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DISILLUSION

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Germany


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Disillusion biography
Founded in Lepizig, Germany in 1994 - Still active as of 2019

One of the most promising extreme progressive metal bands of the 21st century, DISILLUSION, was formed in 1994 in Lepizig, Germany by Tobias Spier, Alex Motz, Markus Espenhain, Jan Stlzel and the multi-instrumentalist and band's main composer Andy Schmidt, who was the only person from the first bunch that stayed in the band. DISILLUSION remained an unfinished project until Jens Maluschka and Rajk Barthel joined on drums and guitars respectively. Initially influenced by such bands as MESHUGGAH, DISILLUSION released two EP in 2001-2002, adding acoustics to the heavy sound, to follow an old demo, which finally brought them success of the media and fans.

The band's only full-length release so far, "Back to Times of Splendor", was released in 2004 and is a great example of epic modern extreme metal, played with progressive passages and melodic acoustic parts. Not much time has passed since the release of the LP, "Back to Times of Splendor" is already considered to be one of the trademarks of the genre.

Not similiar to any of the following bands, although comparisons could be drawn, DISILLUSION is highly recommended to fans of such groups as OPETH, DEATH, MESHUGGAH, MY DYING BRIDE and ANATHEMA.

The next album is planned to be released in the late spring/early summer of 2006. Stay tuned!

: : : ivansfr0st, LATVIA : : :

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DISILLUSION discography


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DISILLUSION top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.19 | 205 ratings
Back to Times of Splendor
2004
3.81 | 71 ratings
Gloria
2006
3.47 | 20 ratings
The Liberation
2019
4.00 | 14 ratings
Ayam
2022

DISILLUSION Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DISILLUSION Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DISILLUSION Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DISILLUSION Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.91 | 4 ratings
Red
1997
2.57 | 11 ratings
Three Neuron Kings
2001
2.55 | 10 ratings
The Porter
2002

DISILLUSION Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ayam by DISILLUSION album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.00 | 14 ratings

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Ayam
Disillusion Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by alainPP

4 stars DISILLUSION is this progressive metal band that I discovered in 2004, dark prog nag with a splendid, innovative and futuristic "Back To Times Of Splendor" concept album. After a forced break, the group with Andy Schmidt in charge since 1994 continues on sounds that MESHUGGAH, Devin TOWNSEND, IHSAHN, DEATH, MY DYING BRIDE, ANATHEMA and especially OPETH can represent in musical amalgam; a raw energetic sound in the inventive world of music and titanic progressive atmospheres, in short, let's throw ourselves into this extreme technical prog metal having already reviewed their 2019 opus.

"Am Abgrund" after a short spatial intro which you will have to take advantage of, it is a deluge in abundance; high voice, machine gun percussion, divine choirs, trumpets in the background, heavy rhythm; mid-break with a guitar arpeggio sweeter than me you die, a voice-over for a juicy progressive development. The musical organoleptic ascent is intended to be a bouquet of notes, sounds and an intoxicating deluge. "Tormento" intro of angels then death-doom riff and the madness of the rhythm that FAITH NO MORE did so well; the air of a 60's film behind and a frenzied, unhealthy and complex guitar solo, a real verbal jousting before the explosive and hypnotic finale, voice growl to excess. "Driftwood" clap our hands, we go on the dance floor, Andalusian, bossa nova, the violin wants to be welcoming; Andy's voice restful here; it only goes up halfway with choirs, dark violin, machine-gun guitar, it comes down again, latent progressive drift; it goes back but now the sound has invaded us and we find it almost too soft, an understatement for my prog friends of yesteryear who are going to cut their last hair from their skull, good a final violin all the same and "Abide the Storm" for the bomb! Trumpets can be heard before the tech-extreme deluge sets in motion. At this moment we are far from prog until a break with these same softer trumpets; and there it is wonderful, cinematic, ambient; the trumpet plays its sinister and chilling jam at the same time; it falls on the jazzy space, on an inimitable style made of marvelous melancholy daydreams; the guitar solo brings us back to reality for a while then Andy drives the point home and leaves us to face the storm alone in front of the emerging maelstrom.

