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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.