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A solid first outing. - 82%

christinhell, March 19th, 2009

I recently procured WinterRealm's Twilight. The first thing that I noticed was keyboards. In my book, solo BM and keyboards usually aren't a good thing. There are just too many corpsepainted cutters with a Casio that end up sounding like Fear of Eternity. Thankfully, this was not one of those acts. I would even venture to guess that Aetas, the man behind WinterRealm, has had at least a minimal amount of formal piano training.

The 6 songs comprising Twilight are generally mid-paced while remaining propulsive (think the main riff in Enslaved - Lunar Forced) alternating with a mid-paced two-beat feel (think just about anything Drudkh). The guitars are competently played. Nothing to fancy, but nothing sloppy in the least. Vocally, Aetas falls between a snarl and growl, which alternates with an almost calm spoken voice, and competent singing (most prominently featured in Perdition (White Light)).

Here is where the keys come in. While I do admit they are mostly tastefully done, they often overpower the guitars in terms of producing atmosphere, reducing the guitar to a rhythm instrument. I must stress that this is personal opinion and that they are not in the mix at the front or anything like that.

Two tracks here are not black metal. The fourth track, Fractal, is a droning track of minimalist electronica. Very well done, but doesn't match the feel of the rest of the album. The final track, Memories In Crimson Haze, sounds like a mix between Death's Voice of the Soul, and any of Agalloch's neo-folk material. Here, the guitar finally is drenched in the atmosphere that was sometimes swallowed by the keys.

Overall I think this is a solid first effort, and a definite purchase of worth. My only gripes were from the keys, but it is not enough to deflate a very solid release.