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BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR

Disillusion

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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Disillusion Back To Times Of Splendor album cover
4.13 | 156 ratings | 13 reviews | 46% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. And The Mirror Cracked (8:28)
2. Fall (4:54)
3. Alone I stand In Fires (6:53)
4. Back To Times Of Splendor (14:39)
5. A Day By The Lake (4:54)
6. The Sleep Of Restless Hours (17:02)

Total Time: 56:50

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Vurtox / vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards
- Rajk Barthel / guitars
- Jens Maluschka / drums

Guest musicians:
- Thomas Bremer / piano (1)
- Matthias Schifter / Fretless bass (1 & 5)
- Denise Schneider / female voice (2 & 6)
- Stefan Launicke / piano, strings (4 & 6)
- Alex Tscholakov / percussion (3)

Releases information

CD Metal Blade Records (2004)

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DISILLUSION Back To Times Of Splendor ratings distribution


4.13
(156 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(46%)
46%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
29%
Good, but non-essential (15%)
15%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)
6%

DISILLUSION Back To Times Of Splendor reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is a release that is pretty much one of the great progressive metal records of 2004. The group "Disillusion" is a 3 man band from Leipzig, Germany. The group features the music of Vurtox. He is the band leader here and also has Rajk Barthel on guitars and Jens Maluschka on drums. Various musicians help fill out on some bass, piano and drums loops here and there. Vurtox plays guitars; both acoustic and electric, bass, keys and orchestral arrangements. Oh and he also does the vocals of which I can hear 3 distinct vocal styles.

This work was recorded over a 2 year period and it shows in the ways that the music is layered with lots of neat and cool sounds that almost completely fill the entire sonic spectrum. The production is expansive with all the instruments well represented although some of the lead guitars seem a little buried in the mix. Its almost like its Vurtox's labor of love in the way all the sounds seem to be in place and not much is left out.

Words seem hard to come up with to describe this bands unique mixing of all the most extreme metal that only adds up to a most sublime metal cd I've heard in a long long time. Bands like Opeth, Death, Anethema, Emperor, Soilwork or in some synth- passages Dream Theater come to mind, but that is only a try of discribing the mix of styles Disillusion use in their sound on "Back To Times Of Splendor". The Metal Blade label signed them due to the strength of one 2 song demo. Musically these guys play melodic Death Metal with hints of Black metal, Classic Rock, Prog Metal and also some symphonic darkness in the background soundscapes.

On all the pieces there is so much going on that one has to take sections of each song to describe what's happening. There are 6 songs that add up to 56:50.

The song I like the best is the title piece. It lasts 14:39 and by the time it ends you wonder where did the time go as this one is just simply a very well conceived and tight song with many subsections that are interesting and awesome. The song starts out with violin playing over lush keyboards laying out an orchestral motif. Around the 45 second mark the song explodes into a medium fast tempoed death metal chord/riff section. There is a transition that is kind of off sounding but it works ok. The full band is chugging along with the violin playing almost inaudibly over the top. At the 3 minute mark the "clean nervous very tense" voice begins singing. The song is about memories and reflections of past occurrences. The music changes to a heavy power metal 4/4 section with nice guitar melodies and the drums rolling along with the riffs. The solo guitar is very edgy and trebly. At the 4:30 mark the music slows down with spoken vocals "telling of lesson's learned", this section has a very killer riff and guitars. From around the 4:45 - 5:45 the music speeds up with the clean vocalist going slightly insane, "I must have seen it coming!".

The section goes on like this until about the 7 min mark where everything quiets down with thunder, rain and birds chirping over a keyboard synthesizer chordal section. Another change lets the bass and drums play a very cool medium fast figure that lasts until around the 8 min mark. Very sublime acoustic guitar begins playing a nice figure that is doubled tracked with another acoustic guitar playing arpeggios that make this a very nice section. Electric guitar takes a solo around the 8:38 point with the acoustic guitar rejoining, most exquisite. Clean vocals begin singing around the 9:12 mark about "morning sun beyond the clouds". At the 10:08 mark the heavy early death metal section comes back with full band raging and a very distorted guitar playing a solo. Next section has alternating vocals styles of clean and death metal singing until about the 12 min mark where he talks about a "dungeon". Death metal vocals at 12:30 mark with a very cool riff section that is made for head banging is next. The heavy section mutates and slows a bit to where the drums roll and the music ands at 14:39.

