Nobody would really have expected that this USBM meeting of minds would have made it to a third album and be signed by Century Media when they released their debut self-titled album back in 2005. It was an album that many had highly anticipated and grabbed at the first opportunity, myself included. The call of a band featuring innovators such as Imperial (Krieg) Wrest (Leviathan), Malefic (Xasthur) Blake Judd (Nachtmystium) and Hildorf (Draugar) could not be overlooked even if it was a somewhat primitive affair produced from the illusive members swapping cassettes back and forth among themselves. Breaking up shortly afterwards it was a case of a bit of underground history that many thought would never be repeated but five years is a lot of time and cast members had become a lot less mysterious and started adopting real names partly due no fact to the demystification of the Internet. So with second album ‘Monument To Time End’ in 2010 there was a rapid and much more sophisticated stylistic shift all round, one evident on playing the albums back to back immediately. With this shift the players had new life with Sanford Parker, Aaron Turner and Stavros Giannopolous from such non-black metal bands as Isis, Atlas Moth and Minsk in, and Malefic and Draugur out. Fast forward another four years and Beneath Trident’s Tomb is ready to be unveiled as what is declared to be their final album yet again. Thurston Moore who has played in the likes of Sonic Youth and Swans is now in on guitar and vocals and, well let’s just say that Blake Judd was well and truly out and I doubt many of the remaining members have anything particularly great to say about their past relationship.
It’s immediately evident that the combined weight of the line-up have brought the music of Twilight ever forward into a caustic and at times seething mass that is no easy listen. Then again that is exactly what we wanted from it and as ‘Lungs’ constrictively squalls in with a welter of almost scything white noise you know you are in for an uncomfortable listening experience. This has a very Godfleshian beat behind it, tribal and rhythmic, slowly oozing out hate from the combined vocals. It sounds like Jameson is handling the low decrepit, throat retching low gurgling growls and by contrast there are some higher rafter hitting yells (I am guessing Moore) flying upwards in the background. It’s ugly, filthy and sounds completely contaminated, perfect! ‘Oh, wretched Son’ expands around a looping guitar riff and in doing so allows further definition delivering a less constrictive mass with some of the melodic tones one would expect from some of the players other projects. It still grates and gnaws away with the vocals and sudden surges of pummelling density thrown in seeing the track lurching off like the hounds of hell are on its tail. Listen carefully there’s some combined clean but distorted vocals burrowing their way out of here, I am reminded a bit of Today Is The Day by their effect and the whole song has now gone into a deluge of sound that attacks over and over again before deconstructing with eerie sounds and vocals like babbling demons possessing a tortured soul.
‘Seething Funereal Mass’ slowly lumbers in with doomy bass heavy riffs before hellacious vocals bite and a mesmerising looped melody fills the spaces. It may not seethe as suggested but it controls and takes over and when what sounds like a long sonic pulse comes out the ether it feels like your ears are bleeding at loud volumes (perhaps I should turn it down). I have avoided using the phrase post-metal but its presence is all over things at times such as ‘Seek No Shelter Fevered Ones,’ which jams away and meanders with the instrumentation somewhat loose and natural sounding. The fevered screams are still there though and you do wonder what on earth is coming next, sure enough things pick up a gear, guitars discordantly shred and grind and the drumming batters away as the song picks off and blazes away for almost 9 glorious and hateful minutes.
There may only be six songs and the album is but 41 minutes long but for those prepared to face the abyss there is so much depth to it you will not be disappointed. It continues with ‘A Flood Of Eyes’ with maudlin melody as a backdrop to the ever present gurgling vocal clamour and what feels like a morass of tones all waiting to come through and have their say. Gloomy and stygian the feeling is as the title suggests, one that you are being watched and it’s an uncomfortable one before the song explodes and at least you can see what horrors you are facing. In a word’ ugh’ and I get the same sort of dread that I would with this album overall from listening to the likes of The Royal Arch Blaspheme, with the sludgy doom of Isis and the grating guitar attack of Lord Mantis. It is a return to base elements for what could well be the final Twilight track though. ‘Below Lights’ has a mechanical clunk and an industrial feel to it as did the opener and reminds of everything from Fudge Tunnel to Nailbomb and Leech Woman as it clanks on to execution.
So this is probably it! No live shows for sure and a wait of five years or so in the hope that the band may have a change of heart and materialise again. If not at least the cast have plenty of other projects to entertain us with and they have gone out in a blaze of fiery hellish glory here. Entering Trident’s Tomb is not advised for the uninitiated though, here terror lurks; you have been warned.
(8.5/10 Pete Woods)