Doom is great. Long live Doom – a metal subgenre that somehow seems to be impervious to the constant re-invention and `trendifying’ that other subgenres have to put up with. Doom bands just seem to do what they do, regardless of whether it will ever be in fashion, or even regardless of whether anyone else is listening. Nottingham’s Twilight’s Embrace are one such band, carving out their own furrow in the bleak, desolate and sometimes lonely plains of the doom scene.
The gloomy music on display here is mostly what people would call Gothic Doom/Death, or some combination of those three words. However, that rather clumsy moniker doesn’t really do this album justice. Like all metal bands, there are indeed hints at their influences; thundering power chords with melancholic arpeggios drifting over the top of them is a favourite of this band, reminiscent of the masters of the genre; Paradise Lost and Anathema in particular. However, this isn’t the only string to their bow. Twilight’s Embrace have a real flair for the epic, adding some very moribund clean vocals on each track, as well as some earth shattering death roars. The songs are fairly long, yet never dull, and really convey a sense of bleak despair.
There is a good sense of dynamics here, the lack of which can often cause a doom metal band to become dull and repetitive. Instead, Twilight’s Embrace move from grisly, deathly poundings, to melodic yet melancholy metal, to expansive, sweeping, almost dream-like sections, to crushing, heavy doom. It is clear that a lot of thought and creativity has gone into the song writing. The band are certainly capable of writing a riff or two, and they are pretty devastating at a headbanging mid-pace, as well as when they are crawling along in the depths of misery.
Overall, I am impressed with this debut album. The band have great songs, and an epic and rather unique style of their own, which fuses several different doom elements together to create a great quality album. They aren’t afraid of dynamic, creative and adventurous song writing, nor are they adverse to injecting great gobbets of melody into their grim craft. This is all complemented perfectly by a fantastically well-balanced production courtesy of Greg Chandler. I must admit, this rather gothic style of doom didn’t grab me straight away, but like the encroaching darkness at the end of the day, Twilight’s Embrace really grew on me. If this high quality, finely crafted album is the first full release from a young band, imagine what they could do on future releases.
(8.5/10 Jon Butlin)