Twilight

Monument to Time End

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For all of the mystery and rumored occult ritual typically associated with their chosen style of music, American black metal supergroup Twilight came to record their second album, 2010's Monument to Time End, under astonishingly businesslike circumstances. In a nutshell: when Leviathan mastermind Wrest (real name Jeff Whitehead) told his Twilight coconspirator and Nachtmystium leader Blake Judd that he would be passing through the latter's home base of Chicago in January 2009, the duo decided to call in vocalist N. Imperial (Judas Iscariot, Krieg, etc.) from the outlying suburbs, and then drafted new members in Stavros Giannakopoulos (the Atlas Moth), Sanford Parker (renowned underground producer), and most curiously, Aaron Turner, of post-metal icons Isis! So it goes without saying that all of this experience and talent, both in the studio and behind the mixing desk, was bound to produce something rather unique, as the six members of Twilight 2.0 juggled multiple instrumental responsibilities and shared in the album's songwriting process. But what will probably surprise most Twilight fans is how much the end results were affected by Turner's, and, lest we forget, Parker's body of work in the metal-gaze arena -- specifically as relates to the protracted duration and hypnotic atmospheres encircling much of this material. Never fear, black metal's unmistakable sonic trademarks (scratch vocals, buzzsaw riffs, blastbeats) still rear up in all of their morbid magnificence, side by side with these alien visitors (and pretty much dominate "Convulsions in Wells of Fever"), and when the two strains mesh seamlessly in the likes of "The Cryptic Ascension," "8,000 Years," and "The Catastrophe Exhibition," the sensory devastation is nothing short of triumphant. After all, since the start of the third millennium, the black metal avant-garde has arguably been pushing genre limits more aggressively than any other metallic bifurcation, short of what is usually described as post-metal, making Twilight's union of the two seem far more sensible and natural at second glance. And, given the unlikely chance of such an ensemble coming together again in the future, Monument to Time End will likely be a one-off in its own right, but that doesn't mean some version of Twilight won't be heard from again.

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