Considering the pedigree of the players on Twilight’s new and final album, III: Beneath Trident’s Tomb, along with the wildcard addition of black metal superfan Thurston Moore,  this release comes with some high expectations.

Simply put, it delivers. III: Beneath Trident’s Tomb is big, heavy, and quite possibly one of the best, most fully-realized, forward-thinking black metal albums ever made.

The purists and pretentious trve fans will surely disagree. They will echo that is too polished, and it sounds like it was recorded in a studio (versus a tin can). They will lament the fact that these guys aren’t from the Norwegian motherland, and they ignore the leather, spikes and corpse paint that are hallmarks of the genre. They will gnash at the elements of  doom, goth and industrial, that churns within the sonic gloom.  They will miss the point … completely.

For those less inhibited, get ready for a swirling maelstrom of darkness, complete with shivering walls of guitar and driving, lockstep, industrial-size rhythms. Shredded vocals emerge and dissipate into the ether with the anguish of a tar-black soul riding the cacophony created by Moore, Stavros Giannopoulos (Atlas Moth), Wrest (Leviathan), N. Imperial (Krieg) and producer Sanford Parker. The undeniable strength is that fastidiousness with which the ply their talents, adding textures, growls and malignant instrumentation that is befitting of only the truest students’ of this genre. There is a sense of control and craft that pervade the album’s six songs and 42 minutes. It is a stylistic mastery that throbs defiantly throughout, although things threaten to veer tragically out of control at every turn.

Twilight are disappearing into the darkness, but they are delivering a classic before slipping away. III: Beneath Trident’s Tomb may be the last, but it will be a goodbye that is held endearingly by many a black heart.

III: Beneath Trident’s Tomb is out March 18 on Century Media Records.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars