Matt Zephyr – Vocals
David Lamothe – Lead Guitar
Tommy Lemieux – Drums
Joey Sollazzo – Rhythm Guitar
William Gunn – Bass
- Ties (4:31)
- Nomads (feat. Garrett Russell) (3:31)
- Downcast (3:55)
- Gaia (3:31)
- Static (3:44)
EP Length: 19:15
Ottawa band Held in Secret announce their new concept EP ‘Nomads’, which will be released on May 29th, 2020. Founded in January of 2016 by Matt J. Zephyr (vocals) and David Lamothe (lead guitar), this band pulls fans of Silent Planet, Volumes, and Architects to their crowd. In hopes of making people feel understood, they created ‘Nomads’ with lyrics that “paint pictures of trauma, despair, and hope”. Listeners who crave a heavy sound rooted in metalcore and djent that is laced with angst will feel like they have an empathetic friend with a familiar voice. Held in Secret have shown improvement from their debut EP ‘Dawnbreaker’ (produced by Dark Moon Productions) with this new and emotional release.
‘Ties’ starts us off very strong, and I’m already in it and ready to hear what’s next. When the vocals kick in, I’m impressed by the style, emotion, and intonation. A solid heavy sound, with a melodic and legato chorus to give us lift and respite. The emotion is apparent in Zephyr’s delivery and the rest of the band doesn’t fall behind in any respect.
Clean singing on top of screams like in the title track ‘Nomads’ adds more depth to the already full sound. Garrett Russell of Silent Planet joins on vocals to take it up another notch. Also incorporated into the writing are really satisfying musical breakdowns. Near the end is a beautiful departure from the rest of the song, where desperate sounding screams taint the soft music with painful despair. Following, of course, is a kick back into heavy reality. Moments like this soft breakdown take us deeper into the soul of the band, who blend vulnerability with intensity and extremity.
My personal favourite, ‘Downcast’ floats in with a reverb-filled moody guitar line. Words of depression, despair, and the resulting hopelessness, all allude to a sense of having no control over an illness that invades like a powerful entity. Another melodic and clean chorus gives way to some clarity from the deafening depths of the music, but does not alleviate the pain held within. The main riff is refrained for the creepy, slowed-down ending; a dark hand lending heavily to the insidious nature of depression.
In ‘Gaia’ we continue to see the band on their journey – dark, sludgy tempo changes, themes of defeat and battle, and full, lifted choruses. I love how they blend these aspects together. Zephyr sings that he wants to be part of an army for Gaia (Earth), showing care and compassion to be at his core, underneath the pain.
Compassion born of heartache is truly apparent in in the EP final track, ‘Static’, which was written about a friend who lost their life to drug abuse. Tyler Hay of fellow Ottawa band Southpaw (now called Glaive) was taken by the opioid crisis caused by Fentanyl. There have been a record-breaking number of deaths as a result of the crisis. As a Vancouver, BC native myself, I’ve seen the devastation and loss firsthand, and can relate to that same pain coming across in the song. Matt Zephyr says:
“This song tells the story of how we all should’ve listened better; many people shy away from asking for help. Self destructive behaviour is a call for help. And we all should listen better. For the greater good of the world.”
A hopeful and positive sentiment that comes from a bitter truth.
I can hear the emotion in their delivery, and while sometimes changes in tempo and time signature throughout the song don’t make much sense to me sonically or musically, the believability is the most important part. The theme of being part of healing the world is a silver lining around the darkness of ‘Nomads’. A slightly dissonant finale lends way to melancholy end for the song and the EP together.
‘Nomads’ is catchy without coming across too mainstream, and delivers on the bands promise to stray away from early 2010’s repetitive Metalcore, adding choir and piano while still keeping it heavy. Lamothe, Gunn, and Sollazzo sing backup while Zephyr works rhythmically through the structured soundscapes of the songs, scream-rapping his perturbed lines. These guys promise an energy filled live show, full of shredding, headbanging, and jumping off stage into the pit – Lemieux’s drums uncompromised, beating out the bands heartbeat behind the kit in full gear. ‘Nomads’ drops on May 29th, 2020. The single ‘Static’ is available in advance via its exclusive premiere on TheCirclePit Youtube Channel HERE: