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Zyklon C- - 50%

Cheeses_Priced, April 9th, 2007

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.