Monument to Time End
When it comes to black metal, most would not consider the United States to be a major force to be reckoned with. Norway simply cannot be matched as far as impact and brute force goes in this extreme sub-genre, yet lately American bands have been growing in leaps and bounds in respect to the innovations within black metal, bringing this often mis-understood and infamous music into the light so to speak and giving a growing fan base a glimpse into this world that is both dark and beautiful. Signed to Southern Lord Records, Twilight is a collective of American black metal musicians who have come together under this moniker, bringing one of the most aggressive sounds to the ever expanding roster of this style in the States.
With their second album, Monument to Time End, core members N. Imperial (Krieg, N.I.L.), Blake Judd (Nachtmystium), and Wrest (Leviathan) bring forth an expanded lineup including Minsk's Sanford Parker, Stravros Giannopoulos from the Atlas Moth, and Aaron Turner who hails from both Isis and Old Man Gloom. If you know anything about any of these individuals' other material, you can pretty much guess what you will be in store for with this particular album. As a whole, the record brings together the classic elements of black metal and adds certain bells and whistles that give Twilight it's unique sound. A great deal of the music gives more atmospheric and even psychedelic twists to the mix, yet still remaining true to the dark and heavy music on the album. Opening track, "The Cryptic Ascension" begins with varied dynamics and a tempo that is far from hectic blast-beats, relying heavily on a strong sense of groove. This opens things up tremendously, as the majority of the album follows suite, concentrating on the dynamic direction of each and every song. The vocals have more of a high rasp to them, which is always a strong asset in my book, avoiding the death-metal growls all together while still conveying plenty of agony and distress. Other highlights include the more straight-ahead black metal sounds of "Convulsions in Wills of Fever" and "Decaying Observer", two of the albums heaviest by far.
Overall, Monument to Time End is a great sophomore effort that is sure to gain Twilight the ground it needs to become one of the most talked about metal records of 2010 as it brings something to the table that will satisfy fans of heavy music ranging from doom, to black metal. Though each and every member has their own full time bands that occupy their time, this album has a strong sense of congruity and harmony that none of these other bands have given me in the past. Twilight has something about it where every thing is in it's right place and thus deserves a place up on the shelf with American black metal behemoths including Wolves in the Throne Room and Aggaloch. -Andrew Bryant