So yeah, the Black Twilight Circle are a Southern California-based collection, scene, whatever you want to call it, of like-minded black metal bands that seem to be on the Crepúsculo Negro and Rhinocervs labels. Information about them appears to be virtually non-existent. I suppose you could regard it as an American, modern equivalent of Les Légions Noires that comprises some 17 or so odd bands that are either directly part of or at least affiliated with it. The difference is, unlike LLN, is that many, if not the majority, of these bands are excellent and not just predicated on silly rumour and legend along with rubbish music. Stylistically speaking all the bands are relatively raw and rough round the edges, in varying degrees, but their sound tends to focus on dense, layered, sometimes freeform guitars, often quite psychedelic in nature. There's a definite unifying theme amongst them, and it's a very satisfying one that's quite different from the mountains of Darkclones around.
While I can easily choose a favourite, that would be Arizmenda for their sublime 'Within the Vacuum of Infinity...' it's hard to choose from the others which is the most successful, because frankly they'll all so fucking good. I only today realised that Muknal, the closest the group has to a death metal band (and one of my favourite releases this year) is supposedly part of them. You also have Odz Manouk who have the boldest, most direct sound though not too dissimilar to Arizmenda (have to say these would probably be joint second favourite along with Muknal). Dolorvotre and Kuxan Suum being the loosest, most freeform of the lot, often sounding almost improv in nature (particularly in the case of Kuxan Suum's one 17 minute long song EP). Axeman have a distinctly punk-ish vibe and Absum are the doom band of the group (albeit extremely raw sounding doom). The actual Rhinocervs music project appears to change frequently from demo to demo from the accessible slower, more melodic and generally atmospheric to more punishing death tinged black metal. And so on.
Yeah lots of incredible music in this group. Here's a few favourites so you get an idea of their sound. (The Volahn one will have to be watched on youtube itself. Worth it though because the song is amazing)
If these links ever go down there's a bunch of tracks here.
I really love BTC and Rhinocervs because of the mysterious nature of the music, along with the fact that the music is so lo-fi and interesting - no two bands are really that alike, and they all incorporate some sort of unique flair in their music whilst retaining the raw and primitive recording sound. Heck, Rhinocervs doesn't even let us know which band is performing on a particular release. It helps that most of the releases are on cassette (my favorite format) and vinyl, and not-so-often on cd, which reinforces the analog nature and ethos of the collective and appeals to me (though, I do like the cd versions). Unfortunately, I have not directly ordered from the label, and I don't think I would, considering the stories of rip-offs and extremely late shipping times. When the stuff is through another distro, I'll definitely buy the tapes, though. I've listened to quite a lot of the stuff, and have the Odz Manouk and Tukaaria re-issues on Profound Lore, which are absolutely phenomenal. More of this stuff deserves treatment like that (I'd like to see a double/triple-disc re-issue of the two Arizmenda albums with some bonus material).
My favorite from the collective is probably Dolovotre for their psychedelic-LLN vibe, but I have never been disappointed by any of these bands - as I said, each brings something new and interesting to the table. I also like Axeman ("metnal" is probably my favorite BTC cut), Arizmenda, The Haunting Presence, Muknal, Volahn, Kallathon, and Blue Hummingbird on the Left quite a lot.
I suppose they've been busy with RH, live shows, and of course, making us all some brilliant new music so we can order it from them and never receive it (source - numerous accounts of various individuals who have ordered directly from them). I hope some reliable distros get the tapes when they hit. I guess if Ajna has copies of all three formats it's being released on, there should be no risk in spending the cash, since I really want these.