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Disillusion - Back To Times Of Splendor CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.20 | 200 ratings

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The Pessimist
Prog Reviewer
5 stars No one knows where this band came from, or much about their history, but after three mediocre demo efforts, they emerge with this utter masterpiece of progressive metal. This is an example of what good prog metal sounds like, and fortunately it is consistent throughout the album. This album is special for a number of reasons. First off, the voicing and density of all the instruments is like none I've ever heard before. It is so thick in texture, yet you can hear every single instrument in action. Secondly, Back To Times Of Splendour features three separate vocal styles: a not-quite-growling growl style that is a kind of hybrid of Jens Kidman and Gojira's Joe Duplantier, a rich and theatrical vocal style that reminds me of System of the Down's Serj Tankian and finally a clean vocal style which is nothing really special, but provides enough melody for the vocal harmony sections. Finally, the other reason that this album is so special is because it is probably the most aggressive album I've heard in a long time whilst still being one of the most beautiful metal albums ever written. That is very hard to achieve, and not many bands pull it off nowadays. The only band I can think of off hand that has done it recently is the mighty Opeth, and for me to compare Disillusion to this great band is a massive achievement on their part.

Now onto the songs.

And The Mirror Cracked - My personal favourite off the album, this one is simply perfect. It kicks off with a bang and provides one of the best intros in prog metal. I could literally listen to the choppy guitar harmony section all day long and not get remotely bored. We are then introduced to a number of different phases, including all three vocal styles (including vocal harmony sections) and a 2-3 minute mellow section. This song follows ternary form structure, but doesn't in any way seem repetitive. That is probably because it is so good. I'd love to go on about this song, but unfortunately my ranting will only spoil the experience. 10/10

Fall - Another strong track, if you like short songs. This is the most commercial song on the album, as it contains no growling and contains no prog metal pretentiousness like the previous track. A straightforward progressive metal song that is a small pleasure to listen to. 8/10

Alone I Stand In Fires - Another shorter track, Alone I Stand In Fires is another gem. The thickest textured song so far this song does take longer to kick in than the previous two, but later on it packs just as much punch (maybe even more?). There is a lot of growling here, so don't approach this with the same mentality of Fall. This is a seemingly long and heavy ride, but pays off in the end. An epic in a small package. 9/10

Back To Times Of Splendour - Cited by many as the best track off the album, I don't see it as that. It is no way on par with the first track and I prefer the previous. However, this is phenomenal all the same. We have two killer riffs within this long song, a neo-classical intro and a great chorus and mellow middle section. We are taken off on a journey, and it is for me the only one on the album that does. It isn't perfect though. It has its faults: for example, I normally skip to the quiet section from about 6:10, as the area in between is just a mess. An attempt to build up intensity that kind of... well fails. Other than that, it is a great tune. 8/10

A Day By The Lake - The most progressive song on the album, this is the one that classic prog lovers will enjoy (if they see past the heavy texture in some parts). A slow build up takes you through a slightly post-metal musical adventure and like post-metal, it is quite dreamy and calm. The second masterpiece on the album, this one is special. Melodic, beautiful and at the same time fractionally brutal in places, this ticks every box for me. Yet it is so short, but since when has that been a bad thing? 10/10

The Sleep Of Restless Hours - The second epic, I do like this song. In a way I prefer it to the title track, as it is heavier with more great riffs. The intro is fantastic, I love acoustic guitar passages in metal and this particular passage is excellent. Overall though, this song is a weird one. It doesn't seem to go anywhere, and the length is also a problem for me. I've always really had a problem with prog metal songs over 15 minutes, but then again, this one does remain quite interesting, as with other exceptions like Meshuggah's I. Some masterpiece material here leads me to rate this no lower than 9/10, and I don't feel guilty rating it that as it just contains some of my pet musical hates. Most prog metallers will be stunned by this tune, so that's the mark it gets.

Well this album only lost 6 marks for me, which means it's a 4.5/5. Round that up and you get a masterpiece, no doubt about. This album definitely deserves its place in the best albums of the genre, and I will enforce that even further. Some really original stuff here, and the majority of progressive metal fans will find a lot in Back In Times Of Splendour.

The Pessimist | 5/5 |


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