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I suspected that the loss of Limbonic Art's Daemon on vocals would leave a gaping wound in Zyklon's apocalyptic modus operandi. I was only partially right, as the band took a step back in virtually every conceivable aspect here on Aeon. Most glaringly, where is the portentous doomsday-centric atmosphere? The subtle layer of esoteric keyboards? Gone, all gone. Replaced with an offensively sterile, modern slab of atonal death metal. Above average death metal, but still a waste of the elite talents Zyklon boasts amongst it's nefarious ranks.
I applaud bassist Sechtdamon for stepping in and filling the void left by Daemon's premature departure, but he is a purely one-dimensional grunter. He attempts some of the howling bellows that made World ov Worms such a treat, but it is too little too late in the end. I prefer his black metal croaking in Odium over the barren gutturals that he forces out here on Aeon. Sechtdamon is definitely not playing to his strengths as a vocalist, instead relegated to sandbagging most of the time as leaks spring up constantly due to unimaginative compositions.
Aeon's primary approach consists of Domination-era Morbid Angel worship, with only slight nods to the band's earlier brilliance in "Subtle Manipulation" and "An Eclectic Manner". The atmosphere is almost entirely gutted due to the sterile, underproduced nature of the mix. Sechtdamon's bass has a vehement, clangy presence that distracts more than it captivates, hogging the spotlight and pushing Samoth's admittedly stock riffs even further into the shadows. Torson's kit features a natural, organic sheen that helps highlight the one performance that represents an improvement over World ov Worms. He rarely accrues anything even approaching an impressive velocity, but the workmanlike blasting and cymbal-hopping patterns mesh well together and give the rest of the band a cohesive foothold to launch off of. They sadly squander this advantage more often than not, instead delivering a myriad of interchangeable tracks that do little more than exist.
It isn't until the very end of Aeon that something of substance truly begins to take shape. "An Eclectic Manner" features a great cybernetic atmosphere, supplemented by some scant diving synth lines and a more depressive inclination on the whole. The homogeneous riff delivery still lacks motivation or direction, but the track manages to squeeze by due to it's ironically eclectic nature. "Subtle Manipulation" is also decent enough, featuring more of the busy, atonal riffwork that hails back to classics like "Hammer Revelation" and "Storm Detonation". These two wouldn't sound out of place on World ov Worms, but two out of nine tracks is just heresy on Zyklon's part.
"Psyklon Aeon" has it's isolated moments, but ends up feeling twice as long as it actually is. Even at well under three minutes, it runs out of steam so prematurely that the skip button grows in appeal as the eyelids grow heavy; a disappointing choice for the requisite music video. Samoth really phoned this one in, reverting Zyklon to the side-project status that it began to shake off with the great debut. Other than the clever album artwork style that emulates a movie poster, there is no one area other than the drums that can even hope to match World ov Worms in apocalyptic appeal.
The only end of days that Zyklon evokes on Aeon is that of their own, failing on virtually all fronts and sealing the deal with unimaginative songwriting. The material comes off as aggressive, but not in a primal or anarchic way. It simply comes off as a necessary sonic inclusion, along with virtually every other lackluster performance that is shoehorned into the album. Aeon embodies the worst of the post-millennial death metal style the band helped create a mere two years earlier.
As predicted, Zyklon's debut World ov Worms would create quite a current in the extreme metal fandom of both Europe and the United States. The attention addled fans were suckers for the sort of precision aggression and technicality this band were spitting forth, and the band were able to make some headway live. The next order of business would be to create a worthwhile follow-up, the dreaded sophomore effort, and to fill in their ranks with a permanent solution to the vocals, as well as relieve the other band members of having to play the bass. Keeping the project in the family, and killing two birds with one stone, they enlisted Tony Ingebrigsten, aka 'Sechtdamon', Destructhor's mate from Myrkskog, and also of Odium, to manage the growling AND the four strings.
He does both exceptionally well, and his black/death growls seem a pretty natural fit for this band, perhaps a little bit better than Vidar Jensen's work on the first album, and I like the way he incorporates melody into the gutturals, adding another dimension entirely to the blitz of Bård Eithun's cataclysmic lyrical poetry. I also noticed a larger, welcome boost to the bass on this record which gives it more of a depth than World ov Worms, and this is really the only difference, because this is a similar combination of the death and black metal aesthetics of the debut, with brief infusions of industrial or electronic music to maintain its futurist perspective.
