Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Twilight - Monument to Time End

Full-length, Southern Lord
April 27th, 2010

What month is it? April? Seems early to claim that this release would be one of the top 5 releases of the year. But to be honest, the more I hear it, the more I feel this will be right up at the top of the pile come the end of the year.

Twilight is known as a USBM super group with members from the most prominent bands playing for them. The band roster consists of Blake Judd (Nachtmystium), Wrest (Leviathan, Lurker of Chalice), N. Imperial (Kreig), – and new recruits Stavros Giannopolous (The Atlas Moth), Sanford Parker (Minsk, Buried At Sea) and Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom). The band released a self titled album in 2005 with members of Nachtmystium, Leviathan, Kreig, Xasthur and Draugar to some rave reviews, only to disband a year later. With no reunion in sight, I was pleasantly surprised when I heard in early 2009 that some members decided to resurrect the band with a modified lineup. And the ‘modifications’ are the main reasons why this release has turned out to be nothing short of a masterpiece.

While the debut was very good, it lacked something. It appeared disconnected and incoherent at times; and that led to its downfall. Thankfully, these hitches have been ironed out in this release and the results are staggering. What we have here is one of the most impressive “dark” black metal albums to be made in a long time. It consists of the best of all of the aforementioned bands: An oppressive atmosphere screaming of despair and anguish, pounding riffs, intense psychedelia and a sick, filthy torturous layer of vocals. The band manages to create a blizzard of emotion and torment without compromising on any of the brute force.

Any inhibitions regarding this release were put to rest after listening to the opening track, ‘The Cryptic Ascension’- the song is descriptive of what the right lineup can do. It starts in a mid tempo pace until around 6 minutes in and it is extremely detailed in its structure. The vocals are tortured screams and are used excellently. Melodic and harmonic, without disrupting the overall atmosphere of the song. This track helps in setting up a perverse vicious mood for the rest of the album.

‘8000 years’ is intense. As the sound explodes from the speakers, you cant help but be smothered by the atmosphere of pure suffering and torment and you will struggle to get out of the state of emotional limbo imposed by the atmosphere. The mood is evil, yet so frantic and beautiful, its hard to escape.

‘Convulsions In Wells Of Fever’ and ‘Decaying Observer’ are similar to the songs in the debut album. They feature the speed and the atmospheric texture of the songs from the debut album. Although they are a lot more experimental, they are the closest to the primal sounding songs in this release.

Probably my favorite song on the album would be the closing track ‘Negative Cell Omega’. It leads to a change of direction, to a mood of depression, hopelessness and despondency. You are transported to a cold harsh place. A place where time stands still. A place where there is no light at the end. A place where there is only one escape –Death.

‘Monument to the End’ is a stunning release. Throughout listening to this album, the listener is made to step into the demented, maniacal realms of madness. It is mesmerizing and powerful. It is devastating and the feeling is of having the soul sucked out of your body as you listen. By the end of it, you are in a state of emotional emptiness. A state where happiness and joy is replaced by nothingness and vacuum. A state of nonexistence and nonbeing.

This release is not for the elitists who scorn experimentation in Black metal. If you approach this with an open mind, you will love this.


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