English Metal has roots in blue collar working man’s principles – channeling daily stress, struggle, and strife into some of the most mesmerizing material ever to surface on the planet. BLACK SABBATH
, JUDAS PRIEST
, on through to ANATHEMA
, MY DYING BRIDE
, and PARADISE LOST
- the country has a rich history of transforming darkness into beacons of light through its metal artists. So upon hearing the first strains of the debut full length album “By Darkness Undone”
from Nottingham, England’s TWILIGHT’S EMBRACE
, I knew I would be in for a melancholic Gothic / Doom / Death montage that reaches deep into all facets of my being and has me coming out the other side refreshed, renewed, and reignited.
When you are facing the prospects of a 7 song, 58 minute record, you know going in that the band prefer longer arrangements that probably explore all sides and shades of a particular genre. The opener “The Dry Land”
rolls along at a doom pace, a dual death / atmospheric clean vocal approach perfect for the dynamic contrast between drawn out riffs of an evil and plodding variety. Ben Sizer
and Dan Snowdon
serve up a healthy contrast at times as axe slingers – the melodic, slow moving parts intertwining against down tuned cascading chords on an early highlight “Ego Trip”
, the tortured vocals a companion to the best moments of INSOMNIUM
meets early PARADISE LOST
The band truly excel at painting musical landscapes through the widest dynamic shades possible. Morose individual clean guitars meeting headlong into baritone Gothic melodies as the electric distortion kicks in, the slightly above SENTENCED
mid-tempo rhythms causing brain and body to bounce as one. Or the dramatic pacing that pushes your ears on the brink of insanity – this is where “Fragments”
and “My Last Breath”
keep you coming back for continuous exposure.
If I were to pin down TWILIGHT’S EMBRACE
metal style, I would say they take a fair amount of influence from the Scandinavian melancholic Death / Gothic scene as they do from their own country’s lineage. There is atmosphere, contrast, heaviness, openness, passages that bring a tear to one’s eye and at other times cause aggressive outpourings. Being that this is a self-released venture, do not expect a pristine production, as I do feel the drums do sit a little back in the mix – but in the grand scheme of things, the professional songwriting development and execution from the quintet outshine this minor deficiency.
One of my early contenders in the top ten album of the year ranks, “By Darkness Undone”
is essential if you love that dark, melancholic Metal synthesis.