Now this is one of the longer tracks on this cd and it goes by without much in the way of boring the listener as so much is going on all the time. The other long track is called "the sleep of restless hours" and lasts 17:02, which marks the second BIG highlight of the album. Cinema in widescreen for the listener, where the epic songwriting reaches it's peak and crashes the album with an repeating instrumental part to an fitting end. Not forget the other, shorter songs, which are also excellent, with the beautiful half-ballad "a day by the lake" beeing my favourite out of them. The other tracks, called "...and the mirror cracked", "fall " and "alone I stand in fires" are found food for the Extreme Metal fans, where also haunting, melodic parts will give the listener a very good variation between the brutal parts.

All the tracks on the album are uniformly great and do take some listening to really hear and get just what is going on. This is very good and challenging stuff - the progression for the future of metal. Or like the sticker on the digipack tells: An album in cinemascope and widescreen!

It's only questionable how Disillusion will manage the follow-up, specially because the new album will be more straight forward, far less epic (statements Vurtox in an interview on www.powermetal.de). The final product will be available in June or July this year. During that time I will stand alone in fires, onward to times of splendor!

Rating:

9/10 points = 91 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 star / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

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Send comments to Marc Baum (BETA) | Report this review (#63742) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 08, 2006

Review by Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Well this album just downright leveled me. Back to Times of Splendor is a colossal debut by a band who seemed to come out of nowhere. Disillusion play with the brute force of nu-metal bands, but the sophistication of, say, Opeth and Green Carnation. The songs cover a range of sounds and emotions - loaded with bludgeoning riffs and melodic solos, not to mention ethereal acoustic passages - led by the passionate frontman Vurtox. I don't know where that name came from, but clearly a mind that thought up that name is capable of writing equally awesome music. Vurtox boasts both a very intimidating growl and a unique clean voice capable of transmitting some stunning melodies. This is done over a thick wave of sound, largely based on guitars, bass and drums, but also includes some well placed keys and strings here and there.

What helps make this album so forceful and stunning is the production. The sound is so densely packed with layers of carefully selected riffs, chords, etc. with the most apposite tones one could think of. This is, simply put, a mammoth of a record, but a very expressionate mammoth.

The music here avoids the typical extreme progressive metal standards in favor of this simpler, denser sound emotion-ridden sound, and this album consequently stands out as an intriguing, yet accessible and wholly unique. Instead of trying to figure out crazy patterns on your repeated plays, you'll be trying to dig through layers of instrumentation for new parts you've never noticed before and seeing how they all fit together to create such a massive sound. And of course, with each listen you'll be taken upon an emotional journey as well. There are no particular standouts on this one; it is just a top to bottom treasure chest of an album. It stimulates your senses and your emotions with every passage. Stunning.

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Send comments to Moatilliatta (BETA) | Report this review (#170107) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Review by horsewithteeth11
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Who are these guys, how did they come out of nowhere, and, more importantly, how did they make such a fantastic album?

Those are some of the thoughts that were rushing through my mind the first time I listened to this. Then later that day I listened to it again. Then I listened to it yet again. All in all, I listened to this album 3 times the day I got it. It's not really good based on technical playing, but rather the enormous layers one has to dig through to fully appreciate what is going on. And trust me; there are a lot of deep layers in this music. In describing it, I'd say that it's in the veins of melodic/progressive death metal, but with a more mature style of songwriting than your average melodic death metal band (think Opeth type of maturity). Combine that with many, many layers of music and the walls of sound (the good kind) from a band like The Mars Volta and you're starting to get an idea for what Disillusion sounds like on this album. It's taken me about half a dozen listens to even begin to fully grasp how deep I can sink myself in this album. Saying that this is multilayered music might be an understatement. Every time you listen to this, you're guaranteed to pick up several things in each song that you didn't notice the previous listen.

Unlike many other bands found in this genre on PA, Disillusion is more than willing to write a few extended songs. In fact, 2 of the 6 songs on here are of epic lengths, one around 14 1/2 minutes and the other clocks in at just over 17 minutes. Both of those songs, the title track and The Sleep of Restless Hours, are standout tracks for me. Both have great intros that really build the songs up nicely, the big difference being that the title track opens with violin and the concluding track opens with fairly dark fretless bass. Alone I Stand in Fires is the other standout track for me, and probably the overall heaviest on here, if for the massive amounts of sound thrown at you than for anything else. Vurtox (a pretty interesting nickname) has a very unique voice, balanced with a mix of clean vocals, which are more unique than his death growls. But he pulls both off very well.