"Longhope" hangs forward, a little in the dark line of a SOEN, a KATATONIA with a calm voice, the riff well placed to imprint melody and efficiency; it goes up before a sudden break with intense spleen, to make you cry, MY DYING BRIDE and ANATHEMA in the background then the voice explodes; final ambient piano for 40 seconds to create mystery and the sequence with "Nine Days" with a singular concept, a crescendo that smells good OPETH, still hints of FAITH NO MORE, strange and sublime for these reminiscences. It is latent above all and the cataclysmic end seems all smooth, gripping, bringing "From the Embers" to the overwhelming neo-classical intro... just before the contained surge of the DISILLUSION sound; everything is there in terms of power, then the air arises in this title by pouring into a melodic-serenade line and it is precisely on a spleen sound that it ends. "The Brook" closes the album; cinematic intro, yes? the current fashion; vocals la COHEN here on a basic guitar arpeggio aided by piano and cello; the sinister melody la MY DYING BRIDE, it rises with the drums as if to climb Olympus or descend forever into the musical abyss; a grandiloquent and festive crescendical rise where the sound mutates into deep despair, the sound image of our society.

DISILLUSION drives the point home again with this extraordinary album where heavy sounds navigate with ethereal melancholic spaces. A real pleasure entangled with prog passages and explosive acoustic moments; a multilayer of sounds produced by Jens BOGREN (OPETH, KATATONIA) offering a violent and varied inner journey into the dreamlike and introspective world that lies dormant within us. A sequel with even more musical emotions amplified by the extreme and purely melodic sound, but don't get me wrong there is much more prog blood in this opus than in many so-called progressive bands. A must in the genre.

 Ayam by DISILLUSION album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.00 | 14 ratings

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Ayam
Disillusion Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by lukretio

4 stars How on Earth did I miss out on this amazing band for all these years?! Hailing from Leipzig, Germany, Disillusion play a formidable distillate of all my favourite metal genres, from melodic death metal, to avant-garde / progressive metal, to dark gothic/doom metal. And yet their new record Ayam, released on November 4th via Prophecy Productions, is the first I hear from them - and it simply blew me away! The LP is just the fourth in a career that spans nearly 30 years and includes a long hiatus between 2006 and 2019. That may in part explain why the band has flown under my radar for so long, but still I cannot stop kicking myself for being so late to the party!

This album is incredible. It takes the listener on a sonic journey that knows no boundaries, exploring a kaleidoscope of diverse metal styles and influences with terrific aplomb and intelligence, as each twist and turn of this 60-minute beast feels as natural as water. Opening track "Am Abgrund" is a great example of the extraordinary creative drive that runs through the whole LP. This song throws literally everything at the listener during its exhilarating 11 minutes. A ferocious death metal section with blast beats, lacerating growls and ? believe it or not ? trumpet and flugelhorn, suddenly resolves in an epic clean chorus, whose vocal harmonies remind me of the way clean voices are arranged by Viking metal bands like Borknagar or Enslaved. The song's first half is a hurricane, constantly swinging between fury and melody in a way that should be jarring and yet it works splendidly. This rollercoaster of a section eventually culminates in a stunning jazzy guitar solo that gives me strong Cynic vibes. A calmer section ensues, with acoustic guitar arpeggios and soft clean vocals painting the sort of suffused, ghostlike atmospheres one may find in the work of Opeth or Riverside. Another splendid chromatic solo leads back to the death metal pyrotechnics of the opening section, bringing the song full circle.

The rest of the album continues in a similar fashion. Each song brings in new shades of darkness, swinging between annihilating aggression ("Tormento", "Abide the Storm"), and calmer nocturnal meditations built around dreamy vocals, mournful cellos and acoustic guitars ("Driftwood", "Nine Days"). This injects a strong unpredictability in the proceedings, as one never knows where the next song may venture. This exhilarating sense that "everything goes" is also achieved by largely eschewing formulaic song structures: each new track takes its own course, loosely arranged around verse and chorus, but free to expand and contract according to the music's needs. The songwriting is equally fluid, embracing an ever-changing set of influences from song to song. Echoes of gothic metal (Moonspell) emerge in "Nine Days", but the same song later explores the sort of serene post-rockish soundscapes that one can find in Anathema's output. Meanwhile, "Longhope" combines catchy dark metal vibes la Katatonia with a Leprous-esque chorus that is at the same time poppy and brutal. Elsewhere, we find traces of Devin Townsend's across-the-board take on extreme metal ("Tormento"), but also doomy riffs and tempos ("Abide the Storm"), and even hints of 1970s progressive rock (the Floydian solos in "Abide the Storm").

