Disillusion - Back to Times of Splendor
Metal Blade
Progressive Nu-Metal with MeloDeath Influences
6 songs (56:52)
Release year: 0
Disillusion, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Jason

Sitting atop of my dresser is a pile of CD’s I reserve for moments other than casual, everyday listening. Casual listening would be those short car rides in which Manowar’s “Warriors of the World” is blasting from the car stereo for the whole neighborhood to hear, or when I’m enjoying a few “cold ones” alongside the pool with some friends. But lying on top of my dresser is a select few albums which are used for reasons other than just background music or dealing damage to my upper vertebrae, and that would be indulgence; music that I use to immerge myself into relaxation after a long night of partying my ass off, or for times with a long drive ahead. The newest addition to this pile, which includes albums such as Opeth’s Damnation and Liquid Tension Experiment, would be Disillusion’s Back to Times of Splendor.

Disillusion’s music is quite difficult to classify as it touches many areas of the musical spectrum. An appropriate, yet vague description of their style would be an amalgamation of Progressive, Nu-metal and Melo-Death, with precise transitions from one style to another in epically lengthy tracks. It is almost as though Disillusion have borrowed the prominent musical traits of many well known musicians and combined them to make a new musical concoction may call their own. System of a Down, Dave Matthews Band, Dark Tranquility and Opeth are just a few artists which have distinctive musical traits and can be easily noticed throughout this album.

As I said, each song is epically long, and with 6 tracks averaging 9 minutes long, this isn’t exactly your run of the mill 12 song CD. Seen as I had never heard anything from Disillusion before this, the first tune “…And the Mirror Cracked” took me ultimately by surprise. As soon as the first two minutes of gruff, aggressive vocals culminated, and turned to clean sung, I instantly went to the bands website to see who the band members were. Contrary to what I had guessed, System of a Down’s lead singer Serj Tankian had not started another band and the lead vocalist for Disillusion is a man named Vurtox. The similarities in between Tankian and Vurtox voices are striking, but I’d say that Vurtox’s flexibility is superior to Tankian’s as he is able to switch from aggressive to clean vocals with veritable ease and occasionally give a hint of Dave Matthews styled singing which can be heard on the second track titled “Fall”.

Instrumentally, the band focuses on progressive aspects, constantly changing up rhythms, drum beats, vocals, and mood. As the band’s press release metaphorically outlines, “The music flows through picturesque landscapes, sometimes roaring powerfully through bizarre canyons, sometimes clashing with massive boulders, sometimes flowing through epic valleys of green”. This is especially true for the 14 minute long title track (and best song on the album) “Back to Times of Splendor”. This eclectic track begins with an ambient violin that starts you off on a musical journey that isn’t for the musically impatient. It starts off aggressive and speedy, but about eight minutes into the song things slow down and the listener is serenaded with acoustic guitars and mellow vocals. The serenity is slowly broken as the vocals escalate, guitars switch from acoustic to electric, and the double pedals begin pounding. This is truly a magnificent and epic tune, and by far my favourite on the album.

The final gargantuan track clocking in at seventeen minutes and four seconds titled “The Sleep of Restless Hours” is very similar to “Back to Times of Splendor”, and is once again not for the musically light-hearted. Though it is another good track mostly incorporating Opeth’s lengthy and psychedelic characteristics, it doesn’t measure up to “…Back to Times of Splendor” which manages, in a shorter amount of time, to touch some magnificent musical aspects while keep your interest at all times.

This is a fantastic full-length debut for this German trio, and I am very anxious to see what Disillusion’s musical evolution will look like in the future. But as for the present, buy this album, put it in your CD player, and let yourself be whisked away by the music.

Killing Songs :
"...and the Mirror Cracked", "Back to Times of Splendor"
Jason quoted 86 / 100
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