Beyond Twilight - For The Love Of Art And The Making
Nightmare Records
Epic/Conceptual Prog Metal
43 songs (37'50)
Release year: 2006
Beyond Twilight, Nightmare Records
Reviewed by Marty
Album of the month
For The Love Of Art And The Making is my first real exposure to Beyond Twilight and if this album is any indication of what lies inside the band's first two releases Devil's Hall Of Fame (2001) and Section X (2005) then they will certainly be at the top of my list of CDs to pick up very soon. Using two different vocalists for each of their first two albums namely Jorn Lande (ex-Masterplan) and Kelly Carpenter, the trend continues with yet another vocalist Bjorn Janssen, who was used for this album. When I read about the whole idea and concept of this album; a 38-minute epic that is essentially one big song divided up into 43 different parts, I have to admit that I was a little sceptical of this sort of gimmicky approach. The album is a very deep one that explores all aspects of human nature and the emotional turmoil that we face throughout our lives. It's a very risky move and I found myself having to listen to this album many times to be able to form an honest opinion of the concept and of the album itself. After several weeks of playing this over and over, I can honestly say that it's a masterpiece of brilliant and ambitious progressive rock/metal. It pretty much covers all the bases with chunky heavy guitars, awesome vocals, atmospheric keyboard interludes, lots of instrumental segments and the seemingly flawless ebb and flow, gives you early impressions of a future prog metal classic in the making.

With a mix of sound that borrows a little from bands like Dream Theater and the heaviness of Symphony X, Beyond Twilight delivers an epic that incorporates Avantasia-like operatic styles as well as the dramatic and epic flair of Rhapsody and Virgin Steele, especially the House Of Atreus Acts 1-3 albums. Musical mastermind and keyboard player Finn Zierler has produced the sort of monster epic that so powerfully defines all that is great in the prog metal genre. Lots of orchestration, huge and heavy guitar riffs weave in and out of a mix that changes tempo so very often that it's hard to "lock into" any one real section. The production is mammoth with everything sounding very big and Bjorn Janssen delivers a vocal performance that ranges from a gritty David Coverdale style to more of a higher pitched Michael Kiske with some upper register Rob Halford melodic screams thrown in for good measure.

Speedy and heavier power metal segments come to the forefront periodically and the sections that do have vocals are separated by moody and dramatic interludes incorporating heavy guitars, piano and orchestrations that range from short leader sections to lengthy instrumentals; all with a very unpredictable flair. There are several recurring melodic themes that are revisited and reprised throughout the album; giving the listener some sense of continuity in an often chaotic soundscape. Unusual recording techniques were also used on this album with one track featuring multi-tracked rhythmic laughter and another using melodies that were recorded backwards. Not that the segment was recorded then played backwards for the mix, the band actually reprises a previous segment of the song then plays the instrumental melody lines both forwards and backwards. It's a very technically challenging thing to do and they pull it off flawlessly.

Besides the concept and epic nature of this record, Finn Zierler actually plays with the listener and openly challenges them to try to figure out the "hidden" meaning behind the album. The whole booklet is ridden with puzzle pieces and lyrical imagery and he also encourages the listener to hit the shuffle key on your CD player to open up entirely new listening experiences. Although the tracks effortlessly flow together with it being very difficult to tell when it changes from one track to another (some tracks clock in at only 10 or 15 seconds), there are sufficient subtle changes between tracks that allows the shuffle feature to work very well. The whole experience can begin to take on new character depending on the order of the tracks, leaving the listener to pick the best track order to unlock the "secret" of this album.

This was a very difficult album to review because of the nature of how it is constructed, the very deep conceptual quality and with the added feature of being able to create new personalized listening experiences. The relatively short length really shouldn't be a factor as it all fits nicely within a slightly less than 40 minute framework (my commute time to work!). If it was much longer, I think the listener would find it harder to get into this album as it is meant to be listened to in it's entirety. A very interesting and ambitious undertaking, Beyond Twilight has taken prog metal to new heights with For The Love Of Art And The Making. A truly stunning piece of work, this album blows many of the top players in the prog metal genre clean out of the water with its quality. What initially sounded a bit "gimmicky" to me, turned out to be one of the most unique and original ideas for a concept album that I've ever heard. I fully expect to see this one on my "best of the year list" this December.

Check out a sample here

Killing Songs :
All of it!!
Marty quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Beyond Twilight that we have reviewed:
Beyond Twilight - Section X reviewed by Ben and quoted 88 / 100
Beyond Twilight - The Devil's Hall Of Fame reviewed by Marc and quoted 60 / 100
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