Twilight’s Embrace – By Darkness Undone

I am a fan of both doom metal and more extreme styles such as black and death metal, and as such the wicked procreation that is death doom holds great appeal. I love the monster riffs and melancholy from the doom side of the family, while reveling in the harsh vocals and darkness that inherits from the extreme side. It is safe to say that this is one of my favorite metal sub-genres right now.

Towards the end of March I received an email from Twilight’s Embrace, a melodic death doom band from Nottingham, England. The band is self-releasing their full-length debut, “By Darkness Undone.” With all my ranting lately about band’s sending material without any personal acknowledgment or biographical information, I just wanted to note that Twilight’s Embrace gave me everything I ask for: they addressed me by name and mentioned the site; they included a press release with bio information, a download link and artwork. The fact that I get excited by these little things should indicate how little effort is made by many bands.

Upon downloading the album, I started giving it a listen and right away knew I was going to enjoy “By Darkness Undone.” And then I proceeded to drop the ball.

I told the band I would get a review out at the end of April to coincide with the release of the album. I failed in keeping that deadline, and my only real excuse is that somehow the album disappeared from my phone; out of sight, out of mind. Luckily, that initial taste of the album kept tugging at the edges of my awareness and I remembered only a week late that I wanted to cover the band.

It would have been a real shame and a total blunder on my part to not end up covering Twilight’s Embrace, because “By Darkness Undone” completely epitomizes where my taste in metal runs these days: beautiful clean and quiet passages that give way to crushingly heavy slabs of metal, and haunting clean vocals that transform into deep and commanding harsh growls.

The songwriting and musicianship on “By Darkness Undone” are both top-notch. I could easily listen to an instrumental version of this album and be entranced by the music alone. Adding vocals to the mix just sweetens the pot. Clean vocals do not always show up in death doom, but in this case they really work; they sound great and add to the depressive atmosphere. The harsh vocals are well enunciated and tear through the fabric of the music to grab the listener’s attention.

Remember back at the beginning when I said the band is self-releasing the album? That’s right, these guys are not signed. Pardon me while my head explodes. Twilight’s Embrace is one of the rare bands that gets me really, really excited…and they aren’t even signed? I could totally hear this album on Peaceville or Rise Above or something even more substantial; labels should be clamoring to sign Twilight’s Embrace.

When I get excited by an album I tend to start looking ahead towards the end of the year and wondering whether I might be discussing it again come year-end-list-time. I have little doubt that Twilight’s Embrace will be making an appearance on my list. Metal fans; make sure to check these guys out. And for metal’s sake, someone please sign this band! Now check out the video for the album opener “The Dry Land.”