I have yet to hear the band's follow-up because of the skepticism I've heard about it. Or maybe it's because I can't stop listening to this album. If you like Opeth, The Mars Volta, or want to hear a very unique and (slightly) more accessible album from this genre, this is a good one to try out. I'm hoping that their third release is as good as this one. This definitely deserves 5 stars for its creativity.

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Send comments to horsewithteeth11 (BETA) | Report this review (#200480) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 24, 2009

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Wow, is all this metal loving fan can say after listening to Back to the Times of Splendor-- even after the 10th time. This is one album whose aggressive playing, creative writing, and peerless production is stands out masterfully, especially considering that this is a debut!

In general, this album is packed with everything one hopes for in the genre. The 3 principle musicians put out a massive amount of sound, exceptionally proficient and genuinely exciting to listen to. Their songwriting is top notch, featuring clear and smart use of dynamics coupled with explosive intensity. Songs typically feature fast, heavy, aggressive melodies with valleys of soft passages and gentle vocals. A good example of this is in the opener, which begins with an enjoyable series of riffs and heavy hooks then dips suddenly into a dreamy atmosphere-- sounding very much like recent Anathema (briefly). The lengthy songs are, without exception, memorable and dramatic, not to mention brilliantly produced. There are deep layers of sound to explore here; excellent stuff!

Bartel's guitar playing is frenetic; his riffing positively burns, but even more enjoyable is his dexterous melodies, which are so powerful and substantial to the song's presence-- it's amazing that he can sustain them. He has a memorable sound which sets him apart from others in the genre. The other players do not disappoint either. Maluchska's drums explode with smart complexity-- he never over does it, but when he lays it on it sounds like the world is coming to an end!

Vocals deserve special mention as well. Vurtox's voice is stellar in its variety and energy. Typically, its an aggressive, melodic growl-- close to his singing voice but gravelly and hostile sounding... and very good. His clean vocals (present throughout) are just well done, lending a welcomed change of sound to the band's heavy veneer. His choruses are very memorable and catchy, to the point of demanding the need to sing-along to... if one can keep up.

Highly recommended to all metal fans!

Songwriting: 5 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#202423) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Review by 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.

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Send comments to The Pessimist (BETA) | Report this review (#202486) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 12, 2009

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Despite some rumors that Vurtox was a Klingon, it has been confirmed that he is indeed human, and not to mention the creative force behind a very compelling progressive metal album.

I'm not one to be easily swayed by progressive metal, especially the technical kind, but positive reviews spurred me to check Back to Times of Splendor out, and I do not regret it.

This is a big, heavy sound, but it never seems overly so, or cheesy in my opinion. The guitars have a slightly-out-of-tune quality that I have to believe is more a band trademark than any production limitation. The vocals are largely positive, especially the harmonies, even though I only appreciate harsh and growling vocals in moderation.

Cracked may be the highlight for me, as it covers a lot of musical territory in its relatively short duration, at least short in prog terminology. The epics, Splendour and Restless, are also highlights, the former with a memorable outtro, perhaps similar to Opeth's Deliverance (though probably not as mindblowing), and the latter with a great mellow buildup, but unfortunately also containing a cop-out false ending.

Overall, a quite solid metal album--I was generally surprised and taken aback by some of the power contained within. Despite all the positives, there are surprisingly some fairly simple songwriting techniques that Vurtox failed to acknowledged--or perhaps intentionally decided to stick it to the man--that could have bolstered this solid release even higher.

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Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#285616) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars Disillusion hit the world with an exceptionally strong modern prog metal album, very eclectic in style and borrowing as much from classic 90's prog metal as from melodic progressive death metal and symphonic black metal.

In a way they sound like an upgraded version of Green Carnation, maintaining a similar epic vibe, but adding more adventurous and varied songwriting. Unlike many prog metal acts, Disillusion won't fish for your attention by daft or flashy musicianship but by their outstanding compositions, which remain dynamic, engaging and accessible for the entire 57 minute duration of the album. An exceptional achievement in a genre where albums usually wear themselves out before they're halfway through. It's quite the contrary here. The quality of the material even keeps getting better and better as the album goes along.

