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twlight - Monument To Time End
Twilight has to be the ultimate US black metal supergroup: the core membership remains Wrest (of Leviathan) and Blake Judd (aka Azentrius), but for this new album, the reformed Twilight line-up includes Stavros Giannopolous (The Atlas Moth), N. Imperial, Aaron Turner (from Isis), Robert Lowe (of Lichens and OM) and producer Sanford Parker (Minsk, Buried At Sea). The album makes an instant impact with the ten-minute epic 'The Cryptic Ascension', hovering into earshot with some spooked electronic atmospheres before embarking upon scathing yet ultimately melodic riff passages - there's almost a post-rock like quality to some of this, although the distorted, crunching weight of all those flattened fifths (not to mention the howling, pained vocals) situate this firmly within the black metal oeuvre. The production is very much set apart from the classic Scandinavian school's lo-fi tendencies, and is instead lively, full-bodied and above all, loud. This sound really pays off on a track like 'Fall behind Eternity': there's enough depth to make the guitars really grate on the ears with plenty of definition, but there's also enough space to accommodate the quieter passages that feature sinister incantations and chanting. It soon becomes clear that Monument To End Time isn't quite the flood of darkness you might have expected, and '8,000 Years' lays the synthesizer on in bold, colourful strips that take the track into slightly proggy territory, and 'Negative Signal Omega' makes a feedback-strewn soundscape out of a sparse drum track, but when the band hit their stride on 'Convulsions In Wells Of Fever' or 'Decaying Observer' they make an awe-inspiringly heavy racket.