Beyond Twilight - The Devil's Hall Of Fame

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Massacre
Catalog Number: MASSCD 281
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:48:00

"The Storybook of The Devil's Hall of Fame is that of a twisted story taking place and moving in four dimensions. It deals with the personality of a human being, hacking his way through a computer into his own mind. All the things experiences on this journey are found deep in his sub-consciousness."

This is the beginning of how Beyond Twilight describes the story of The Devil's Hall of Fame in their own words. Using a 2-page layout to tell the story of this poor soul who has hacked his way into his own mind, only to find that some of those files have been corrupted, missing, and he hacks deeper into his mind to try to find the lost pieces and and and .... Well, you get the idea. If that's not enough, try 45:00 more worth of melodic, dark, heavy, eerie progressive metal music to tell of how this lost soul winds and grinds his way through his past, covering such topics as self-worth, philosophy, religion, fiction, reality, and just about every other emotion an individual could endure. It's no wonder that at the end of the story the listener is as exhausted and emotionally drained as the lost soul in the story. How does the band pull this off?

Musically, I can only describe this as being powerful, menacing, heavy, crunchy, dark, yet melodically filled with warmth from beginning to end. The musical structures are very slow, plodding, and rarely does the beat kick in the pace for more than 2-3 songs during the entire journey. It's heavily keyboard / orchestrated, and guitar driven. Try to find a keyboard sound that is NOT present on this disc. I believe Finn Zierler, the main brainchild behind all this madness, states that somewhere around 150 tracks or voices were used on this disc and some of the production techniques were advanced, state of the art methods. The music provides a heavy, slowly beaten metal base for the eerie and evil / snarling vocals of Jorn Lande, who is absolutely magnificent out front as the storyteller, but he will get his own section below. Without making obvious references to other musical bands, but for the individual who seeks some sort of other band / influence that might give am idea of where this band's sound lies, I've come up with this: Try to imagine of what would happen if Twilight (the original band of Finn Zierler) met an evil combination of Savatage and Soundgarden. That would basically put this music into a sort of dark, melodic, plodding, modern sounding progressive metal style. If you enjoy this style at all, there is no doubt that you will enjoy this disc. It's one of the few discs where the music actually helps to create a certain mood that helps conjure up images of the story even before the vocalist has a chance to tell the story. Heavy, evil, atmospheric, modern sounding keyboards envelope the crunching guitars and plodding drum structures to make the listener feel helpless, alone, dark and afraid. The vocals enter the scene and take over the mind of the listener and between the two, the listener is easily pulled into this modern day sci-fi / horror story. The most intriguing aspect of this disc is how cold and dark the subject matter is, yet how melodic and sometimes enchantingly beautiful the music can be at the same time. It certainly is a brilliant combination of writing and vision that makes this disc stand out from the rest.

What will stand out to the listener instantly will be the incredible vocal performance of Jorn Lande. Jorn has sung on many projects including Malmsteen, Ark, and others. He has often been compared to David Coverdale, which does fit in some instances, but on this disc he breaks free of that particular style he's been compared to and to these ears, puts on the best vocal performance of his career, and of the year if not beyond. To these ears, I'd have to say that Jorn resembles the most evil combination of Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) and Jon Oliva (Savatage) at their most evil, and then some. Jorn takes us on the journey of the story with convincing emotions such as pity, anger, sadness, emotion, futility, and his ability to range from a melodic, calm tone to a gritty, aggressive tone, to an all out blitz of evil, grinding, guttural sounding madness is completely astounding. It is through his voice that we feel all of the emotions of the poor soul who must journey through his hacked brain and find answers along the way. From the opening notes of wonder, to the closing notes of screams of anguish and futility, there isn't a moment on the disc that doesn't evoke some emotion from the listener. The wonderful element in the vocals is that through all of the different voices / styles of singing that Jorn uses, every word he sings is easily understood by the listener.

The production is as wonderful as the music itself. Most of the recording is handled by Tommy Hansen and (surprise) Finn Zierler, who bring out the best in all of the instruments. It's a feat in itself to be able to focus on the powerful vocals, the huge wall of keyboard arrangements, choirs, and be able to understand the story all at the same time. Somehow, this is pulled off without sacrificing any instrument in the band, including the vocals, which again, can be easily heard amidst the vast amounts of tracks that were used to record this disc. From the crunching guitar passages, to the wall of keyboard sounds, to the relentless pounding of the drums / bass, to the various amounts of processes used on the voices, nothing is left to the imagination. The production in itself is worth the price of admission. To hear the tons of echoes, reverbs, backward synths, and probably more technology than one can handle is an amazing journey of sound. All this while the listener is trying to figure out what is happening lyrically make this one hell of a brainteaser of a disc.

What I describe above is really just the tip of the iceberg. Essentially, this disc contains just about every aspect of what a progressive metal fan wants to hear. In addition, you also get a very well thought out story that is truly mesmerizing and haunting. My best recommendation is to shut the lights except for a small lamp so you can read the lyrics. Get comfortable, pour yourself your favorite drink, get on your favorite chair / couch, crank up this disc as loud as you are allowed to, and be prepared to be taken on a serious, mind bending, atmospheric, eerie trip through someone else's mind, and be ready to be afraid. This is certainly in my top 3 discs of the year, and could turn out to be one of my all time favorites. The nicest part of this disc is that it wasn't expected, and just popped up and took everyone by storm. This is essential listening, and a disc not to be missed by any metal fan.

Hellfire (8:18) / Godless & Wicked (3:54) / Shadowland (5:33) / The Devil's Waltz (2:39) / Crying (7:19) / The Devil's Hall Of Fame (8:26) / Closing The Circle (2:55) / Perfect Dark (6:44)

Finn Zierler - keyboards
Jorn Lande - vocals
Tomas Freden - drums
Anders Kragh - guitar
Anders Lindgren - bass

Twilight - The Edge (demo) (1992/1999/2000)
Twilight - An Eye For An Eye (1995/2000)
The Devil's Hall Of Fame (2001)
Section X (2005)
For The Love Of Art And The Making (2006)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DK

Added: November 25th 2001
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website:
Hits: 887
Language: english


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