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




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.21 | 189 ratings

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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 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!


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

Marc Baum | 5/5 |


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