The album starts off like the vortex gracing its cover, with the hurricane force attack of "Psyklon Aeon", part Deicide or Morbid Angel but with some amazing leads woven through out and hints of just enough melody to make this more extreme than some mindless bludgeoning. "Core Solution" is a wise follow-up, as its writhing chugs and bleak backing melody create an immediate foundation for a concert crowd to explode, and coming after the relentless opening track here, its a good change of pace. "Subtle Manipulation" seems to throw away various opportunities, teasing with a few seconds of excellent riffing and then erupting into a pretty stock Norse black metal sequence, but "Two Thousand Years" brings it back with a complex crawl, a brooding and often droning overture of measured thunder which reminds me of the writing for the past two Morbid Angel albums.
Unfortunately, the latter half of the album rarely re-invigorates the excitement brought on by the opening moments of the album. We are instead battered with half-realized fare like "No Name Above the Names" with its pretty dull progression that we feel we've already heard. "The Prophetic Method" and "Electric Current" are all too quickly forgotten. Exceptions would be "Specimen Eruption", which at least begins with a pretty interesting, psychotic industrial thrash flow before diverging into the slower mosh segments with endless double bass formations, or the finale "An Eclectic Manner", which is probably the most introspective, morose piece on the entire album, with some pretty amazing moments in the verse and bridge that really delve into the physical and psychological wasteland cycle the band creates through its aesthetic.
There are certainly elements here I appreciated more than the debut, but the overall songwriting seems somewhat lessened. The lyrics are passable, but simply not as good as those found on World ov Worms. Love the bass tones of this album, and really enjoy Sechtdamon's performance, but it suffers the same 'half-on, half-off' feel I felt about its predecessor, with a number of inspirational tracks counteracted by 'phoned in' material that feels like a pre-tread battlefield. Fortunately the band were keeping themselves alive through some touring and an increasing spike of popularity, because content-wise, this is not quite greatness at play.
If Morbid Angel and Red Harvest had a bastard child, it would probably release something akin to Aeon.
This is Zyklon's second album, and things have changed this time around. Daemon has left, and replaced by some poor bastard named Odd Tony. Pretty big shoes to fill, and... well, he doesn't really. Daemon slaughters this guy. He usually switches between a decent death growl (trying to sound like Steve Tucker, I'm guessing) and a shout/yell (trying to sound like Ofu Kahn? He's failing miserably). The Kahn-like vocals are fairly annoying.
I'm fairly disappointed in Trym. His drumming is pretty much always top-notch, and to see him reduced to bland death metal is kind of... sad. He's slowed down considerably, and gotten way more simplistic. The production has also taken a shot. While the first album was razor-edged and brutal, this album is bassy and muffled. Another attempt to sound more death metal.
The only thing in this album that's gotten better since World ov Worms, are the solos. While the ones on the first album were just there for solo's sake, the ones on this album are more melodic, and intertwine with the music more. The riffs themselves are fairly boring, and provide for a lot of filler songs (Specimen Eruption, No Names Above the Names, Prophetic Method, Subtle Manipulation), while only the riffs in a song or two remind us that we're listening to Zyklon (Core Solution, Electric Current). It has to be stated that the last song, "An Eclectic Manner," is pretty much a Red Harvest song. It sounds exactly like them, and it even has Ofu himself doing some vocals.
If this had been Zyklon's first album, it probably would have been a 70-80. But this is just Zyklon just attempting to jump on the Nile/Behemoth/Decapitated (i.e. modern death) band wagon, and failing horribly. If you want more of the original Zyklon sound, just go listen to Myrkskog.
What in the fuck has happened to things in the death metal world after the year 2000?! It seems that the art of death metal has gone astray in the wrong direction. Many people think that death metal must always be "brutal" or just include illegible growling that not even linguistic scholars can interpret.
It's around this time that we see a branch of a style of death metal that, all of a sudden, became popularized among extreme fans. The fusion of death/black metal had become a match made in heaven (or hell?) up to this point even though this art has been created years ago (Blasphemy, Belphegor, and so on.) Many bands today incorporate more of a death aspect to their music than black metal while others have a smooth blend of both styles... in this case, Zyklon seems to have perfected this art. Zyklon are a more industrialized outfit as opposed to other death/black bands like Behemoth. They play what many people may call today "extreme modern metal" and there really is no other way to better describe this tornado's sound.