It's a lot to take in, but Disillusion pull it off with ease, making each transition feel natural, almost necessary. Andy Schmidt's distinctive voice plays a big role in ensuring the album flows without solution of continuity. His subdue, melancholy melodies and cleverly-constructed vocal harmonies are the sonic trademark of the LP: like a beacon in the dark, he guides the listener through the album's dense and dazzling journey. His vocals are the fixed point around which the music ebbs and flows, always returning to those familiar cadences and melodies. This achieves a beautiful equilibrium between exploration and familiarity, which is one of the major strength of this release.

There is another type of balance that Ayam nails perfectly: that between technical playing and emotional delivery. The progressive metal scene today seems characterized by a chasm between bands that play hyper-technical, but emotionally dry music, and bands that instead embrace the road of "cinematic metal", rich in emotions but often limited in terms of virtuoso playing. Disillusion sit at the exact intersection between these two traditions, like very few other bands do (Opeth, perhaps, although their music does err on the side of technicality at the expense of emotional punch). Ayam brims with exceptional playing. The guitars (played by Schmidt, Ben Haugg and exiting band member Sebastian Hupfer) pull off excellent riffs and solos, but Martin Schulz's jaw-dropping performance at the drumkit deserves to be mentioned too: he is a powerhouse, deftly switching between brutal bludgeoning and nimble percussions in the most natural way possible. Throughout the album, however, the focus is firmly retained on effective songwriting and emotional delivery: there is no trace of technical showmanship for the mere sake of it. The result is music that lends itself to two modes of listening ? cerebral and visceral ?, effectively combining the best of both worlds as far as modern prog metal is concerned.

Among all the praise, there is one aspect of Ayam that bothers me a little: the songs' sequencing. There are two long-form epic tracks on the album, "Am Abgrund" and "Abide the Storm", both exceeding 11 minutes in length. Both songs are excellent, but placing them so close to one another (at position #1 and #4, respectively) does not work well. The similarities between the two songs become too salient, reducing their impact (for instance, their structure is similar, with a calmer, moody middle-part bookended by more energetic sections). My other, and bigger, complaint concerns the closing track "The Brook". This song feels unnecessary to me, because the album's perfect closing moment has already passed, with the beautiful, languid fade-out of its penultimate song "From the Embers". In my opinion, those should have been Ayam's last notes. After such a splendid, uplifting come-down, "The Brook" feels almost like a second, redundant album finale, that lack however the emotional punch of "From the Embers".

However, in the grander scheme of things. these are mere quibbles. Ayam is a terrific accomplishment that, come December, I am sure will end up on many album-of-the-year lists. There is little doubt in my mind that this is one of the best, richest progressive metal albums released in the past decades, and fans of dark, melancholic metal need to check this out pronto!

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

 Back to Times of Splendor by DISILLUSION album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.19 | 205 ratings

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Back to Times of Splendor
Disillusion Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

4 stars DISILLUSION got its start in 1994 and was founded by multi-instrumentalist Andy Schmidt (aka Vurtox) along with a bunch of school friends who would all depart before the band cemented its more stable lineup around 2000. This band is a prime example of one of the former Eastern block satellite nations of the Soviet Union quickly finding its own after the collapse of the communist system and bands like DISILLUSION wasted no time crafting their inspirations drawn from the long gestating influences of Western creative fecundity. After a couple demos titled "Subspace Infinity" and "Red," the band's unique stylistic approach already proved to be in full power with the debut EP "Three Neuron Kings" but DISILLUSION was holding the best for its full-length album BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR which wouldn't find a release until 2004.

