Review: Beyond Twilight – Section X

Band: Beyond Twilight
Country: Denmark
Album: Section X, released June 15, 2005 in the USA
Label: Nightmare Records
Genre: Sci-Fi themed Progressive Metal

Section X is, to put it bluntly, a masterpiece. With Finn Zierler on Keyboards and as producer and the driving creative force behind the band, they have brushed aside all conventions and created a truly unique piece of dark, brooding progressive metal. With that said, it must be noted that this is a “concept album”, complete with cheesy intro, “Log Entry 2004-Z Nucleic extraction sucessful…” The lyrics themselves are nothing to write home about, pretty much standard “sci-fi” fare, but when combined with the atmosphere and force of Section X’s brilliant songwriting and orchestration, they take on a life of their own. Much like a somewhat flimsy script can be transformed into a truly bone-rattling movie by a skilled director, Section X is transformed into an errily forboding piece of Sci-Fi metal.

The Beyond Twilight sound really must be heard to be understood. They combine unique rhythms, 5/4 waltz you say? with melodic passages and tearing riffs. The vocals come in to provide the emotional glue, and I must say despite any personality quirks, Kelly really delivers on this release. More importantly though, is the band’s versatility as a whole. Able to switch effortlessly from quiet piano passages to mad guitar and keyboard riff-fests that make you feel the terror of imminent mad-scientist-induced destruction.

The production is flawless, the songwriting masterful and original and never boring or repetitive. At times the keyboards sound a bit fake, they would have been better suited to finding a real wooden piano for some of the parts, but this is only a minor problem. This album is worth shelling out the money for, and worth telling your friends about. It has already gone down as one of the best releases of 2005, and has allowed Beyond Twilight to get the metal community’s attention through sheer musical ability, a feat practically unheard of in this age of absolute media saturation and control.

Production: 5/5
Musicianship: 5/5
Lyrics: 3.5/5
Overall: A-

Digital Storyness, Maybe?

Ever since I was little I’ve loved working with my hands — pushing buttons, touching, breaking things, drawing, writing… One of my early memories is of building things with legos. I’d haul out the blue bin full of an endless assortment of pieces: straight, thin, thick, long, clear, curved, 3×6’s, 2×2’s, sheets, wings, jet engines, wheels, half-built motorcars; the ruins of civilizations gone by. Downstairs in the living room, safe from the dogs we still only wished for, out spilled the sea of plastic; little yellow men bobbing with the waves. The empty carpet calling to be covered.

So I built, and fashioned and fit. Deconstructed retrofitted, upgraded, disassembled. Tight fit, fragile joint come on… Almost there, what’s missing? Ah, these two fit together, they need to… so close — come on… no, not now! Ugh… Nothing, fumbling, “SHIT!”. Chunks fly, meet the carpet and dissolve into pieces again. I look around bewildered. Who said that? I did? Did I even know what it meant? Who cares, it felt good! Shit. Shiiiiit. Wait, I shouldn’t be saying this, but I don’t know why… back to my legos… take a deep breath, try again.

Two things I’ve inherited from my Dad: his hands, and his temper. He callls it “having a short fuse”, which isn’t a bad metaphor. The spark sets the wick burning, and after a few short seconds of oxygen to feed the fizz, BOOM. The stick of dynamite has blown itself to bits, self-destructed, taking whoever is nearby right along for the ride. Sure it feels good, it feels great. To be filled with that rage is like controlling your own thunderstorm, except the storm is inside you. The lighting hits you first, and those you love. And the things you hold most dear. Your lego creations. Or your laptop. (Woops).

Worse is the paralyzing rage, it builds and builds, growing out of frustration. Each second of inaction feeds it, but never satiates it. Its favorite snacks include the empty page, the blank screen, or even an extra dry journal article. Poorly written, overly cliché, too obvious, not original enough. All sweet treats to this different beast. Not borne out of trauma, or sudden events, but gradually (it’s all relative, of course). Then BOOM. And the pages flit about the room.


From The Digital Storycenter Cookbook

If I can get more attention for the kind of shoes I
wear or the style of my hair at one-tenth the conscious effort of explaining what the
heck is wrong or right about my life in a way that moves you, why bother being a storyteller? Status and recognition, in our consumer culture, is an off-the-rack item.

