song, but then again let the sheep listen and graze to their own rubbish and let’s keep songs like this as our own! It’s all about the words “heartless lifeless crack” on ‘Blood Into Wine,’ trust me, one listen and you will be joining in. It’s quite a hateful number that’s for sure. It’s a slow and sinuous number next and ‘Worship’ has a spine chilling demeanor about its chorus, sinking into you the one thing to do is bow beneath its weight, forced onto your knees before a fast paced guitar line comes in for the kill.

It is as though everything has led up to the last two songs though and these are the real epic numbers of the album. You may have caught the excellent video for ‘Nyx’ already, if not go and check it out. A very Floydian sound takes us in and the song gains momentum in absolutely no hurry at all. Vocals are indignant and angry but not yet at full force. It is a slow burning number, not designed to overpower or overwhelm but one to get beneath the skin and spread like a disease taking you over. If this is inspired by Crowley then that leaves ‘The Three Beggars’ (Satan’s Church) perhaps more in line with Von Trier’s Antichrist than Yeats. It is what I can only describe as a song for the end of the world (and there are many around at the moment). sG let’s us know in no uncertain terms that it is coming to an end and we are jolted back into life after the long piece of ambience at the end of ‘Nyx’ in a brutal fashion. The nice place we had been taken to is now gone and this one is all about rebuilding a shrine to Satan and reinstating his church; the poetic lyrics as well thought out as the music itself. With long ambient moments again interspersing the more gravid feel of this mid-paced monster there is lots to draw you in before you are spat out finally wondering if the world is going to implode or if you have time left to play the album again.

‘Seven Bells’ is incredibly addictive and I have a feeling it is going to be getting as many plays as I can fit in. Despite the hour running time it practically flies by and again despite the complexity it is pretty easy to get into. I took the cheap option and it was worth every penny but there are various other formats available from the label if you really want to push the boat out, which you can see at the link below along with that video for ‘Nyx.’

(9/10 Pete Woods)