The EP got the band noticed and was signed with Metal Blade Records and immediately caught the metal underground's attention for its unique approach of hybridizing the sounds of 90s alternative metal from bands such as System of a Down along with the melodic death metal sounds of bands like At The Gates, In Flames and Soilwork only teased out into more progressive compositions that included an overarching concept contains six tracks that are divided into musical chapters of a larger theme however remains nebulous enough never to grasp one's hooks around exactly what the point is lyrically speaking. Perhaps it has something to due with the eerie blurred cover art that evokes a sense of some of the neo-prog albums but whatever the case DISILLUSION muster up enough clever hooks, twists and turns to create an album that stood out amongst the crowds back when the metal world was becoming a more crowded place by the day.

What DISILLUSION crafted here was basically a tight-knit inspirational palette of all the music that sallied forth into the new open societies of Eastern Europe. BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR is a virtual smorgasbord of American thrash metal mixed with melodic death metal, alternative 90s and the more demanding complexities of the world of progressive rock and Dream Theater metal with two lengthy labyrinthine composiitons "Back To Times Of Splendor (14:39)" and "The Sleep Of Restless Hours (17:02)" which find catchy bombastic guitar riffs alternating into a sea of ever-changing variations that sprawl on with effective atmospheric accouterments. And despite all the obvious influences on board, DISILLUSION still manages to find its own niche in the expansive world of 2000s prog metal which sounds like the band perfected this one for years as the production and mixing is impeccable.

BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR runs the gamut of excessively brutal death metal rampages to lushly fueled clean guitar passages that are more remnant of symphonic prog bands like Genesis or Marillion but never meander on too long without returning to the metal madness that rules this kingdom. Likewise Vurtox's vocal diversity is another strength which at times evoke Serj Tankian in full System of a Down glory but also exhibit growly death metal vocals, shouts and tender clean vocals that leave the metal universe altogether. Technically a trio with the guitar heft of Rajk Bartel and the drumming prowess of Jens Malushka, Vurtox performs the lion's share of instrumental duties by tackling not only the vocals but also guitars, bass, keys and the orchestral arrangements. A few sessions musicians were added for strings and piano as well as extra vocals.

While touted as one of the great metal masterpieces of all time, i can't say i'd quite go that far when describing BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR as it seems rather unfocused in how it jumps around from one track to the next. The story is neither compelling nor does the band truly deliver a unique metal sound all of its own despite effortlessly creating an interesting hybrid album that works quite well. Add to that the album is a bit too long for its own good but despite these minor quips, it's obvious from a single listen why this band was so revered from the moment this album was released. It easily stands on its own as one of those projects that was fueled by the pent up repression of living in a part of the world that was literally cut off from the free market developments of the West. While not perfect, DISILLUSION created a compelling debut which unfortunately were never able to follow.

 The Liberation by DISILLUSION album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.47 | 20 ratings

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The Liberation
Disillusion Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by alainPP

4 stars DISILLUSION is a progressive metal band that I had in 2004 classified as death-dark-prog nag! Well I know it's not in agreements, but in my book! "Back To Times Of Splendor" had hit the headlines by this innovative and futuristic concept album. The vagaries of the group, birth of children, find work, have to make a forced break. There are two years a crowdfunding relaunched the group with Andy Schmidt at the helm. The group began in 1994 sailing in the extreme thrash, extreme modern metal, metal tech pat metal and its ethereal air. MESHUGGAH, Devin Townsend, IHSAHN, DEATH, MY DYING BRIDE, ANATHEMA and especially OPETH represent somewhere sounds that can amalgamate to listen to this album titanic! Yes I say now,

"In Waking Hours" begins the album with a beautiful intro with strings intro BOF (movie soundtrack as the last "Annihilation") or with air air, space, melancholy like the intro of "Aqua" ASIA, in fact it's just sublime. Time to continue with "Wintertide" and riff from the grave to machine gun. It's heavy, it imposes the growl singer's voice adds a little. I found a little of the madness of MY DYING BRIDE moments. The riff becomes frenetic pop with an almost gentle chorus that makes you whisper between two spasms that there is room to spare. The battery is excellent, just explosive, they would come to regret the wake of OPETH vintage prog. Here it is wild, glossy, heavy, almost insane with many melodic breaks scattered to both sides, acceleration, lull with cello, as in a nascent storm! Maelstrom to the end of course! My album title! "The Great Unknown" sends the heaviest yet, frank brutality and majestic chorus to 2'10 '' ambient prog and fusion on the map, confusing. I even thought I heard the chorus of "And The Cruise S'amuse"! The gun makes its taf, yet I have not written for an instrument. "A Shimmer In The Darkest Sea" starts with a cinematic intro new kind ALIEN or Prometheus, some MONSTER MAGNET for bass, to tell you that the bases are varied; voice borrows some of the ULVER, that of IHSAHN, some Serj TANKIAN or Devin Townsend. Riff also from mid-term to a melodic prog drivingly window with the limits choruses Gregorian, heat capacity, masculine looks like an ode to freedom, to a Scandinavian Induction worship. The end eye on the complaints of cold ANATHEMA.

