In 2014, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based sludgy noisecore trio Secret Cutter unleashed their debut album, Self Titled, on an unsuspecting world. The album drew praise and accolades from all facets of the metal community. It raised their profile. Now, the band are set to self-release their follow-up, Quantum Eraser, on July 6, with distribution through Holy Roar Records and Deathwish Inc. It might have taken them a while to get to this point, but that’s just their modus operandi.
“We take a long time to get things the way we want. It’s just how it happens!” drummer Jared Stimpfl says. “I think we recorded the record three times in various forms to explore what the songs needed. I think we have a unique process in that we’re able to capture the songs and sit with them and let what we’ve put down either grow with excitement or fall flat because we keep skipping over it. So, the ability to record on our time really opens up how we let the music grow into what it eventually turns into. If we were forced to make this record a year after Self Titled, it most definitely wouldn’t be what it is. We’ve changed as people, just as time changes everything—and so do the songs. We’re always looking to improve something somehow. If we’ve lost momentum because of it, I certainly didn’t weigh that against our ability to get exactly what we wanted.”
Secret Cutter must be onto something, because Quantum Eraser is a worthy successor to Self Titled. It takes their sound and pushes it further. Once again, the band have succeeded in creating a unique piece of loud, aggressive metal. In fact, that was their goal all along.
“We want it to be heavy without being generic,” guitarist Evan Morey says. “We want our records to jump around stylistically but to still ‘sound like us,’ for lack of a better term.”
Stimpfl concurs with his bandmate. “I know we all feel this was a step up from Self Titled in almost all ways,” he says. “I feel like we just let things be as authentic as they can be while being brutally honest about our feelings with the material. We’re all pretty crazy perfectionists when it comes to certain aspects of the mix. That’s another reason why it takes so long for us to release a record.”
Being honest also applies to the lyrics, which are handled by vocalist Ekim. Like many musicians, he uses them to vent—but unlike some musicians, there is a method to his madness. “There is actual meaning to the babbling,” Ekim says. “I basically speak about the past, present, and my overall outlook on life. Things that leave scarring when all is said and done, but I tend to write lyrics in the third person. If people actually read the lyrics,” he laughs, “it will paint them a picture they can relate to—or break shit.”
In addition, Quantum Eraser’s title has a deeper meaning to the band. “The title comes from the double-slit experiment. It was a groundbreaking discovery in quantum mechanics. The delayed choice quantum eraser [experiment] was a continuation of that experiment,” Morey explains. “The experiment basically proves that time and space are not linear. The album title is about not fully understanding what your life actually is in this universe but grasping that there is way more than you understand. It’s a high-tech approach to a very old existential crisis: ‘What does it all mean?’”
The music means a lot to these three. They use it as their way of coping with the world and themselves. “To a certain point, it’s definitely a cleansing of the mucky accumulations that stick to my psyche,” Stimpfl says, “all the shit people put out because of their own pain. Existentialism, hard truths about this existence, etc., for me, have always been a way to restore equilibrium when we’re playing together. When I first started playing, music in general was a very hefty escape. Now, it restores balance and creates stillness.”
It’s clear that Secret Cutter care a lot about doing it their way and maintaining control over their music. Once again, they will be self-releasing the album, but this time, they will be getting a little help with the distribution. It’s a win-win situation for everybody involved.
“We did Self Titled by ourselves, and we were very happy with the reaction and coverage we received,” Morey says. “We have a distribution deal with Holy Roar Records in the U.K. and Deathwish in the U.S. Having our record available in record stores was the most important thing to us. We do like the idea of having a large amount of control over our music, as well as retaining the recording rights and whatnot, [but] we are not opposed to signing with a label if the right situation presented itself.”
The band will also be in a better position to take on some touring. All three members have real-life commitments such as families, jobs, and mortgages, so touring has been difficult in the past, but that has changed in the time period between albums.
“I think we’re all in a better position to jump at any opportunities that arise as far as touring goes,” Stimpfl says. “If something crazy came up, I think we’d make the accommodations necessary to make it all work. Having a family that supports me has always been a backbone for going after what I wanted, and having a baby has made me strip [away] anything I felt was holding me back from being where I need to be. I don’t think we’re a band that will tour for months on end, but who knows? I think we know there’s no money in our kind of music, and we don’t care about that.”
But listeners should definitely care about Secret Cutter. In an oversaturated metal underground, they are truly unique.