Released: 2010, Southern Lord
After five years away, black metal super group Twilight has returned. The band was formed in 2004 by icons of the USBM scene including Wrest (Leviathan), Malefic (Xasthur), Hildolf (Draugar), N. Imperial (Krieg), and Blake Judd (Nachtmystium) and released one slightly disappointingly average album in 2005 before disappearing back into the mists. Back now with a very different line up, and presumably hoping for better results, the band have unleashed their second assault on the senses.
As I said, the band is different in 2010 than it was six years ago. Malefic has disappeared from the scene completely, and Hildolf is also long gone. In their place, the band has recruited members of the American drone/doom scene to change things up. Thus, Sanford Parker (Minsk), Aaron Turner (Isis) and Stavros Giannopolous (The Atlas Moth) have joined the band and immediately made their presence felt. Indeed, although opener “The Cryptic Ascension” suggests MONUMENT TO TIME END will be another standard black metal attack, the following songs quickly dispel that notion. “Fall Behind Eternity” brings in the creepy effects and dream-like guitar explorations that drone scene is known for, before collapsing back in an explosion of vicious black metal. “Red Fields” will likely be a divisive song among fans, with is thumping bass beat and more psychedelic themes. So too will the closing “Negative Signal Omega” with its pure spaced-out dreamscape and absolute lack of black metal; except for N.Imperial’s vocals, which keep the entire album firmly grounded in USBM.
As a sonic experiment, the album is actually quite successful with its goal of blending black metal and experimental drone. As I said, it’s clear that the album is securely based in black metal, but the shoe-gazing experimental sides of Wrest and Blake Judd allow their sludgey brethren to contribute much and actually enhance the band. Unfortunately for me, 90% of drone music is boring as hell which kind of drags down this album for me at times. Your mileage will vary depending on your tolerance for the subgenres being mixed, but MONUMENT TO AN END can still be regarded as a success, and an improvement upon its humble predecessor.