Im Jahr 2006 bedeutet Stillstand das Ende
Secret Discovery, that dark rock act from the heart of Germany's Ruhr area,
chose that end for themselves towards the close of the last millennium. And
parted "as friends", as the saying goes.
Roughly half a decade later, in 2004, that end turned out not to be a permanent
one. Secret Discovery were back, with a new prayer up their sleeves. "Pray" was
the title of their … let's call it "comeback album", which went down extremely well
with the public. The band presented themselves more mature in terms of their
songwriting, as well as their stylistic elements, mixed by the quintet to develop
their very own Secret Discovery sound.
Little wonder, you might be tempted to think, after all Secret Discovery,
alongside acts such as Project Pitchfork, Deine Lakaien, Das Ich, Lacrimosa and
Goethes Erben, were not only a strong motor for the renaissance of the German
gothic scene in the early Nineties, but also forerunners of gothic metal made in
Germany, and their 1993 offering, "Into The Void" is still considered a genre
classic. The more years that passed, the more the band opened themselves to
new ideas and different styles. "Question Of Time" manifested their status on the
Mount Olympus of rock, metal and crossover, "Slave" being the final and
definitely worthy swansong of this unique act.
But why waste time on all this background information?
Secret Discovery have tasted blood again. The success of "Pray" and the
thoroughly enthusiastic reactions to their hand-picked gigs motivated the band
further, inspiring them to work on their latest release, "Alternate".
"Alternate" is aptly entitled, because Secret Discovery's sonic update alternates,
too. Their guitars rock heavily, the keyboards caress Kai Hoffmann's constantly
progressing vocals, and then there are those hook lines! Secret Discovery have
come up with their very own version of contemporary pop music, and that's a
"We're used to falling between the stools, and we don't want to be categorized in
a single pigeonhole," frontman Kai Hoffmann explains, adding with a smug
undertone: "We've always enjoyed helping ourselves to various genres, to be
honest. We're open to different musical directions, and looking at it in a positive
way, we may end up creating a new pigeonhole, just for ourselves."
Right he is. In terms of their lyrics and their music, "Alternate" is Secret
Discovery's coming of age. And what a coming of age!
"Our lyrics are always marked by our own personal experiences, the highs and
lows in our lives. Dreams and fears, love or hate can be found in the themes of
our lyrics," Kai adds, "and we always strive for a lyrical style that's not overly
clear, but subtle instead. There should always be enough room for personal
interpretation. Our musical influences still stem from the Eighties, the early days
of new wave and gothic, particularly when it comes to our songwriting, but pop
acts such as Coldplay, R.E.M. or Placebo have also left their traces."
And it's still good to be back, isn't it?
"Oh yes," Kai replies, "'Pray' was important in that it helped us collect our
thoughts, musically. In terms of sound, it's a fairly typical Secret Discovery
recording, sounding a little like a journey in time through the tracks on our first
albums, only in a modern outfit. Looking at it this way, 'Pray' was a statement
first and foremost: 'We're back, we still sound like Secret Discovery – we are
"'Alternate' was different. This time around, it was our aim to develop the overall
sound, we wanted to do something that still sounds like Secret Discovery, but is
different at the same time; contemporary in true SD style on the one hand, and
at the same time different enough to make it impossible to compare to its
predecessors. When it came to the songwriting, we freed ourselves of all
parameters, it materialized in the process which direction we were going to take.
We definitely didn't want any templates to restrict our creativity in any way."
"Alternate" is Secret Discovery Mark 2006.
Without limits, without pigeonholes, without parameters, more from the gut, with
more authenticity and even more amazing hooklines.
Thomas Thyssen (Winter 2005)