Zwielicht - Official Website

The Aphotic Embrace

Germany Country of Origin: Germany

The Aphotic Embrace
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Buy on: Bandcamp
Type: Full-Length
Release Date: February 9th, 2024
Label: Independent
Genre: Black
1. Flames Of Disobedience
2. Stench Of Rotten Deities
3. The Fallen Abbey
4. Transcendental Salvation
5. Babalon
6. Aphotic Embrace
7. Twilight Temple

Review by Michael on March 17, 2024.

I was pretty much flashed when I had the honor to attend Zwielicht's ('Twilight' in English) release-party for their second album. The guys offered some really harsh and brutal black metal and so there was no doubt I'll be checking out the album too and also thankfully this isn't a German metal soap opera version of this terrifying vampire saga.

The Aphotic Embrace takes the listener in with a very gloomy and interesting cover which reminds me a little bit of Benediction's “Dark Is The Season” with the birds flying into the sky. This is a very aesthetic cover artwork but of course what is inside is a little bit more important. After a two-minute intro you get your skull crushed instantly with hateful, shrieking vocals and some thunderous, pummeling drums. The double-bass really kicks ass and blows you away right from the beginning. Tremolo-picking and some repetitive riffing adds some slight depressive mood and a feeling between hate and desperation. 'Stench Of Rotten Deities' is a very straight statement towards all experimental black metal bands and stretches out a very huge rotten middle finger towards them. This is old school black metal and a great homage to some legendary bands as Emperor, Dark Funeral and so on. Although the guys have a very brutal approach in their song writing, they don't miss to offer some melodies in their music. Apart from that there is some space for atmospheric intermezzos like the 3 minute-piece 'Transcendental Salvation' that helps to calm down the hateful mind a little bit and to recharge the anger for the next black metal crushers.

Musically the songs don't differ in their style too much, they all have this icy tremolo-picking in common and also these extreme hateful vocals. Maybe the title track 'The Aphotic Embrace' falls out of the scheme a little bit because the riffing is more into death metal with the low-tuned guitars than the other ones. But still the vocals make clear that this is some dark and evil forces doing their sinister work here. With 'Babalon' the guys from the Ruhr Area also have a song with German lyrics which are pretty much philosophical and deal with some kind of equilibrium between all. But if I didn't get the booklet, I'd never would have gotten that the lyrics are in German. I guess they did put the words pretty well into some desperate music here.

In my humble opinion Ván Records did a very good job with signing the band and if you like some real harsh and uncompromising black metal, this might be the right thing for you. Apart from the undoubted quality of the songs the production is also very good. It is powerful and hammering; sometimes maybe a little bit overdriven but I guess it depends where you hear it. On my stereo it works well, my earphones, too but with some lower-quality speakers it might sound a little bit rough. The Aphotic Embrace is a very good debut and I am curious to see what the future will bring for the guys. And coming back to “Twilight”, if the books would kick ass that much as the album, they would be recommendable, too. There is only the German version Zwielicht that will find a way into my heart though.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 ass kicking vampires