Supporters of black metal approached this USBM collaboration with skepticism. Twilight is composed of the core members of Nachtmystium, Krieg, Xasthur, Leviathan, and Draugar. While each of these bands have their original sound, the end result of the different types of BM clashing with each other is nothing short of unearthly. The guitars display a perfect balance between the depressive beauty of Xasthur, the grim obscurity of Leviathan, and the nihilistic chaos of Krieg. Vocals are switched between Malefic, Wrest, and Lord Imperial; each of them a hellish and original vocalist in their own right. Many of the vocals are distorted and layered with delay, giving the vocals an all-around cavernous atmosphere. Imperial’s raw screams coupled with Wrest’s painful shrieks and wails sounds like Hell itself, and Malefic’s painful and muffled hoarse cries of misanthropy will chill to the bone.
Firstly, the composition here is incredible. The majority of the songs allow all the different faces of the artist to shine through, all while keeping it managable and fresh. Xasthur-like arpeggios and minor-chord strummings echo over the driving and grim power chord bashings of Azentrius and Imperial. The layering of multiple instruments is obvious, and even for a straight BM album, there’s tons of experimentation going on. (Most likely coming from Wrest and Azentrius.) Many of the songs utilize ambient synths and beautiful yet sad-sounding clean guitars with e-bows. The guitars also have a lot going on as well, and thankfully the riffs can still be deciphered through the moderate fuzz in the production, which shows that black metal can still be raw and unbridled, but still be digestible to most ears.
The atmosphere is incredible, alternating between dementia-like states of “Woe is the Contagion” and the detached and cerebral depression of “As the March of Worms” or “Beyond Flight (Beautiful and Malignant)”. It all comes together as the blackest catharsis in audio form, finding the beauty in decay and nihilism.
I highly recommend this album to anyone looking for obscure, real, and unbridled BM. Twilight’s debut is by far one of the best BM albums to come out in the past few years.
Favorites: “Exact Agony, Take Life”, “As the March of Worms”, “White Fire Under Black Text”, “Swollen Voices in Silence.”