"The Liberation" album title goes on a massive scale with everything: it is the third title of over 12 'which outputs an unstoppable anthem air early for a hike in the Arctic north. The voice is more death here, there is some redundancy at times, the solos are there to lose a little more. Then came a form of calmitude (yes, you will find !!), area of ​​no sound and then leave with choirs, playful chorus sinister narrative rigor. Halfway out a thinning of notes, the music is nice and warm at once, it is elsewhere. The solo is plaintive and allows to escape further into the Sidereal steppe. Here in this remote corner-death-doom metal animal sleeps prog. "Time To Let Go" arrives for the "ballad" of the album with voice phrased, melodic lines more accessible recalling some all new prog metal bands of the 2010's; it's sweet, energetic, catchy. Of course a line with cello comes just to give an ethereal sweetness; PARADISE LOST back a little memory as by now. "The Mountain" finally comes to the third long way somewhat reminiscent of a triptych to run here and there atmospheres already agreed in the previous two titles. The intro is already enchanting (certified neologism!), Wind, piano and cavernous voice come the scene and throwing an icy atmosphere, rising with size the concept of progressive music; is stately, Epic, evanescent each break with this pest bit is grandiose is enjoyable. This icy atmosphere with introduction of trumpet (I repeat, 2020 Canterbury prog fusion and will!) finally leaves a benevolent form of heat, soothing in its numerous breaks and almost forget the violence of the choruses. Again I can not help thinking this awesome key-at-all Devin! mounted of, various voices, ambient breaks, causing a burning digress and effervescent coldness is what awaits you with this last title. Be careful not to close your eyes, you might see a Balrog. digress causing a burning coldness and effervescent, this is what awaits you with this last title. Be careful not to close your eyes, you might see a Balrog. digress causing a burning coldness and effervescent, this is what awaits you with this last title. Be careful not to close your eyes, you might see a Balrog.

Of course, DISILLUSION has not released easy drive and dancing: the titles are extreme prog metal, but with great prog convolutions that allow to make "The Liberation" a real gem. This column brought me great happiness and musical shows that music is evolving, even in this extreme portion of the progressive music.

 The Liberation by DISILLUSION album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.47 | 20 ratings

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The Liberation
Disillusion Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by pepato

4 stars Disillusion is back to their time of Splendor, indeed. 13 years of waiting since their last full length made me lose any hope of a new album. When I saw "The Liberation", I put it on with a lot of uncertainty. 13 years had passed since "Gloria", that was courageous and experimental, departing from the epic long prog pieces of their debut. As much as I loved "Back to Times of Splendor", I didn't fall in love with their follow-up, cause it sounded like their inspiration had dried out. The long hiatus after that seemed to confirm it, but their comeback proved me wrong.

I was very happy to hear that they went back to their roots. "The Liberation" feels very much like an older brother of BTTOS. Long epic songs, alternating heavy thrashy riffs, chaotic blast beats and long reflective slow sections. Compared to their debut, the sound is much darker and heavier. The growl vocals, which I thought they would abandon for good after Gloria, are back in a much more intense style as before. The arrangements are still a bit chaotic and hypertrophic, which was what to me ruined BTTOS a bit, but the guitar work is tight, with a modern sound that resembles some of the things made by Ihsahn. The songs are less beautiful and dreamy than BTTOS, but they all hit the target when it comes to feelings and emotions. It takes several listens to fully appreciate it.

