Vanitas by In Twilight's Embrace

Release date: September 22, 2017
Label: Arachnophobia Records

In Twilight’s Embrace has just released a new full-length album entitled Vanitas. The band’s latest effort is a more personal one, closely inspired by the recent deaths of some family members of the band. Vanitas is an exploration into mysteries unanswered since the dawn of civilization – the frailty of flesh, and the uncertainty of existence after death. Many bands explore this area of thought, but In Twilight’s Embrace attempts the same effort with less cliché, with music that can stand on its own without the conceptual themes that make the lyrics interesting. The minor chords brood with melancholy and the uptempo and brief slower sections all encompass a range of emotions that underlies said concept.

The music is what piques my interest the most here. Particularly because the music parallels the band’s content closely, depicting mood and emotion accurately without a detailed explanation doing so for fans. This is when content is strongest. Many bands explain how their albums hover around ideology, content, ideas, but when the music they create expresses these things without the assistance of a press release explaining said content carefully, the music impresses even more so than efforts with difficult and complex conceptualization do when the latter’s music does not endear fans to relate.

In Twilight’s Embrace plays some uptempo ragers here for fans who like intense moshpit-friendly violence. The band also plays ambient spoken word interludes that complement the content and music well. Every so often, the band slows down and features good songwriting chops in the seamless transition of riffs and segments. Vanitas is one of the better modern black metal releases I’ve heard this year. This could be their breakthrough effort. It reminds me of Terzij de Horde’s multi-faceted, conceptually powerful effort, Self, in musical style and direction.

My favorite track is track number six, called ‘Futility’. The album is strong from top to bottom, but ‘Futility’ has the most memorable exchanges between music and lyrics, slowing down to express slow dissolution and speeding up to personify the rapid progression of death and degeneration. The song is the catchiest even though it hardly matters whether a band intentionally attempts to produce some catchy hit-single style music to attract mass appeal. Album closer, ‘The Grand Leveller’, also features a catchy intro riff that transitions wonderfully throughout the song.

To close this article, this is another quality effort from the band, and is clearly the best it has produced so far. End of year lists should mention Vanitas to some frequency, in spite of the unlikelihood that most writers will include a very underground, DIY label effort. Vanitas may play more prototypical black metal stemming from the heavily-outdated second wave style, but In Twilight’s Embrace doesn’t strictly conform to the template. The production is more suitably modern in order to emphasize the great musicianship it takes to play music frequently as fast-paced as In Twilight’s Embrace does. The album is hard to stop listening to without finishing. Repeat listens uncover segments that have not risen to memory before.

The band should be proud of this release. And, if justice is ever a hallmark of music journalism for bands that release celebrated albums that deserve the coverage and media attention, Vanitas should get its share of recognition. If not, it’s just another day in the world of mass-media manipulation and big markets pronouncing the determination of celebrated genius the way it has for years, ignoring bands and releases that inspire most mainstream efforts in the first place. Intelligent black metal like In Twilight’s Embrace’s Vanitas, trumps mass-media marketing. You are invited to a full-length album’s worth of musical progression in metal. Should you accept this, you will likely be able to experience catharsis, and should you decline, you will with all likelihood, forever plead ignorance.

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