Review by Saxy S for Reliqa - Secrets of the Future (2024) Review by Saxy S for Reliqa - Secrets of the Future (2024)

Saxy S Saxy S / June 11, 2024 / 0

Perhaps starting this review with the phrase "nu metal" might give a bad first impression. I've mentioned in other reviews of nu metal albums that I have a churning feeling in my stomach whenever I think about the edgelord gloop that was popular during my adolescence. But it was music that was substantial in refining my music tastes and what I did (and didn't) like about heavy music. And every so often, a new band comes along trying to recapture some of that nostalgic, early 2000s sound and I always prepare for the worst.

Reliqa are one of those rare breed of nu metal bands that don't sound incredibly dated or cringe. I adore Monique Pym's vocal timbre on Secrets of the Future from her powerful cleans and excellent chorus development and growth. And the rapping shows a lot of potential as well; Reliqa are not filling this album to the brim with Fred Durst or Mike Shinoda type rap vocals, instead they appear occasionally, almost serving as a pre-breakdown buildup where the a capella callout before the drop can be executed with authority.

The compositions on Secrets of the Future are really well done. I sometimes use the term "progressive pop" to refer to music like this, even though these two identifiers are not typically matched together. There is a style change during the bridge of "Killstar (The Cold World)" that is pulled off with the sort of technical precision that you would expect out of a Dream Theater album, but it effortlessly connects the outer two sections of this track without feeling like two completely different songs. 

Production wise, this album overall sounds a little too heavy, as if it was a casualty of the loudness war of the late 2000s. But this has become a modern trend in metalcore in recent years so I find it hard to blame Reliqa specifically, but that does not mean I have to like it! If the record was a little bit more compressed in the instrumentals, it could have allowed for these quieter sections with electronic percussion and synthesizers to sound more ethereal instead of acting more as an interlude before the next howling chorus. 

I had a hard time believing that my progressive friend group would have found Reliqa to be such an interesting and upcoming metal band, but one listen to this album's promotional singles and having sat with Secrets of the Future for a couple of weeks now it all makes sense. This is fancy stuff; it has that feeling of nostalgia for early 2000s nu metal without sounding like it came out of the 2000s, and Reliqa know how to write catchy pop metal without having them sound soulless. If they could find better producers for any follow up material, it would be safe to say that the future of Reliqa should be no secret to the wider heavy metal community.

Best Songs: Cave, Killstar (The Cold World), Sariah, Physical, Upside Down

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