The British doom metallers Twilight’s Embrace are an interesting outfit with a highly captivating yet utterly bleak sound and expression that perfectly encapsulates what gloom and melancholy are all about. Slow, bone-crushing riffs interwoven with haunting melodies and heartfelt vocals are the order of the day here. The four compositions that constitute Penance have a natural and organic flow to them that is marvellous to revel in and they evolve and intensify superbly along the way. The pieces are textured and layered, but also dense and morose. Those slow riffs that were mentioned before are strong and well-crafted while the booming voice courtesy of Andy Walmsley is powerful and way up front in the mix. The otherworldly atmosphere of the EP remains intact from start to finish and there is hardly any loss of momentum throughout. The suitably raw yet punchy production matches and emphasizes the bombastic and oppressive nature of this release. On top of that, the musicianship is solid and leaves very little to be desired.
There are next to no experiments or any far-out arrangements of any kind to be found on this little gem of an EP, but that does not entail that Penance is run-of-the-mill or devoid of surprises. The biggest and most wonderful surprise of the entire affair is the inclusion of a Paradise Lost cover track, namely ‘It‘s Too Late‘ from the unfairly overlooked and criminally underrated Host record of theirs. Twilight‘s Embrace approach it entirely differently and truly make it their own, but the remarkable thing is that it retains all of the original version’s aura and feel. Apart from that one, the 7-minute long opus that is ‘Curtain Call‘ is an excellent tune that reeks of despair and longing while the cleverly written and twisted title track is another forceful and grim track that brings to mind such classic and renowned acts as My Dying Bride, early Anathema, November’s Doom, and Saturnus.
Overall, Penance is a grave and somber output that will flush your day right down the toilet and leave you in a foul and pissy mood – just as proper doom metal is supposed to do. There is nothing new, original, or innovative to what Twilight’s Embrace do, but that does not change the fact that this will serve as an excellent soundtrack to those lonely and loveless nights of yours that you so loathe and abhor. Give this a spin on a cold and dreary day and it will do wonders for you…or maybe just grind you further down! Support this melancholy Nottingham trio and invest in the dramatic EP that is Penance – you will not regret it.