Released: 2004, Low Frequency Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Into symphonic, epic and thrashy black metal? Then keep on reading and you’ll satisfy your burning curiosity. Finland´s own cute-looking Beelzebub warriors Twilight Ophera have found a new home with the small and independent Low Frequency Records. They’ve also gone through many line-up changes after being dropped from England´s Cacophonous Records following their second album titled MIDNIGHT HORROR.
Without a record deal deep down in the pockets of their leather pants, the band still believed in themselves and entered the studio to record their next full-length album in the spring of 2003. THE END OF HALCYON AGE was later mixed at Sonic Pump Studios by Nino Laurenne (Thunderstone) in the summer 2003. The gamble paid off and Low Frequency Records signed the band to a two-album deal.
I have to admit that quite a lot of serious musical development has happened inside Twilight Ophera within the past few years, ever since the day they recorded MIDNIGHT HORROR in 1998. This is probably due to the new line-up that contains a couple of very experienced musicians, namely Jussi “Lord” Heikkinen (Souldgrind) on bass and Janne Ojala (Silentium/Gloomy Grim) on drums. Twilight Ophera succeed in kicking your nuts in a somewhat pleasing way on their previous two albums and on this new record they do exactly the same. However, this time they are able to bring you to the next level of pleasure and ecstasy by doing things in a more convincing and determined way. As a reference, the changes in sound are similar to what Dimmu Borgir did between PURITANICAL EUPHORIC MISANTHROPIA and DEATH CULT ARMAGEDDON. THE END OF HALCYON AGE is more epic, symphonic and more soundtrack-ish sounding without losing their crucial evil, aggressive and brutal sound. Twilight Ophera has quite skillfully painted their blackish horizon with some extra special colors of darkness and evil in order to bring some more depth.
The band sounds much tighter and better than ever before and it’s no exaggeration to say that they have done their best album to date. A wide use of different atmospheres from some straight-forward, hateful, utterly twisted and brutal moments (“Chaosworm”) to some almost trance-like, pompous, nicely harmonic yet quite breathtaking and epic parts (“Trapped in Husk Of A White Crow”) are what make this album a success. There aren’t any weak links in the album to be ranted about. Not only technically, but also in the songwriting department Twilight Ophera have found a formula that should carry them far in the world of extreme metal. This album should move quite a mass of people. Dimmu Borgir fans especially. Though songs like “Trapped In Husk Of A White Crow” and “Leperthrone” shamelessly follow the Dimmu Borgir mold, Twilight Ophera have earned my blessing as a talented black metal act. THE END OF HALCYON AGE is a very strong release, both content and production-wise. I suppose there’s gonna be lots of takers for this album in the coming months.