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While it still can't match World ov Worms, Disintegrate makes a concerted effort to rectify many of the pitfalls introduced on the lackluster Aeon, and at the very least ends Zyklon's career on a relatively high note. These compositions are stuffed to the brim with multiple shifts in both tone and delivery, being lively without necessarily becoming hectic and chaotic. The production values are also top notch this time around, lending a deservedly massive sonic palette to the proceedings that help amplify the snappy nature of Torson's kit alongside the windswept tremolo barrage.
Sechtdamon even impresses this time around, sparingly radiating a number of disparate vocal styles not limited to his sepulchral death roars. He delivers some of the half-shouting melodic passages that hail back to Daemon's fiendish inflection from World ov Worms. While I could easily stack Disintegrate up to Zyklon's spectacular debut and highlight all of the reasons it still falls short, that would shortchange the fact that the band wisely discarded the memories of the meandering Aeon and surreptitiously threw away the key. While Zyklon clearly still takes heavy influence from mid-era Morbid Angel and the like, the mixing pot of styles has become even more eclectic, drawing from a multitude of more modern sources and taking great advantage of it.
While the lack of keyboards still leaves an atmospheric void, part of the cybernetic patina that the band began to move away from has returned along with the boomy, sterile nature of the mix. Samoth's tremolo barrage billows forth and suffocates with it's burning, buzzsaw tone. The atonal ascending lower-register riffs help fill the remaining gaps as the entire performance meshes into a cohesive assault on the senses. In fact, Zyklon very nearly comes off as a less busy Suffocation during some of the heavier passages of "Wrenched". The solos are also spectacular odes to excess, with the notably chaotic solo on "Vulture" standing out upon first listen.
Just like on Aeon, the final track is a slower, more atmospheric romp that hails back to "An Eclectic Manner". While "Skinned and Endangered" is rightfully more measured in it's delivery, the atonal harshness of the axes really help them slide into their comfort zone here. This ratchets up the heaviness of Disintegrate and upstages nearly anything the band has released from a purely hostile viewpoint. In fact, the calamitous inhibition to the guitar work reminds me of fellow Norwegians Sarcoma Inc. and their overwhelming barrage of distorted corpulence.
Torson continues to upstage his previous performances, upping the ante regarding speed and vivacity on the kit. The poppy snare and organic timbre to the rest of the drum set help sell the appeal of Disintegrate's modern sonic palette. While the bass' presence has taken a notable step back since Aeon, it matters little when the guitars are this well balanced. In fact, Disintegrate is one of the best produced modern death metal records I have ever heard next to Decapitated's Organic Hallucinosis.
As such, it remains a shame that Samoth decided to throw in the towel on the entire project following this album. Zyklon was finally on the upswing again, clearly taking the project seriously enough to include a multitude of stimulating and crushing songwriting attributes that set the band apart from the horrendously overcrowded death metal scene. While it still has the proclivity to sound samey at times, Disintegrate ends up embodying what Aeon truly wanted to be, making it a required acquisition for fans of the band after World ov Worms.
Perhaps the upwards velocity of the band had been curbed by the year 2006. With two unrelenting hybrids, generally well received slabs of modernist black/death metal attack beneath their belts, what more could the band really offer us? Would they simply turn back towards their mainstays and forget all about this project, or was there something else in the time streams planned for the Zyklon fan...it turns out this was the case, and keeping the same lineup and style intact from the sophomore Aeon, the Norwegian super group would once more emerge from their caverns of creation to try and bludgeon us upside the head once more.
Disintegrate is an anomaly to me, because for all purposes, its contents have been very carefully measured and committed to the studio with a lot of superior elements to the past. These are arguably the band's busiest compositions, and some will say their best recorded (though a case might be made for World ov Worm's less bassy scenario or Aeon's turbulent depths). I can't say I disagree, as this is the brightest, in your face record of Zyklon's career. Yet, for all its strengths, I found Disintegrate to be remarkably.. forgettable in the long run. Almost every song on this album contains 1-2 riffs of value and then a bunch of throwaway matter that feels like a retread of prior songs, which I can definitely live without.
For example, take "Vile Ritual", which has quite a lot of impact and a few excellent rhythms of hyper thrashing/death metal woven throughout, before it lapses into less interesting patterns and ultimately a half-assed thrash breakdown which brings nothing to the table until the solo, which is itself pretty lamentable. "Wrenched" opens with huge, evil old school death rhythm lent atmosphere by Tony's vocals, and proceeds through a decent, thick industrial sheen, but then eventually lags off into some dull chug that seems like a slightly less coherent version of "Core Solution" off the second album. Those are actually two of the better songs...because then you've got fare like "Vulture" or the Gorguts-like mesh of "A Cold Grave" which I wouldn't remember if you shot me with it.
