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Twilight: Monument To Time End

Before the word Twilight conjured up images of would be teen Goths all traipsing off to the cinema to watch watered down vampire flicks that really only deliver the usual love tales that every movie aimed at girls of that age do, but with "scary" white faces. Twilight the band released a debut album. Back in 2005 Blake Judd (Nachtmystium), Wrest (Leviathan) and N. Imperial (Krieg), unleashed a black metal album that whilst hitting the mark in terms of aggression and fury, failed to register much support outside of the genres supporters. Move on another five years and those three main protagonists have come together once more to unleash their anger; however Twilight 2010 is a beast of quite different proportions. Added to the line up for Monument To Time End are Stavros Giannopolous (The Atlas Moth), Sanford Park (Minsk, Buried At Sea) who also produces the album and Aaron Turner (Isis). Robert Lowe of Lichens and OM also joined the band in the studio to add some clean vocals to Imperial's tortured screams and while initially his contribution was only meant to be on one track, the experiment worked so well, Lowe ends up on three of the eight songs here.

So with such a disparate collection of outside musical influences, it should come as no surprise to anybody that Twilight have not deemed it fit to just churn out a standard run of the mill black metal album like their debut. Yes the massive guitar rumblings, drum chaos and vocal howls you would expect from this genre are all in place, but the introduction of Giannopolous, Park and Turner has opened up a new door for this band and in turn they have not wasted the opportunity and stepped through to the other side. Layers of moog, acoustic and even slide guitar have all been subtly added to the mix of roaring riffs, pounding bass and steam roller drums, to create a sound that is as fresh as it is aggressive and as mesmerising as it is torturous.

N. Imperial's vocals are proud and bold, however having his full throttle delivery (should that be full throatled delivery?), backed by Lowe alongside, in places almost Gregorian Chanting, heighten the impact of his uncompromising yells. An unusually strong sense of melody infuses much of the insistent attack across the album with "Red Fields" slowly building from a drum rumbling cry to war into a glorious mix of Moog and guitars that allow the vocals to dominate, before a short silence is broken by the strumming of acoustic guitar and the wail of the electric. Then Lowe's vocals change the focus once more and the track fades out as it began. It is this ability to alter the style without losing the flow of the music that really begins to set out Monument To Time End as something bold and new for the black metal genre.

"8,000 Years" sets an almost up tempo (think Trouble) doom riff against Parker's effects and the vibe is positively bright in contrast to what has come before. Wrest, who ably handles bass, some guitars and backing vocals, also hammers the drums on this album and I have to say that his performance is simply stunning. He pounds, pummels and hammers with the best of them; however it is the more subtle colours that he also brings that make this performance a stand out. Angular time changes, atmospheric use of toms and cymbals during the more restrained passages and the under rated ability to know when to rein things in and when to go hammer and tongs allows the songs the space to evolve and change within themselves.

None of the tracks are under five minutes, however instead of resulting in self indulgent black metal noodling, what Twilight do is constantly shift their point of attack as the songs mature. The best case in point being "The Catastrophe Exhibition" which flows through harmony guitars that back Imperial's most passionate vocal, acoustic refrains, tribal drumming and an almost funky break that turns you on your head. It sounds like a band being clever for the sake of it and in less skilled hands it may have been, however Twilight nail it every time.

Subtly clever, and brutally effective, Monument To Time is an album capable of changing preconceptions towards black metal and completely engulfing those already under its spell.

Track Listing
1. The Cryptic Ascension
2. Fall Behind Eternity
3. 8,000 Years
4. Red Fields
5. Convulsions In Wells Of Fever
6. Decaying Observer
7. The Catastrophe Exhibition
8. Negative Signal Omega

Added: July 5th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Twilight MySpace
Hits: 2188
Language: english

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