It doesn't help the fact that in my opinion the quality of the songs is increasing during the tracklist, going from "ok" to "wow". After the beautiful intro, the opener "Wintertide" is indeed a summary of all the elements of the album, but it's the weakest song in the lot. The following "The Great Unknown" is direct and heavy, a short piece good for a single, but not very catchy. Then you have "A Shimmer In The Darkest Sea", with a dark pulsing bass paving the way to a disquieting chorus that proceeds obliquely, very deep and intense. Here is when you start to feel that the album is of a rare quality. The impression is confirmed by the majestic titletrack, an epic masterpiece, really resembling the peak of a mountain reached after a long strenuous journey. Breathtaking. "Time to let go" is another catchy and intense short piece, probably my favourite of the lot: its malinchonic verse and chorus is followed by a break that leaks desperation and intensity. The album finally concludes with a beautiful long epic: "The Mountain" starts dark and heavy just like the opening track, but then it finds itself on the surface of an alien planet: a long instrumental atmospheric piece that reminds of Pink Floyd, woven by the notes of a psychedelic brass. After the mid section, the song explodes in the most violent break, before finding release in an emotional beautiful guitar solo that takes the final chorus by the hand, towards the conclusion of the journey.

Disillusion, despite their low productivity in 16 years, are still able to keep the role of one of the most intense and emotional prog metal bands around.

 The Liberation by DISILLUSION album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.47 | 20 ratings

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The Liberation
Disillusion Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by LMTR14

1 stars Time to let go, this was a fallacy...

This is a case of "I don't usually write reviews here, but this is bad enough for me to do so."

Back to times of splendor was epic melodic death metal, this album is WTF metal. Actually scratch that last part, this album is like 15% metal, 70% filler and 15% stuff I forgot instantly during listening to it! There's really not a lot to say about this album as this can't be considered a serious release, it's a plethora of different ideas (but not actual song ideas, only bits and pieces!) strung together with a lot of choruses, some imitation of BTTOS (obviously the best parts here... though that's not saying much. and imitation is being to generous... rip-off more like), pretentious pretending with non-metal instruments (guest musicians obv) and an unbelievable amount of slow, minimalistic and decidedly un-heavy filler passages that categorically deny any enjoyment or the presence of any FLOW. Really, this dreck is setting a record for how disjointed and un-flowing an album can be! I wasn't expecting too much when buying this blind (I mean Gloria already was the biggest drop a band ever had from one album to the next), but I would at least have expected Disillusion to try seriously, having crowdfunded this album (there sure were enough suckers mentioned in the booklet who must feel really ripped off now). Previously only one album managed to disgust me for me to literally throw it out the car window (Opeth's disasterpiece Heritage, and it was a CD-R, but still...), but since I WAS stupid enough to buy the limited edition, this is instead ending up on Ebay tomorrow after 2 listens. There's nothing to grow on me here, since there's just NOTHING THERE! I can't properly express how disgusted I am by this release as BTTOS is in, and always will remain in, my top 10 albums of all time. What disgusts me most is that now I likely won't even be able to ever go see them live, since now there's TWO horrible albums that will take setlist slots away from BTTOS, and I'm not paying to hear like 1-2 songs I actually want to hear when I have to suffer through so many horrible ones (the pre-BTTOS stuff was decent if nothing special).

1/5 ATROCIOUS! STAY AWAY

PS: I didn't read the lyrics, but from simply listening I can't find any lyrical or thematical connection to BTTOS here. Note that this album is literally advertised as the successor to BTTOS (sticker of the vinyl version, which I also bought...), adding insult to injury!

 Back to Times of Splendor by DISILLUSION album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.19 | 205 ratings

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Back to Times of Splendor
Disillusion Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I was pretty sure I'd already written a review for this album as I had in mind to do it at least twice since acquiring it a few years back. I was checking out progressive metal bands and somehow stumbled across this one either on Amazon or in the iTunes store.

