Twilight – Monument To Time End (Southern Lord Records)

Monday, 18th March 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

A great idea from the start, Twilight nearly burned out after its killer self-titled album from 2005. With members of Nachtmystium (who weren’t big back then), Xasthur (who were big back then), Krieg (kinda big), and Leviathan (same) in tow, apparently some egos got in the way, which is strange, considering how “ego-less” basement black metal tries to make itself out to be. Exit Xashthur’s Malefic; enter Isis’ Aaron Turner (score!) uber-producer Sanford Parker and Atlas Moth’s Stavros. The result is the scathing, utterly memorableMonument To Time End, which is a fully-realized, cinematic affair that utilizes the collective strengths of the members involved, like any good supergroup should.

The backbone of this eight-song effort is necro black metal of the American variety. Eschewed is the regulated speed and bite of Nordic BM, replaced with more atmosphere without going backwoods on us, which we’re guessing is where Parker came in. Because of this (and the new members), Twilight takes a few chances most BM bands wouldn’t, namely the gliding indie rock segue during opener “The Cryptic Ascension,” which is a welcome surprise. It’s a significant mood change; basically flying in the face of most BM conventions and it works like a charm.

From there, Twilight evokes the warped, highly oppressive scope of its collective (lots of early Nachtmystium nods on “Fall Behind Eternity”), while going for broke on album highlight “8,000 Years.” Here, the band combines the sensibilities of Isis during a spacey breakdown, culminating in a mesmeric closing sequence that sees a twirling melodic guitar line meld with the desperate howls of Leviathan’s Wrest. Some experimentation runs through “Convulsions in Wells of Fever,” which we assume is natural since that’s where Nachtmystium is and Sanford Parker always is, while “Decaying Observer” and closer “Negative Signal Omega” are genuinely throttling shards of USBM.

The two worlds of USBM and the metalgaze spectrum have always had this parallel to them. Atmosphere is central to what they do, even if it’s used in different ways, thus making Twilight’s line-up totally in-synch with one another. We’re just getting out of the first quarter of 2010 and it looks like this will be standard by which kvlt black metal would be judged by. Riveting…with no corpse paint to be found.

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