The lyrics here are actually decent, but when you take into consideration all these simplified song titles like "Underdog", "Vulture", and "Skinned and Endangered", this album feels like its often some soulless attempt at creating a more extreme alternative to Fear Factory, with less of the industrial influence. Gone are such inspirational titles as "Hammer Revelation" or "No Name Above the Names", and one soon casts the impression that this album was far harder on the band's limbs than their imaginations. At the same time, it's not really something I would dub 'poorly written', just lacking any durable entertainment value. Surely, the performances are intense, especially in the drumming and shred work, but I can't recall a single moment where real excitement or surprise at some blazing, excellent riff transpired within me.
I think the large share of my disappointment comes with the missed opportunities here. For all intensive purposes, Zyklon could have become this magnificent beast which merged together the black/death metal and industrial-electronic output to something much more important and widely spread throughout the realm, and yet they've gone down the route of a straight death metal act with only a touch of the black remaining, and a few samples to boot. Perhaps this album's title was indicative of the band's own mental state with the project, because after its release the band would indeed fold, first delegated to a prolonged hiatus and more recently with the official notice via Samoth.
So this is the third and the longest album by Zyklon, a band that formed from the ashes of the legendary black metal band Emperor, with Tyrm and Samoth present, while Ihsahn is on a solo project. I've honestly never heard anything from their first album, but I was hugely impressed with their sophomore album "Aeon", So was this production just as good?
I personally think so. In fact, I can't see why the previous two posters had rated this album so poorly in their reviews. Perhaps because of the mixture of death metal elements with black metal? Well two of the members were from a black metal band so it should be obvious that black metal elements are present.
The music here is very atmospheric, yet brutal and fast. The guitar work from both Samoth and Destructhor are technical, bizzare and will make you feel as if you are in some kind of warzone, leaving you all confused, yet, wanting more of it because of how amazing they play. They are tuned down to sound industrial, and it works perfectly here as it did with "Aeon" Tyrm's drumming is superb and fast-paced, just as his work is from his previous band. They blend in perfectly with everything else. Secthdamon, the vocalist and bassist, is very similar to Glen Benton of Deicide, with vocals similar to his in many ways, which are mostly frenzied, demonic growls and he makes the use of angry, annoyed black metal shrieks. He is also on the same level as Glen as well on the bass work, setting the right mood for this dark and atmospheric peice of art.
Throughout this album, I couldn't find very much mistakes here, and I was headbanging through the entire album, especially when the first track began to pick up speed slowly. The Production happens to be great here too. Pick it up if your a black and death metal fan.
Recently I got to wondering what my old pals from Emperor were up to and I took the liberty of stealing this and Ihsahn's solo album off of the internet.
This is the first Zyklon album I've heard all the way through, but I've heard the odd mp3 here and read some reviews there so I knew to expect straight-up partly-black-but-mostly-death metal that's not all wussified with the dead weight of Ihsahn the Genius Artist and his Wagnerian video game synths. I'd thought it would be more of hookish, catchy album, since that seemed to be where Emperor was headed before going completely insane on that last album (said insanity lives on in Ihsahn's solo project), but no, it really is unforgiving death metal after all.
It's quite adequately done, too. The production is very good, and the songs are well-crafted if not terribly daring, and the musicians are all very capable.
“Adequately done?” “Well-crafted?” “Capable?” Other words that come to mind include: decent, able, workmanlike... stilling my tongue rather than insult an admittedly talented band, I can do little better than damn them with faint praise.
To call the album mediocre would be to underestimate it at least slightly, but as effortlessly as it meets expectations, it doesn't exceed them, and the whole thing goes in one ear and out the other. Telling you that this album sounds like Florida death metal played by the guy who brought you the heavy parts of IX Equilibrium is telling you about all you need to know. The clockwork songwriting is the worst of it. Nothing surprising happens, ever. This is why the thrill is gone out of my metal-listening: I've heard all the same bands the musicians have, I know how this music works, and at any given point on an album of “decent enough” death metal, I have a pretty good idea what's going to happen next. You probably do too.
There aren't any actual mistakes here, but after a while you'll be begging for a little irregularity, or at least a little soul. I know Sammoth is a talented guy and all, but somebody really needs to poke him with a stick and get him to do something.