Featuring the same orchestral mastermind behind the stunning symphonic Death/Doom début by Abyssic, Images at Twilight is essentially a Black Metal version of this, (or the other way around, actually, as this album came first), with rich, sumptuous orchestration and classical grandness.
Like Abyssic, this doesn’t pull any symphonic punches. Images at Twilight’s sound is big, bold, brash and unapologetic in its epic scope and nature.
Like the best of this kind of music, the orchestration is an absolutely integral part of the band, rather than being simply something that’s tacked on at the end. Also like the best of this kind of music though, the rest of the band are strong enough to not be overshadowed by these symphonic aspects.
Images at Twilight have a good range across these songs, taking in everything from blasting intensity to atmospheric soundscapes, and they sound damn good while they do it.
The guitars and drums have that tasty blackened fragility to them, as transient as an icicle but just as hard and dangerous in the right hands; power and brittleness in one. Although it may not sound like it, I find this a very enjoyable sound to have in Black Metal. I’m probably not describing it very well, but it’s a curious type of tone that makes me think of fragility and strength at the same time, which allows bands like this to be equally good at both harshness and emotive content.
The singer screams, growls and chants his way through the musical highways, reminding me of the singer of Dimmu Borgir in some aspects, (musically too; in trying to describe the overall sound of the band, a more extravagant and extreme version of Dimmu Borgir would be a good simplistic reference point to start from).
This is easily the best orchestral/symphonic Black Metal release I’ve heard in some time. The cinematic classical elements fused with the cutting Black Metal makes for an overwhelmingly enjoyable listen and Kings is appropriately majestic.