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A Map of Past and Future Music - 90%

Barad_dur, July 27th, 2010

I brew in the summer heat, lights off and in a trance. The sounds reverberate out of the boxes on my desk, and I am reminded of so many things. This is Twilight, an American metal-scene super-group that with this album, should be skyrocketed into the musical world at large. At first I was hesitant at the line-up, which is new for this recording, as this is probably an album that will get a lot of flack from the “hipster metal” haters out there, just because it isn't through and through raw or old school. Nonetheless 'Monument to Time End' is a bleak and very grim representation of our world today and possibly even the future. There are many things on this record that you will immediately recognize as trademarks of the various musician's other projects, but this is really a thing all its own. It is obvious that this is more of a band effort than the last twilight album, which was good in its own right but ill-connected. This new version of the band, with three new members, is pushing the boundaries of black metal and music in general.

Each of the members clearly has their influence. However, there is a post rock and psychedelic aspect to this album in a way different than the kind found on Isis albums or in Nachtmystium's latest works. There is a dark and protruding atmosphere in the non-metal influences that is rare. An industrial influence is vaguely apparent as well but where this album really shines is in the equilibrium between the black metal and the not so black metal. The raging distortion of guitars is decidedly heavy, especially in the first riff of the whole album where we even see the 'Panopticon' style sludge seep in. It is really great to see that there are a lot of bands in the scene today that are trying to push genre barriers, and the American scene seems to be generating a bunch these days.

It is not a perfect album but it does what it sets out to do and it pursues its goal the whole length of the album, with little to no filler. Some of the most stand out aspects of this album are in the drums. Wrest is credited as the only drummer and he seriously shows an amazing talent. With both the Leviathan and Lurker of Chalice albums I was already a fan of the guy, but I never knew how good of a drummer he was. He throws cymbal hits and beats into odd places that fit while creating a dense and churning catharsis. He will go on minute after minute with a blastbeat, all the while keeping the atmosphere during which he will slowly change it into something different. Like gears in a machine he compels the music forward. During certain parts you wonder what the jam sessions for this record were like, with four of the six members all handling guitars. A further component of the sounds in this disc that really grants mention is the production. Without the production job this album garnishes, it would probably sound like garbage. Not every album can pull off the 'In the Nightside Eclipse' cave-like grind. The bass is very important in the levels, not necessarily as an instrument but as a thickness in the guitars. However, as with every album worth anything, every part is important to make the whole enjoyable and possibly, transcendent.

Sonically this album can be compared to drifting through a closed eye visual world of decay and disintegration. As the title of the album proclaims, it is a Monument to Time End, the end of everything we know. Without time our world becomes obsolete and we see things as they really are, infinite. I see this piece of music as a dedication to the exploration of consciousness into the deeper, and darker aspects of existence. As a further note, the end of this album is pretty much why the whole thing makes sense to me.