Zyklon - Aeon
Death Metal
9 songs (41'56")
Release year: 2003
Zyklon, Candlelight
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

Norwegians Zyklon are back with their second effort Aeon, and they are back with a roar. What else would you expect from the album with an F5 tornado picture on the cover?

For those of you who don’t know, Zyklon is a band founded by Samoth, guitar, and Trym, drums, formerly of Emperor’s fame. While the latest Emperor release Prometheus: Discipline of Fire and Demise was highly symphonic complexly arranged black metal, Zyklon veered off in the territory of the aggressive death metal with its debut World ov Worms. With Aeon it seems like Samoth wanted to further distance himself from Emperor, especially Ihsahn’s pull for black symphonics. World of Worms, and now Aeon, go back to the violent non-compromising roots. Yet, among the multitude of layers presented in Aeon one can hear the complexity, atmospherics and well-roundness of mature songwriters.

The core of the band, Samoth and Trym, are joined by Destructhor (Myrkskog) on lead-guitar (appeared on World ov Worms) and newcomer Secthdamon on bass and vocals. Still, the album features guest appearances by other prominent Norwegian metal scene members such as Daemon (Limbonic Art), Ofu Kahn and LRZ (Peccatum and Source of Tide, if I am not mistaken).

The first two tracks, Psyklon Aeon and Core Solution, do not wait too long to bash you over the head. The latter is one big giant engine, churning non-stop, only to slow down for a shredding solo. Personally, however, I was “feeling the album out” with the first two tracks. It all came together for me starting with a blasting, thrashy, punchy Subtle Manipulation. Trym’s performance on drums is simply superlative. There is no way human limbs should move like this and continue to be attached. His feet move with the speed of a helicopter chops, and the arms feel so masculine beating the drum skins, even though the drums are probably triggered. Also on Subtle Manipulation Samoth unveils a “synthetically” sounding eerie guitar backdrop which adds its own unique character to Aeon. Two Thousand Years is a slowdown of demonic guitar distortion. This track also has the most number of overlapping vocal tracks on the album. Generally, the vocals are alternative deep death growls and higher screams with a certain degree of “cleanliness” in them. Two Thousand Years, with a help of Daemon, introduces still cleaner vocals and subliminal whispers. No Name Above Names and the closer An Eclectic Manner give a nod to Peter Tagtren’s bombastic style of death metal on Hypocrisy and his Amon Amarth productions. Both songs are pure walls of sound where every level is filled with an instrument be it a guitar, bass or synthesizer. The Prophetic Method has a lively melothrash beat at the beginning and tight “marching” riffs towards the end.

While no track on Aeon is weak or inferior, my favorite song is Electric Current. This is pure yet aligned chaos and raging maelstrom of emotions, with an innovative undercurrent guitar sound befitting the track’s title. The end of the song features an industrial techno style beats and synths. To me, after being dragged through inferno, those feel like a body shaking in convulsions.

Zyklon has been criticized for taking a name after a gas used by the Nazis in extermination chambers. Having had my grandmother’s family executed during World War II I am sensitive to the subject. So I spent considerable time studying Zyklon’s lyrics on Aeon. As on the debut, they were penned by Bard Faust, imprisoned Emperor member. Much to my satisfaction, Zyklon’s lyrics have nothing to do with the controversial subject. Much to my surprise, and interest, Zyklon’s lyrics are deeply thoughtful and philosophical. In order to better convey the message, the band provides liner notes for every song in an otherwise impeccably designed booklet.

Having discussed Aeon with my teammate and colleague Crims (I am sure he will underscore this and provide his opinion), I heard that with Aeon Zyklon have gone for a more “typical” sound. I agree that the album shows a concerted effort to become more “death metal aggressive”. However, with a week of almost non-stop listening I have discovered a number of little innovative things that distance Zyklon from the crowd. As good musicians as these guys are, and as powerful as their production is, Aeon, in my opinion, is in the running for a death metal album of the year.

Killing Songs :
Subtle Manipulation, No Name Above the Names, The Prophetic Method, Electric Current, An Eclectic Manner
Alex quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Zyklon that we have reviewed:
Zyklon - Disintegrate reviewed by Kayla and quoted 92 / 100
Zyklon - World OV Worms reviewed by Aaron and quoted 93 / 100
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