The first thing that strikes you about Images At Twilight is how much they sound like fellow Norwegian Black Metallers Dimmu Borgir. But Dimmu when they were younger, hungrier and an altogether different, far scarier proposition than they are these days.
Formed in 2011 by vocalist Andre Aaslie, the band’s début Kings (Indie Recordings) is an ambitious album, full of speed, aggression, and orchestral atmospherics. When things move fast, they move really fast but there are usually moments of perfectly timed, much-needed respite just around the corner. While it might be all very well and good for some Black Metal acts to play unrelentingly fast, a band like Images At Twilight need those little interludes to let the music breathe, even if most of the time they merely serve as a platform from which to launch their next ferocious sonic attack.
There are times, however, when things don’t balance quite as evenly as they could. Some songs suffer from sounding a little too busy in parts, the keyboards becoming a little too intrusive during some of the quieter moments. This doesn’t happen too often though, and is a pretty minor quibble in an otherwise very well thought out and put together album. The orchestral sections give the record a very cinematic atmosphere, most notably on the instrumental ‘Created To Destroy’ which could very easily have been lifted from the soundtrack to one of the Lord of the Rings movies, and fifteen minute epic ‘Kaizanbar’ where the band manage to showcase every facet of their sound perfectly, without it ever feeling tiresome or cluttered.
The production sounds great, stark and bare when necessary, like it could have been produced in the early-mid nineties, but also rich and clear enough to enable the symphonic elements to sit alongside the vicious guitars and hyperspeed blastbeats without sounding cheap or hollow.
Although Images At Twilight may not be the most innovative band on the scene, they have still managed to create an album which will not only appeal to those who miss the halcyon days of early Dimmu Borgir and Bal Sagoth but to those more contemporary minded Black Metal fans who prefer a stronger production and slightly more progressive elements to their music.