This was my introduction to this band and it's left quite the impression on me. Well, after hearing that ex members of Emperor play in this band (“Zamoth” and Trym,) I couldn't help but buy a brand new copy of this CD (and knowing myself, I only usually buy used CD's.) I still have a great appreciation for this CD even though I don't play it every day... and there's a reason I don't play it every day.
This really is a great CD, but it seems pretty bland after some few plays and a good few skip able tracks. It isn't as bland as their last album, "World Ov Worms" (and holy hell did that CD really reek of bland constant blast beating) but "Aeon" has a level of blandness after a few listens. The production is flawless; it's very crisp clear that leaves room for all the instruments (and sound effects) to bleed out of the speakers. The lyrics are really outstanding as well. Bard "Faust" has written some great philosophical lyrics for Zyklon and remains as a stand out element of this CD. So the real problem doesn't lie in the production or lyrical content, but the problem is in the actual music.
They make extreme music as I said before, and it's pretty overwhelming on some tracks. "Psyklon Aeon" demonstrates the insanity this band possesses with its perfect display of black metal fused with industrialized death metal. It progresses, shifting from death growls to black growls and some spoken-like singing. The solo in this song is monstrous as the song itself is an endless monstrous apocalyptic song. "Core Solution" then displays a mid-Morbid Angel riff style of playing with slow but deep guitar riffs over mastodon double bassing drums. This song has a more industrial touch to it with its howling use of sound and noise throughout the riffs. "Subtle Manipulation" returns to an apocalyptic sound with a death metal riff which opens the song. After the short intro, it turns into a black metal assault with blast beats galore and somehow transforms back into a death metal-style song. Other songs, like "The Prophetic Method" has a really infectious, catchy death metal style riffs playing throughout the song and a great solo that leaves your hair standing on your arms! On a different note, such a song like “An Ecletric Manner” slows things down in terms of extremeness and is more atmospheric than anything on this album. This features LZR on samples (of Red Harvest) and his sample work on this track is well done. The vocal style is deathish but has those spoken-style vocals.
For the most part, the tracks on this CD are filled with madness, but some tracks somehow don't seem to appeal as interesting. I'm all for those slow extreme style songs like "Core Solution" but "Two Thousand Years" is awfully repetitive and has no climax. It's not exciting to listen to nor is it as extreme as any other song that was previous of it. "No Names Above The Names," as the song ironically implies with it's chosen title, is repetitive with an overload of extremeness (or what I would like to call bland extremeness.) Any other track I didn't mention are redundant as these tracks mentioned.
If I would say so myself, this is a waaaaaay better release than "World Ov Worms" because it has more diversity and an accessible sound (aka not boring.) "Aeon" indeed is the future of extreme sounding death metal and extreme metal in general. If you're looking for some good death/black metal with a unique industrial touch, then check out this release by Zyklon and disregard the existence of their debut release. This is the Zyklon sound and this is the sound of future madness.
Ear Candy: Psyklon Aeon, Core Solution, Subtle Manipulation, The Prophetic Method, An Eclectic Manner.
With their sophomore offering of Aeon, Zyklon have changed where they were going with the whole black/ death, and went more for a death sound with their latest. While it is an enjoyable album, I find it having a considerable amount of filler.
In all honesty, this album is really a valley album, with the best tracks being “psyklon aeon” and “an eclectic manner.” The songs in the middle are not bad, but they are nothing spectacular. You could skip over them and really be missing nothing. “Subtle manipulation” and “the prophetic method” I enjoyed out of the middle of the album. The album seemed to slow down after psyklon aeon and really didn’t reach that fast pace until the prophetic method. This song is pretty good, and I found my head bobbling like it did during psyklon aeon. Defiantly a track not to skip over.
The only thing that kept me interested during the middle part of the album is Destructor’s solos. Actually if it wasn’t for him, the album wouldn’t really be that good. Everything else on the album is fair; it’s just nothing that mind-blowing. Trym’s drumming is good, but not his best work. He doesn’t seem to be as tight as his past drumming. I do like Sechtdamon’s vocals. They fit in well with the music. Samoth (or Zamoth) has some riffs that work well in the faster songs. The psyklon aeon riff is a good example of this. The lyrics that Bard Faust wrote are interesting and in need of a mandatory read in the booklet. It pulls the concept of the album together better.
Overall it might be worth borrowing from a friend to see how you might like it. this is defiantly an album where if you find it at a replay shop, your getting a good deal.
Album highlights: psyklon aeon, subtle manipulation, the prophetic method, an eclectic manner.
Album lowlights: two thousand years, electric current