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Beyond Twilight: For the Love of Art and the Making

It'll wind up among the most ambitious metal albums released in 2006, and it will be revered by some listeners and tossed aside by others. Even its title, For the Love of Art and the Making, reeks of pretension. But Beyond Twilight's third disc (featuring the band's third singer, Tears of Anger's Bjorn Jansson) deserves at least your initial attention for one important reason: It's a 37-and-a-half-minute song, divided into 43 snippets lasting between eight seconds and almost three minutes, that dares to conquer the abstract concept of life, death and practically everything in between. It's a monumental undertaking and boasts a Pain of Salvation-like vision while making musical references to Evergrey, Symphony X and Jorn (Beyond Twilight's first singer).

Almost every kind of metal imaginable can be heard throughout For the Love of Art and the Making including progressive, symphonic, melodic and thrash/death. In fact, the record is almost too diverse, shifting the mood from Trans-Siberian Orchestra to Whitesnake to Malmsteen in mere seconds. Don't look for answers in the cryptic liner notes, which contain the lyrics but also such information as this about one particular musical passage: "The melody line is composed and played 'composed' backwards. The bass line is composed and played backwards as if it was recorded backwards. Played on keyboard, for instance, the right hand is playing the composed backwards melody line where the left hand is playing the bass line composition reversed as if it was recorded backwards. There is a significant difference between playing composed and recorded backwards. Here you have a mixture of both in one composition."

Alrighty, then.

For non-music geeks who still enjoy a challenge, For the Love of Art and the Making will keep you busy for hours, despite its short length. That's because, amazingly, the album still works as a significant piece of music when you shuffle all 43 tracks and play them randomly. But I can't stop feeling that this entire composition was created with more than a touch of arrogance on the part of its primary writer, keyboardist Finn Zierler.


Track Listing:
1) For the Love of Art and the Making

Added: May 28th 2006
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Score:
Related Link: Official Beyond Twilight Web Site
Hits: 4318
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Beyond Twilight: For the Love of Art and the Making
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-05-28 13:15:34
My Score:

For the Love of Art and the Making is the third Beyond Twilight album written, produced, and recorded by mastermind Finn Zierler and Jacob Hansen (with some help by Tommy Hansen). The lineup is the same except that Zierler's chosen a new singer for the album (the first two discs had different vocalists as well). Bjorn Jansson from Tears of Anger is the new singer who you will undoubtedly compare to previous guys Jorn Lande and Kelly Sundown Carpenter, especially during the heavier parts where he opts for some serious throaty vocals that sound amazing.

That said, the vocals are no where near as out front as on the previous releases this time around. On the contrary, they are slightly behind Zierler's dazzling keyboard work and Tomas Freden's pummeling drums. This, however, is definitely a conscious effort on both Zierler and Hansen's parts, as the vocal mix has a deep purpose to it. My understanding is that Zierler wanted to keep the vocals as just part of the songs, rather than the songs themselves, and therefore wrote some of the pieces emphasizing his diverse keyboard and piano sections (by far his most diverse to date) and left more space for heavy guitar runs. Yes, this album is a lot heavier than the earlier discs; its raw sound, crunchy guitar drive and impeccable rhythmic anchor make for one hell of a listen. The disc is divided into 43 sections (with three hidden cuts) and is reminiscent of Edge of Sanity - Crimson II in this aspect. However, all tracks smoothly bleed into each other, making a one-track album that clocks in at nearly 40 minutes.

Guesting two members from Circus Maximus (speaking of which, have you heard Circus Maximus' 2005 debut yet?), Truls Haugen and Michael Eriksen, For the Love of Art and the Making is the most complex album Finn Zierler has ever written. The album boasts passages laced with intricate instrumentation, where innumerable threads of melodies and riff-based textures are interwoven and embark on some of the most vivid and unorthodox keyboard lines and sequenced sections you'll hear. Zierler has really turned into a keyboard wizard here: the album is packed with blinding synth leads (and the guy solos like a madman!), atmospheric undercurrents, and waves of experimental soundscapes. The dark, cinematic aura that permeated the previous album Section X is readily available here as well, but the music also focuses on amazing guitar work, which seems to alternate between sparse yet effective riffery to terrific leads as on "Temptations" and hard-rocking cuts such as "Dark Wild Rage", a song that boasts huge drum beats, weird sound effects that almost border on industrial, hypnotic synth layerings, and vocals that are as aggressive as they get.

I stopped worrying about Zierler's choice of singers ever since he won me over with Kelly Sundown Carpenter doing a great job filling Jorn Lande's shoes. Bjorn Jansson is no exception. He proves to be a dangerously wicked singer, delivering each piece with utmost emotion on pieces like "The Perfect Heart" where we sings passionately over Zierler's solo piano during the intro before the duo are joined by a cool mutiple vocal arrangement; or the very Lande-inspired singing on "The Black Widow"; as well as the amazing "Purity", a track that combines his powerful voice with shredding guitars and moody synths; or on the simply courageous amalgamation of female choirs, blasbeat-type drums that would fit any death metal band, and excellent harmony vocals with the Circus Maximus guys. One other piece that immediately catches your attention is the second part of "Past the Magic", which is basically a composition made of rhythmic laughter and eerily recalls Jon Oliva to these ears. Moreover, there are so many recurrent themes in the album, as you will discover how many times the great melody and lyrics of the first piece are repeated in different parts through the course of the album.

Lyrically the album is equally intense and, while I've yet to sit and fully decipher the concept, it seems to deal with themes like life, death, love, dishonesty, lies, and so on. Reading the lyrics of the piece called "Sleeping Beauty" evoked words that mourned the loss of innocence to me, but other listeners may interpret them differently. Another thing about this album is that you may want to shuffle and observe how many new doors the experience may open for you. Depending on the order in which you listen to it, your perception of what Finn Zierler really tried to accomplish with this disc may become clearer and For the Love of Art and the Making may end up becoming one of your favourite discs of the year.

This album is a like puzzle where each section reinforces the other only to complicate the process. Still, I have to very highly recommend it to any fan of keyboard-infused dark prog metal with excellent vocals and lyrics.



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