Tape Wyrm VIII – Black Twilight Tape Wyrm VIII – Black Twilight

The Black Twilight Circle.

The concept of a musical underground has changed over the last 20 years. Bands that were considered underground 20 years ago might be scorned if they applied the same title today. Previously, the concept of the underground was an alternative to the perceived homogenous and dogmatic structure of mainstream culture. It allowed like-minded individuals to congregate and experience something outside of traditional media outlets. The “underground” has become less crucial with the advent of the internet. Small packets of culture can be easily accessed by anyone willing to put forth the effort. In fact, the word “underground” could be replaced with “independent” as there exists multiple levels and dimensions between the unknown and the well known. While there may be less need for the underground, bands still use the orthodox tradition of obfuscating conventional media outlets. If the the term “underground” is still relative it exists in a purely intentional state employed by bands who need to seperate themselves from the rest. If the underground still exists, the Black Twilight Circle is empowered by it.

The Black Twilight Circle is a collection of southern Californian bands who use black metal to express sociopolitical animosity and a strict allegiance to Mexica (Aztec) heritage. All of the bands plays shows together and still release limited edition cassettes which are sold exclusively through the record label/blog Crepusculo Negro. Aside from local venue shows, the bands participant in secret shows which are held in forests, caves and the basements of abandoned houses. If one were to construct a living stereotype for underground black metal, any one of these bands would be its living counterpart. The attitudes of The Black Twilight Circle borrow many aspects from Norwegian black metal. In fact, the existence of the Black Twilight Circle mirrors heavily the attitudes and style of the Black Metal “Inner Circle” which came to define the Norwegian Second Wave. Not including the murder, suicide and arson, The Black Twilight Circle has duplicated many aspects of Norwegian black metal including an embrace of an eradicated ancient culture, an adherence to lo-fi production and most importantly — a shunning of mainstream culture as a viable tool for promotion.

In 2009, Creusculo Negro released a 6 way split entitled Worship Black Twilight. The split featured some of the first Black Twilight bands including Ashdautas, Volahn, Arizmenda, Kallathon, Axeman and Kuxan Suum. The split was surprising especially when compared to the expectations put forth by the bands. While the bands failed to present something new and revolutionary, their study of early 90’s black metal is impressive. The bands, who mostly consist of Latin American descent have also included imagery from Pre-colombian culture in an attempt to express their ultimate hatred to the world. According to Volahn in an interview with the Boston Phoenix, “The early days were intoxicating hallucinations of violence, drugs, hatred, prejudice, struggle, and learning the ways of occult ritual….Black Twilight is our means of limitless expression and the purest disorder.”

This Black Twilight Roster has grown with most or all of them being located within the greater Los Angeles area. Currently, the entity is gearing up for an East Coast tour in support of their, again, limited edition splits and cassette albums. The sounds of the Black Twilight Circle are varied ranging from atmospheric black metal of Kallathon and Volahn to near death rawness Axeman and Blue Hummingbird On The Left. While the last band sounds like an indie folk explosion, the name is a refernece to Huitzilopochtli — the Aztec god of war that demanded copious human sacrifices. If anything can be said about Black Twilight is they seem genuine. A 7 dollar cassette or 10 dollars to see 5 bands in some weird basement is more than worth your time — at least for anyone interested in music not intended for a large audience.

The choice to have black metal represent a forgotten culture which operated before the western conquest seems oddly perfect as the musical style is constantly being taken in new directions. Whether or not the Black Twilight Circle is a group of attention starved black metal upstarts or a valid expression of disenfranchised Chicano musicians is of course the debate of social media outlets. This style of black metal could end here or be the start of something new and exciting.


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