"Monument to Time End"

(Southern Lord 2010)Twilight - Monument to Time End

By and large, "supergroups" are usually terrible. When well-known musicians record together, you'd expect some sort of exponential creativity law to apply, but they usually end up stepping all over each other and shitting out music far inferior to the sum of the parts. And while the guys in Twilight might not be the model of what you'd call a "star," casual metal fans should be sufficiently well-versed in each member's material to argue that point. Nachtmystium's Blake Judd, Wrest of Leviathan, and black metal stalwart N. Imperial are holdovers from Twilight's 2005 debut, but they've recruited a more interesting supporting cast for "Monument to Time End." Along for the ride are Stavros Giannopolous (The Atlas Moth), Sanford Parker (Minsk/producer extraordinaire), and most interestingly, Aaron Turner of Isis.

In a case of defying the odds, the various particles of Twilight fuse into a distinct element with a surprisingly fleshed out group dynamic. "The Cryptic Ascension" begins with some doomy riffs of Sabbathian proportions, transitions slightly clumsily into what could be an Isis passage if it were dragged through a razor-lined mudhole, then finally storms into a complete black metal whirlwind. "Fall Behind Eternity" instead opens with some atmospheric haze before dropping the hammer on a dizzying vortex of filth and fury interspersed with eerie atmospherics. Other songs blend a little more fluidly, such as the electronics-inflected midpaced churn of "3000 Years;" but there are a few instances in the back half of the album where the confluence of styles doesn't gel into something totally cohesive, with the spacey whooshing effects smack dab in the middle of "Decaying Observer" being a prime offender. Overall, though, the mixture of lots of sludge and a bit of Isis styling into the black metal cauldron makes for a fresh brew.

The bottom line is that all the best, or at the very least the most interesting, black metal these days is being made by bands that ditch the trad sensibilities and push their music in a more interesting direction. "Monument to Time End" achieves this to far greater effect than Nachtmystium's "Addicts," Judd's other genre-bending BM album released this year. No word on whether the Twilight project will continue, with this cast of characters or otherwise, but for now we have an album that's anything but the kryptonite that supergroups usually produce.


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