Review Summary: The Black Metal supergroup return and are joined by some new faces.
Back in 2005, a host of heavy hitters from the American Black Metal scene joined together to form Twilight. With the combined presence of Leviathan mastermind Wrest, Nachtmystium's Azentrius, and Xasthur's Malefic, to name a few, anticipation was high regardless of your stance on the aforementioned musicians. Unfortunately, their self-titled debut was a letdown to say the least. Instead of molding their talents into the bleak masterpiece many were hoping for, they decided to play it safe and rehashed ideas already found on the members' other releases, combining them into a hit or miss cocktail of shrieks and shoddy recording techniques. Shortly after the release of their debut, the band disbanded and returned to the darkened bedrooms from whence they came.
Four years later, three fourths of the band reunited under the Twilight moniker once again and recruited multi-instrumentalist, and Isis mastermind, Aaron Turner to fill the spot left by Malefic's departure, and in the process they snagged Sanford Parker of Minsk and Stavros of Sludge upstarts The Atlas Moth to round out their new line-up. An upgrade if there ever was one. Now the only question left was if they would deliver the goods this time around with their sophomore release Monument to Time End
. The answer is a resounding yes.
Monument to Time End
is a monumental improvement over Twilight
. To be honest, the similarities between the two are practically nil, other than the fact that they both feature Wrest, Azentrius, and Imperial (Krieg). Monument to Time End
is a stunning display of the original members' Black Metal heritage mixed with the effects heavy, atmospheric soundscapes of their newest arrivals. The album's opener “The Cryptic Ascention” begins with a riff that is instantly recognizable as belonging to Turner. If it wasn't for the wall of heavily distorted, high-pitched screams splitting through Turner's meandering melody like a hot knife through butter, it might be thought that his influence has hi-jacked Twilight, but as demonstrated throughout Monument to Time End
, this is clearly a group effort. The end result is a near perfect melding of Post-Metal and Black Metal, and not just a retread of bands like Alcest and Wolves in the Throne Room, who both have received critical acclaim working with a similar ideal. Tracks like “Decaying Observer” are driven by Wrest's breakneck drumming and Azentrius' hazy guitar work, but right alongside it Turner lays down a hauntingly beautiful chord progression that creates a dichotomy between light and dark, ugliness and beauty, before it is extinguished in the eerie waves of Parker's synth programming . It is this musical symbiosis that fuels what Twilight have become; every song a shining example of what collaborations between like-minded musicians should be: a shared experience.
Obviously, there will be those that liked the original Twilight line-up more and will write off Aaron Turner and Sanford Parker's contributions in steering them away from the depressive Black Metal sound of their debut, but they are missing the point. With a group of musicians coming together such as this, the goal for all of those involved should be to experiment and broaden their musical horizons in new ways. They should want to transcend their previous works and create something with its own unique identity that doesn't just float by on their collective notoriety. With Monument to Time End
Twilight have done just that.