IN TWILIGHT'S EMBRACE - Vanitas (ARACHNOPHOBIA Records LP 2017)
I know that a lot have already been written about this record. And I know that I'm really late with my review of "Vanitas". But when I first heard one song on YouTube I knew that it's be a fantastic album and I didn't want to spoil my impression with some mp3 promos or even CD copy would not satisfy me. I waited for "Vanitas" to come out on vinyl version. And yes, finally it's been released, two months after the CD version came out. Was it worth waiting? Yes, it was. Not only I was lucky to get one of 20 ultra limited smoky vinyl, but the music really blew my head off and fulfilled all expectations. Yes, if I was doing "albums of the year" rankings, then I am sure that In Twilight's Embrace fourth record would be there in my top ten. They truly deserve this with the material they created for "Vanitas".
After giving the first spin to "Vanitas" I have to admit that I was quite surprised with how the music of In Twilight's Embrace changed. Let me remind to some of you that this band went long way, from sort of on their debut CD to great melodic, yet very vicious and aggressive death metal in the Swedish vein on their third CD "The Grim Muse". With "Vanitas" they didn't leave the melodic death metal accents behind. Actually, they're still here, but this time the whole album is much, much more strongly black metal focused than I would expect. Really, if we even have to play the "what metal subgenre it is" game, then "Vanitas" is more black than death metal record. Even Cyprian's vocals are more and vicious than before. And his performance here is one of the biggest strengths of "Vanitas". Sometimes he's vailing, other time he puts slightly cleaner tone to his shriek, especially in this fantastic song titled "Trembling". But he sounds great on single song.
But this change of musical direction had very positive than negative influence on the music and so this album is intriguing and capturing from start to finish. When the first song started, I was really blown away. "The Hell of Mediocrity" is just fantastic and brilliant track, its viciousness, speed, but also insanely memorable, melodic main riff work perfectly and caught my attention immediately. I know that many listeners started to compare some of these songs from "Vanitas" to , "The of Mediocrity" also. But I don't think it is an insult for In Twilight's Embrace. Besides, there's always a good balance between few different influences, not all are limited just to and black metal in general. There are fragments, when the melodic death metal is more audible, other time the music is doomier, more sinister and eerie in its aura ("Trembling"!!!), what takes In Twilight's Embrace sound into yet another dimension. So, the whole record is as diverse as it only can. And its high quality from start to finish, is undeniable.
After the striking beginning, "As Future Evaporates" is next track, which particularly impressed me. This one, just like "The Hell of Mediocrity", is also fast piece, but with plenty of variations in the tempo, with some great, memorable melodic parts, but without any loss of the vicious, aggressive sound. They're both like "Dystopian" from the previous album, but more blackened and without that Swedish death metal influence so dominant. And they sound gigantic, especially with that great powerful sound, which "Vanitas" has. But really... I could mention every song and there's something special about each of them and each is a crusher. "Fan the Flame" with that catchy is an instant "hit". It's very memorable and I love how it switches from mid-paced first half of the song to insanely fast, blasting second half. And "Trembling" - what a great song it is! It's quite different to the previous tracks. It does keep the melodic part of In Twilight's Embrace, but it has also almost doomy section, with ritualistic, very grim, eerie aura, which gives just a fantastic result. And on and on... I have to say that I was listening to "Vanitas" with enormous pleasure and enjoyed every fuckin minute of it.
So, I cannot recommend this album enough. Get yourself a copy, do not hesitate, do not wait. This album is worthy and for me it's one of the best releases of 2017.
Standout tracks: "The Hell of Mediocrity", "Trembling", "As Future Evaporates", "Flesh Falls, No Ghost Lifts"