The concept of music groups coming together with shared musical interests is nothing new, with the prominence of Belgium’s Church of Ra or France’s Les Legions Noires to name a couple. Shrouded in secrecy, Black Twilight Circle remains a tight knit group, centered round musicians in Southern California tied together by hard work and a shared interest in extreme metal and their Mexican heritage. The group returns this year with their second compilation following on from revered Worship Black Twilight that launched their name onto the underground scene. Tliltic Tlapoyauak, roughly translated as Black Twilight from the Uto-Aztec language Nahuatl, consists of 16 tracks contributed from both new and well-established bands in the collective stretching almost 2 hours and across 3 LPs.
While the artists may be united by a common interest, the projects themselves could never be accused of being over similar. Ranging from the opening statement of Kuxan Suum’s ‘Tzolk’in’ with its haunting flutes and tribal percussion to Blood Play’s homage to German band Bethlehem, the projects range from pouring out their heritage to straight up crust ridden extreme metal. Muknal and The Haunting Presence stand out as the most promising tracks on the release, with their enticingly murky, claustrophobic sound; THP punctuating with raw, bestial growls where Muknal opt for low gutturals. While the compilations showcase some of the circles brightest talent, it also includes its share of misses with In Lakech Ala Kin’s straightforward all out black metal failing to create any impact, and Shataan’s intense drumming and domineering flute sound fitting uncomfortably with the goth influenced clean vocals.
With so much metal music rooted in or inspired by white culture, Black Twilight Circle’s indigenous inspired metal offers a refreshing change of experience from the usual barge of releases. The compilation isn’t without its faults and their sharing of artists across multiple bands and projects delivers a definite quantity over quality effect. However this is essential listening for anyone that likes their guitars tinny and their production murky.
Black Twilight Circle is too kvlt for Facebook.
Tliltic Tlapoyauak can be purchased here