This is the only album I have by Disillusion but my opinion of it and the band it really high thanks to this release. This is a band that combines many of the elements I enjoy in heavy metal and progressive rock. We have longer songs with complex and varied song structure, fast technical playing, an excellent rhythm section with a great drummer, awesome riffs and a good variety between high speed playing and slower riffs with melodic riffs as well, and softer parts with piano or strings added in as a welcome mood changer but without sounding superfluous. In the two longer tracks, "Back to Times of Splendor" and "The Sleep of Restless Hours" there are parts that stray from the heavier death metal side and wander determined into more progressive territory. There are no flambouyant instrumental sections of blatant exhibitionism. Instrumental passages can be technical but used with a purpose within the song structure.

As has been mentioned in other reviews, the album does an excellent job of combining the technical side of prog metal with the brutal side of death metal. I listened to the album again for the first time in a year or so and once again found myself impressed with the skill and song writing. In particular, the guitar sound is a winner for me. The production quality is also great and only in two parts where the music intentionally becomes chaotic and noisy does the clarity of the sound disappear.

There is only one thing that doesn't totally impress me and that is the clean vocals of Andy Schmidt (Vurtox). There's nothing wrong with them and they affect a certain theatrical sense that suits the music very well. But they make me think of a hardcore punk singer who has decided to sing cleanly with a hint of an operetic tone. The two-part harmoney vocals reduce this effect and the brutal vocals are just fine as they are. Those clean vocals are the only thing that doesn't sit exactly right with me. A minor detail really.

That being stated, once again I will emphasize what a terrific album this is musically. I'm not sure where Disillusion went after this. I think I listened a bit to their sophomore album when I considered which album to get but at the time was more impressed with ths one. An easy four stars!

 Back to Times of Splendor by DISILLUSION album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.19 | 205 ratings

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Back to Times of Splendor
Disillusion Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by RuntimeError

5 stars This is one of those 'hidden gems' that people sometimes rave about.

Completely unheard of, the band 'Disillusion' released a masterpiece of aggressive and challenging piece of progressive metal that combines elements from bands such as Opeth and System of a Down. The album opens with 'A Mirror Cracked' - which has become my favourite song in this album. When I first listened to this - the vocals seemed to annoy me but not completely kill the mood. The riffs are absolutely killer, the drive is fantastic and songwriting is phenomenal. The clean section after the 2nd chorus is just so gorgeous. There are obvious Opeth elements but they are quite transparent - anyhow, this certainly should appear to 'Opethians'.

'Fall' continues the riff madness. Instantly you are swept into magnificent progressive metal riffing and absolutely fantastic vocal performance by the frontman 'Vurtox' (yes the vocals are sometimes a little flat but it doesn't really matter at all here) . There is not a single bad moment in this shorter piece - magnificent!

'Alone I stand in Fires' is probably the weakest of the album. While it continues with much of the same mood than the previous songs, it doesn't really do anything special. There is one very cool super heavy section in the middle of the song which is really cool.

The album centerpiece and the title track 'Back to Times of Splendor' opens with a theme violin melody. Yes, the first 3 songs are super heavy blasting progressive metal and then you get a freaking violin opening up a song. The song then evolves into very Opethian riff and aggressive heavy vocals. There are so many fantastic riffs building up this song into the chorus which utilizes the theme melody with the violin. The song goes through many fantastic movements and melodies. The highlight of the album certainly - while the first song is perhaps my favourite, this is in terms of aesthetics a better song.

As the end of the album nears. 'A Day By the Lake' is given. It is a fantastic mellower song that builds itself into a fantastic climax. Starts slowly with echoed guitars and superb drumming. The bass line is fantastic as well (booooaahh boing). I love this song to death.

The final song 'The Sleep of Restless Hours' is another long epic. Going through various stages like it's predecessor 'Back to Times of Splendor'. This song is another killer track which seem a little streched at the end. But the riffs here are again 5/5 and the clean vocal melody is very nice. The final 3-4 minutes is an instrumental, while it's good it doesn't really do much other than fill the album.

In overall, this is a must have for Opeth fans. The harsh vocals are going to annoy you at first but once you get over them, you are in for a treat. The production is a little too loud for my taste and the audio seems to clip a little here and there. In any case, easy 5/5.

 Back to Times of Splendor by DISILLUSION album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.19 | 205 ratings

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Back to Times of Splendor
Disillusion Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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.
 Back to Times of Splendor by DISILLUSION album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.19 | 205 ratings

BUY
Back to Times of Splendor
Disillusion Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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