The band is categorised as Tech/Extreme but I wouldn't give too much weight to that. There are death metal elements but generally the music is very melodic, progressive and certainly not technical. To a certain extent you could compare the music to Opeth but there are a lot of elements that set them apart from the Swedes. The vocals for instance also vary inbetween death metal grunts and clean vocals, but the singing voice is more theatrical and anthemic then Opeth. It sits quite close to the melodic vocal moments of Borknagar and Dimmu Borgir. Also the keyboards add a decisive symphonic element. Luckily Disillusion avoids the melodic cheese and power metal clichés of much prog metal acts.

Highly recommended to fans of modern metal in the vein of Green Carnation, Opeth, Edge Of Sanity. At least 4 stars in one of my highest rated subs, Tech/Extreme.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#285999) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 11, 2010

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Back To Times Of Splendor' - Disillusion (8/10)

Disillusion is one of those bands I went into listening blindly, going in based solely on the good words of others concerning this album. One of those bands that seems to suddenly cranked their spirits into high gear for this one, the band's debut album has impressed me, to say the least. From what I've heard, the band had only come out with a handful of decent, if not great demos and this came as something of a shock to anyone that had heard the band before. Precedent aside however, 'Back To Times Of Splendor' is an excellent piece of melodic progressive metal that can feel scattered at times, but really leaves an impression on the listener that begs a listen after another.

When speaking of the sound of this band, there is a real mix of disparate progressive metal styles here. Of course, there is the atypical time signatures that one might generally associate with the work of Dream Theater, but there are also many heavier elements here, such as the influence of melodic death metal and the Scandinavian 'viking metal' sound. In any case, the end result is heavy metal that maintains a very melodic sound, and balances equal shares of technicality and epic symphonic sounds. Rounding off the sound is the vocal work of a man credited here only as Vurtox; whose deep voice has a great vibrato to carry even the weakest musical moments here through.

In terms of the songwriting, there are both shorter and longer tracks here, both of which are given a progressive metal do-over. The album's opener 'And The Mirror Cracked' gives the greatest first impression, firing on all cylinders as it opens up furiously. Here, the growls of Vurtox can also be heard, which generally do not amount to much, unfortunately. It is the clean vocals that dominate each track here however. The album is quite good and filled with great musical ideas. It comes close to even being a masterpiece, although this title is robbed due to a feeling that some of the ideas are less developed than they should have been. While the epics here are quite well composed and rarely feel boring, it does feel as if the album could have done without some of the fat on its bones.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#422039) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Disillusion's debut album is a genius fusion of aggressive death metal and the prog metal sound of the 1990s. It's most impressive for the way the band manage to combine the best of both genres whilst avoiding their less appealing aspects; on the prog metal side, the band bring in all the technically complex and intricate playing and songwriting of the subgenre whilst the death metal aggression allow them to avoid the cheesiness prog metal can stumble into. At the same time, the progressive metal song structures prevent the death metal side of the band from running into a simplistic rut. On the whole, it's a recipe for success.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#662555) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 17, 2012

Latest members reviews

5 stars From the European Strongest country comes: the greatest album ever! First of all, i read Prog-Archives warning about ratings but I really love this record. So everything I say about this I will be a suspect and you, the reader, may not want to take my word for it, but please listen to it. Th ... (read more)

Report this review (#306897) | Posted by Leviun | Wednesday, October 27, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of the best albums I've heard recently is this release of the german progressive metal band Disillusion. They released a few demos and EP's before this but with Back To Times Of Splendor they really had a fantastic start. The first song and the mirror cracked is simply amazing. Powerful/hea ... (read more)

Report this review (#210591) | Posted by petrica | Monday, April 06, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Progressive heaviness! Back To Times Of Splendor is the album I've needed for a long time, all that power couldn't come from any other prog band, headbangers be aware! With their mixture of all kinds of heavier kinds of metal, symphonic and progressive music the result is just amazing. Every so ... (read more)

Report this review (#130873) | Posted by painofdamnation | Monday, July 30, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Epic, powerful, aggressive, Back to Times of Splendor. From the first seconds of the first track you get a clear view what you are about to experience, the aggressive start just nails you down. But within the wall of sound there are great melodies and skillful playing with very much going on at ... (read more)

Report this review (#73689) | Posted by | Friday, March 31, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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