Hooray for the boob-tube generation 😀

:-/ …

p.s. Why are the times for all these entries off by 5 hours? setting the timezone to GMT (+5 hours from us) doesn’t seem to make a difference…

Response… and Words

Thanks for your wonderful comments guys/girls. Before I take the time to really respond, I want to say one thing about my last sentence… I realized after how I left a piece of it out.

“Writing to me is usually not about words, or letters, or periods or predicates. It’s about memories that fade, and ideas that float away.”

That is to say, that the challenge in writing, for me, has always been about finding the right moment, or any moment for that matter, to write about. It seems when I finally do pick something and get ready to begin, I am overwhelmed with second thoughts and decide to choose something else… ad infinitum… The choosing of words, and the shaping of sentences has always been the part of writing I found easiest, and enjoyed most… perhaps that is why I tend to like writing about abstract things, and poetry, since those seem to circumvent my problem areas.

Hopefully, though, I’ll be able to work more on confronting my demons as the semester progresses 🙂





  1. rays of light beam, shaft, streak, stream.
  2. a ray of hope glimmer, flicker, spark, hint, suggestion, sign.

(Oxford American Writers Thesaurus, 1st Ed.)

This was shot between two of the movable bookshelves in the new library.
I dunno why, but I found it very striking. I’d love to hear what people think…

T-Max 400 taken during J-Term.
Negative scanned, then touched up in Photoshop

UPDATE: Now also posted to my gallery at DeviantArt

Blog Spam

To mix things up a bit here are a few interesting links on the current state of the blog spam universe.

The State of Spam [Karma]
This first link is a blog post by the developer of the Spam Karma anti-spam plugin. He talks about how until now, the programmers behind all the spam-post-bots (almost all spam is created by automated programs, hence spam being an attractive proposition) have been largely “stupid”, and thus their bots relatively easy to stop. However, a new breed of spam has emerged, and the bots behind this spam appear to have grown immensely in sophistication and code quality.
His writing style is easy and fun to read, and gives an interesting perspective on the issue. After all, he is both a coder and a blogger.

Mark on Weblog Spam
This next link is much older, from November of 2003, and is much more about the nature of Spam as an industry; and spammers as a group of particularly unscrupulous businesspersons.

Akismet Eats 2 Million
Last is a quick link to the post on the Akismet blog celebrating their spam plugin’s two-millionth piece of spam. They write that it took two months to block one million, and only twenty days to reach two. This is of course also due to their plugin’s growing popularity, but still, that’s a lot of spams! (I use Akismet on my other blog and it performs flawlessly– farewell spam… for now)

Letter To The Class

My earliest memory of writing is sharp–it floats to mind clearly. I see a much younger version of myself. It is Kindergarten, Ms. F’s class, journal writing time. We each has one, a big black book of pristine paper on which to make our mark. I remember a boy writing out a scrambled sentence of shapes, followed by a large blue mass. A teacher’s helper came over and added a caption to his satisfaction, in neat ordered hand. It was a story about a whale. Across the room the Assistant Teacher is sitting with a boy named Josh, tape recorder in hand. He already knows how to read and she wants it on tape. I see myself telling jokes, swiveled in my chair, energy exploding everywhere, "Apples and bananaaaas!" Josh can’t stop laughing, and the teacher glares my way. I’m already seated by myself. My paper is still blank.

Another memory is from second grade. I’m writing a book report on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and my parents are floating behind me. The wide ruled paper is mostly empty, and my pencils rattle back and forth across the desk as I wait for inspiration. I remember crying — and yelling, my parents yell too. The report is finished somehow, and my final touch is an erector set conveyor belt, set up to dispense chocolates.

As I write I tend to edit, typing — delete — typing… delete. I love to craft the sentences just right, but at times the ideas fail to come. I strain, pulling what droplets I can muster from that hidden reservoir which has decided to close for the day. I see myself filling with anger, frustration, dispair. And so I do something else.

I also remember reading — long hours of hardy boys in the summertime, curled up in the cottage. Our whole family devoutly focused on our pages. I read and read. Then I’m reading in school, too. And suddenly it isn’t so much fun. And then there is the comptuer, and even video games… and the internet. So much to see, read, drink up. An infinite oasis of things to see and do and experience and take in. Yet its grip can be ruthless, and painful.

Writing to me is usually not about words, or letters, or periods or predicates. It’s about memories that fade, and ideas that float away.