Monument To Time End
posted on 5/2010 By:
You can count me in the number that was incredibly underwhelmed by the debut from this American black metal supergroup, as it came across like all 5 members delivering their own sound, resulting in a disjointed album that never sounded like a coherent album, even considering the band's talent.
However, a tweak in the line-up added post-rock icons Sanford Parker (Minsk), who also produced this album, and Aaron Turner (Isis), as well as Stavros Giannopolous from sludge metal act The Atlas Moth. So with those three joining the core of Blake Judd (Nachtmystium), Imperial (Krieg) and Wrest (Leviathan), the end result is not only a vastly improved and more fluid album than the debut, but also seems to coherently meld all of the members' influences under the black metal banner.
I’ll warn most of you black metal die-hards--this album does have lots of shoegaze and post-rock elements amid the black metal. As a whole, it plays like Nachtmystium’s Assassins in its feverish, psychedelic nuances, but has the ambience and patience of the post-rock members. Thats not to say Twilight is now a post-rock act--far from it. It's just that the black metal is now mixed perfectly into a more earthy, robust and varied-but-lucid form that fits in line with some of the more progressive black metal bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, Altar of Plagues, Cobalt and, of course, Nachtmystium.
The new cohesion is immediately apparent in opener “The Cryptic Ascension,” where a humming sample gives way to a pulsing, mid-paced scrawl and rasp, and it's not until over halfway though that Twilight bares their black metal teeth. And thus is the reward for many of the patient, ambient builds replacing post-rock's eventual mountainous crescendos with biting but artful black metal that’s elegantly layered, yet still filled with poignant malice.
Like those of many of Twilight's peers in both the black metal and post-rock worlds, this album isn’t about tracks or certain moments, but is a cryptic, mesmerizing experience and journey that needs to absorbed, as the likes of “Fall Behind Eternity,” “8000 Years,” or the throbbing “Red Fields” simply won’t compute with casual listens. Their depth and layers choose to reveal themselves to the listener after multiple spins. Even a more direct track like “Convulsions in Veils of Fever” has many discernable elements undulating beneath the cracking black metal exterior.
Admittedly, the album's last third is more heavily atmospheric--further testing the impatient listener with long segues of programming and serpentine FX, or a Wolves in the Throne Room-ish drone (“Decaying Observer”), or a hypnotic acoustic strumming intro leading to a strange discordant lurch (“The Catastrophic Exhibition”)--but it does not detract from what is a completely mesmerizing and brilliant album, one deserving of the supergroup status, and one that should flirt with many a year-end list, including mine.
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