Images At Twilight are a new black metal band from Norway, combining fierce black metal with orchestral eloquence. Usually, the atmospheric parts come at the expense of intensity, but not in this band’s case – the music is bitterly harsh, piercing even, but the intensity fascinatingly goes hand-in-hand with the orchestral parts. It’s relevant cutting-edge black metal if you will, having an anachronistic lapse to the symphonic Norwegian black metal bands from the early ’90s, something like Spectral Lore meets (early) Emperor. It’s the best of both worlds, with sublime production allowing the capture of the ancient and spine-chilling atmospheric histrionics at great speed, as is suitably exemplified by the song titled Kaizanbar (The End Of An Era Chapter II). An exclusive song stream can be found here –
Transcending Obscurity (Kunal Choksi): Hello! Images At Twilight are releasing their debut full length album titled ‘Kings’. How long was the process behind it and what are your expectations of it?
Images At Twilight (Andre): Hello! Oh, the process has been a long journey, from learning brand new orchestral sample technology to finding the right musicians for this monster-project. Just to find a drummer who could manage to play as fast as this music demands, and at the same time be able to perform it live with a “click” (metronome) in his ears to all the orchestral playback, was a huge challenge. Anders Faret Haave from Blood Red Throne and In Vain was the right guy in the end. At the same time we needed guitarists who could cope with this tempo, and at the same time be able to compose their stuff the other way around to fit all the orchestrations. Viti from Hinsidig, Bolverk from Ragnarok and Tom Arild Johansen from Perished and Bloodthorn were the best guys to take on this challenge. Narrenschiff was the man to complete the puzzle. He turned out to be the perfect man to express the epic lyrics with his huge range of vocal-abilities. Then we mixed the album for a period of over a year with Devo from Marduk. But in the end we are very satisfied with the result, and therefore we haven’t thought much about expectations really. But the feedback so far is overwhelming!
TO: What’s the reason for naming your album ‘Kings’? While you’re at it, can you please explain the song titles and the ideology behind them? They all seem to have chapters – what’s that pertaining to? Are they are part of some common theme?
Images At Twilight (Bjørn): The reason it’s called ‘Kings’ is because it’s a concept album about five kings that ruled the earth thousands of years ago. It all started out when I heard the music that Andre wrote, and I wanted to have an equally epic story to match it. So I abandoned the lyrics I had written, and went all in with this concept. It’s inspired by old Sumerian myths and legends, and also the translations of Zekariah Sitchin. The chapters are there to clearer understand the story. The singer, Narrenschiff, had to do some changes to the story, in order to make it easier to sing, but the essence is still there.
TO: Very interesting. How did your band end up on Indie Recordings? The label has a pretty impressive roster and your band seems like good fit on it, alongside some of the most accomplished black metal acts from the Scandinavian region in particular.
Images At Twilight (Andre): I have another band, Gromth, and we had a distribution deal with them. In the autumn of 2012 I was in a meeting with them to talk about Gromth and a new project of mine called Images At Twilight. They were curious about it, and when the album was finished it didn’t take very much time before we talked about a cooperation. They wanted to launch the album together with an European tour, and it took some time before we managed to find one.
We are very proud to be signed on a label like Indie, and they have done a great job for us so far.
TO: How often does Images At Twilight play live? Do you think the atmosphere translates well in a live setting?
Images At Twilight (Andre): Before we went on the ten days tour with Master, we had only been playing six times live. So the tour made us a much stronger live-machinery. We hope to play as much as possible in the future and we are constantly looking for new tours to become a part of.
We like to think that we are able to catch the atmosphere from the album live, actually even more when the live-sound is good. Especially the two last shows on the tour was awesome, and we can’t wait to play in front of an audience which actually have access to the album in front of the concert.
TO: Do you think this conventional ‘orchestral’ black metal music has enough relevance today? Most black metal bands are veering towards the ‘post-metal’ sound, or something more easily digestible. What are your thoughts on that?
Images At Twilight (Andre): Good music has always relevance, and nowadays people have access to whatever they want to check out through streaming services. That means that the press isn’t as powerful as it once was, and accordingly they can’t “tell” people what’s popular or not anymore.
And the music must always come from your heart. If you during a composing process starts thinking about what’s popular or not, you’ll simply not manage to deliver the genuine goods.
TO: What does black metal mean to you?
Images At Twilight (Andre): I’m into all type of genres and eras within black metal, and I never was that typical black metal guy in the nineties; I was into black metal first of all because I simply liked the music. So, well, black metal means to me the same that progressive rock means. It’s simply my favourite kind of music.
TO: The band members also happen to be writers aka critics. How was the thought process when it came to you guys creating music of your own and subjecting it to other critics for evaluation? It’s like the tables have turned.
Images At Twilight (Andre): When we released the Gromth album back in 2011 I was a bit worried, hehe. During my years in Scream Magazine I was one of the “bad” guys in the mag. with a lot of 1 out of 6 point-reviews on my conscience. But fortunately that album received very good feedback after all. With Images At Twilight we have worked so extremely thorough and detailed, well, I couldn’t be more satisfied. Then eventually bad reviews won’t affect me very much actually.
Images At Twilight (Bjørn): I can only answer as a lyricist, but it’s already strange yeah, cause now I have to answer interviews instead of asking them.
TO: Thanks for this interview and all the best with your debut release! Are there any regrets looking back? Are you going to do things differently, especially musically, in the future? What can we expect from Images At Twilight in the near future?
Images At Twilight (Andre): As mentioned earlier – no regrets. We have done everything we could have done in every aspects of this album. But we have been playing this album live for three years now so we will perhaps be affected from the fact that some musical themes works better than others.
I have composed about half of the next album already, and the rest of the album we will compose with more band members involved in the writing process. Expect an album to be in the same vein as ‘Kings’, but we will of course try not to copy ourselves. Maybe we will be more experimental on terms like tempo and challenging strokes – one of the new composition demands more experimental drums for instance.
Thank you very much for this interview, and enjoy ‘Kings’!