After nearly four long years, Beyond Twilight has emerged with a new album. Their previous disc The Devil's Hall of Fame with Jorn Lande on vocals was a stunning record, so it caused quite some stress when it was announced that Lande had left and was replaced by a new singer: American vocalist Kelly Sundown Carpenter from the band Outworld. If you were a fan of Lande's vocals in Beyond Twilight, worry not, Carpenter is an absolutely perfect fit for the position. The tone of his voice and his phrasing are highly similar to Lande's, which is great. There are moments on the album, unless you look in the CD booklet, you wouldn't know it's not Jorn Lande singing. Carpenter does an excellent job; he sings passionately and will easily convince everyone that he is the perfect choice.
Finn Zierler, the man behind Beyond Twilight, is still responsible for most of the songwriting on this disc, which is darker than ever, more progressive and more cinematic. Seemingly written locked in a dark attic, the dirty streets of London and near a cold lake, Section X is the continuation of Beyond Twilight's debut concept, and it kicks off with a very similar theme. There is also an informative and quite interesting storyline printed in the booklet. Even though I can't say I'm too impressed by the concept, neither was I by the one in the previous album. It's more Zierler's unique understanding of composition and creating thick, layered soundscapes that draw me to the sound and style of Beyond Twilight. Once again the production on this album is huge, thanks to Zierler's cooperation with Tommy Hansen during the mixing stages. This album is more of progressive tinged disc with sweeping arrangements and numerous emotional twists. Jacob Hansen's addition to the fold also serves this purpose, and his presence is easily noticeable. Give a close listen to the way the guitars slowly soar above Zierler's piano on "Sleeping Beauty" and how they fade into infinity as if the wind carries them away. This song also features guest vocalist Truls Haugen whose clean singing exchanges spots with Carpenter's more aggressive style. The big chorus filled with Latin lyrics is a reference to the first Beyond Twilight album, except that the female choir singing it is a lot more effective this time around.
New vocalist Kelly Sundown Carpenter takes on many different roles through the album. From the most haunting melody lines pulled out of the depths of hell that permeat "The Path of Darkness", the gruff and enraged singing on "Shadow Self", the cold spoken passages on "The Dark Side", or even the more multi-octave hitting screams on the 9-minute closing title track, Carpenter makes this album as amazing as the highly acclaimed debut, and certainly proves to be a fantastic addition to prog metal singers. Once the debut Outworld disc sees the light of day, it will be a headturner, mark my words.
There is a mindblowing instrumental track titled "Portrait F in Dark Waters", a classical intermezzo that starts out lush and laid-back, but quickly picks up and ventures into a dark musical territory displaying Zierler's ethereal piano and keyboard work merged with a great sense of orchestration - you must hear it, as I consider the composition presented here much better crafted than the instrumental pieces on the debut album. Zierler's tone is distinctive in all the songs, as he implements various progressive elements in the songs backed up by powerful twin guitars and a solid rhythm section. Best exemplified on the title track, each instrument weaves its way through the music delicately, laying down subtle odd time signatures without letting go of the dark atmosphere this album is intended to possess. Note the way the keyboards subtly morph into an Egyptian-themed arpeggiated guitar melody during the breakdown that ultimately leads to the dramatic finale. It might strike you speechless.
Beyond Twilight is back! Let's hope we won't have to wait another four years for their third album. But then if that's what it takes to create epic and soulful music like this, that's cool with me. Both Beyond Twilight albums are essential for dark prog metal fans.
- Be Careful It's My Head Too
- The Path of Darkness
- Shadow Self
- Sleeping Beauty
- The Dark Side
- Portrait F in Dark Waters
- Ecstasy Arise
- Section X