Album Review: Reliqa – Secrets of the Future (2024 LP)

The metal scene is often quite paradoxical. Despite an aggressive outward-facing appearance, the scene is full of genuine, open and accepting people. With rabid grassroots support and a now growing mainstream movement backed by the financial weight of the majority share in global black t-shirt sales, it’s a haven for those who embrace the fast and loud.

That support, however, can have side effects. Chief among them is the civil war within metal circles over minor delineations in genres: Death, Black, Progressive, Power, Doom, Sludge. Metal fans can be very defensive of their tribe of guttural screams and chugging guitars.

So, what then are we to make of Sydney-siders Reliqa? With the release of their debut album Secrets of the Future out today, the band’s modern combination of rap and hip-hop styled vocal flows and electronica, pop, prog, and post-hardcore influences are sure to hit ears and airwaves like water in hot oil. But such is the life when you push boundaries they way Reliqa does.

Following up 2022’s EP I Don’t Know What I Am and earning support slots alongside Dead Letter Circus, Spiritbox, and Babymetal, the band certainly knows who and what they are now. With a fully realised and self-confident release, debut album Secrets of the Future is a demonstration in versatility, musicality, and individuality. Unafraid to blend genres and getting a mortgage on property outside the box, Reliqa defy easy labels. The band are certainly creating a trademark for bold fearlessness that ensure they’re anything but boring.

The new album is certainly unconventional from a prog purist standpoint. As an audible blitzkrieg with a get-in-get-out mentality, the average track length comes in under five minutes. Serving to improve instead of hinder, the songs never overstay their welcome and pack in plenty of riffs and moments in the time they have to ensure repeat listening.

Album opener “Dying Light” punches in with an attitude-filled, rap flow-styled delivery from lead vocalist Monique Pym. With a mixture of electronica and neo-nu-metal riffing, it’s an attention-grabbing introduction for the uninitiated and a welcome return for fans.

The second track, “Cave,” is a more melodic vocal showcase. Pym’s vocals are given the time to relax, soar, and return to the venomous firebrand delivery synonymous with her style. Paired with a glorious breakdown, this one is a lot of fun.

“Killstar (The Cold War)” opens with face-melting guitar courtesy of Brandon Lloyd. A blistering track that is also a nice change of songwriting pace, its subject matter is more personal and emotional.

“The Flower” is accelerated into life by tight guitar playing and the head-banging rhythmic prowess of drummer Benjamin Knox. “The Flower” sums up the band in its short three-minute run time: catchy riffs, strong songwriting, smooth cleans, and venomously delivered rapid-fire vocal rhythms combined with theatrical elements like a whispered monologue and an earthquake of a breakdown.

“Sariah” is one of the longest songs on the album, stretching out passages of hauntingly beautiful layered vocals with a chorus that once again showcases Pym’s ability to send her vocals into the stratosphere and return safely back to earth in the space of a verse and a chorus. There aren’t many indulgent moments on this album or elongated passages, so the standout guitar solo on this one absolutely rips and deserves a special mention courtesy of Lloyd.

“Terminal” is an interesting combination of elements. With a mixture of electronic operatic string styling, it opens with something resembling the soundtrack to a hectic Japanese cartoon opening. It suggests a more clear-cut theatrical DNA etched into the band’s bones. The combination of a more classic rock style with electronic keyboards and traditional metal elements creates a tune differing from other offerings on the album, and a ton of fun.

Giving bass player Miles Knox room to provide thunderous, chugging bass with slaps to boot, “Keep Yourself Awake” is a sonically soupy bass-heavy track that revels in the sub-frequencies of its lead instruments. Combined with another performance by Pym that is equal parts theatre and attitude, it further punctuates the band’s sense of style.

Slowing things down, “Crossfire” wades more in the waters of a traditional ballad than an ear-splitting metal standard. With a soft and somber opening wrapped in vulnerable lyrics and Pym’s most refined performance, it’s a welcome change of pace that also serves to underline the versatility and stylistic variability of the band. The production value of “Crossfire” is a lively mixture of restraint and exploration.

Applicable throughout the album, there is always a balance between familiarity and creativity that veers off the beaten path, while ensuring the journey and the destination are worth it. Despite being heavily stylised, there is always substance.

Returning to scheduled broadcasting, “Physical” reverses back into melodic metalcore stylings the soft sci-fi electronica vibe imprinted across the album. With thrashy interludes where the bass, lead guitar, and drums form an audible fistfight, “Physical” dives headfirst back into familiar heavy territory.

With an old-school intro pulled straight from the early 2000s, the track “Two Steps Apart” is another bop. Embracing a combination of elements, the ballad-like feel accentuated by a piano piece in the centre adds another dimension to this soul-searcher of a tune.

“A Spark” ruminates on time, brooding on the future and a failure to stop the ticking hands of time. It’s also a joy to hear Pym’s Aussie accent cut through on some of the more spoken word elements of the track, reminding us of their roots.

“Upside Down” is the closer, lifting the finale out of the depths with killer performances and showcases from each member, acting more as an exclamation mark instead of a full stop to punctuate the finale.

Secrets of the Future is a thorough and meticulously well-crafted debut album. With chunky riffs, massive choruses, and equally enjoyable standout contributions from each member, it’s an album that will prove a joy to revisit. Metal purists may find much to dismay among the genre-hopping and economic song construction, but for those who like things a bit new and unexpected with a healthy appreciation for the range of creativity and boundary-pushing on offer, it will certainly satisfy.

It’s safe to say with Secrets of the Future the secret’s out, and the future is bright for Reliqa.


Secrets of the Future is out today. Listen HERE

Find Reliqa on tour through June at the following dates:


*w/ Caligula’s Horse
^ Never Had So Much Fun Fest