DISILLUSION — Back to Times of Splendor

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DISILLUSION - Back to Times of Splendor cover
4.26 | 15 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2004


1. And the Mirror Cracked (8:27)
2. Fall (4:53)
3. Alone I Stand in Fires (6:53)
4. Back to Times of Splendor (14:39)
5. A Day by the Lake (4:53)
6. The Sleep of Restless Hours (17:02)

Total Time: 56:49


- Vurtox / vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards
- Rajk Barthel / guitars
- Jens Maluschka / drums

Guest musicians:
- Thomas Bremer / piano (1)
- Matthias Schifter / Fretless bass (1 & 5)
- Denise Schneider / female voice (2 & 6)
- Stefan Launicke / piano, strings (4 & 6)
- Alex Tscholakov / percussion (3)

About this release

CD Metal Blade Records (2004)

Thanks to UMUR, bonnek for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

This is the only album I have by Disillusion (they only ever released two) but my opinion of it and the band it really high thanks to this release. This is a band that combines many of the elements I enjoy in heavy metal and progressive rock. We have longer songs with complex and varied song structure, fast technical playing, an excellent rhythm section with a great drummer, awesome riffs and a good variety between high speed playing and slower riffs with melodic riffs as well, and softer parts with piano or strings added in as a welcome mood changer but without sounding superfluous. In the two longer tracks, "Back to Times of Splendor" and "The Sleep of Restless Hours" there are parts that stray from the heavier death metal side and wander determined into more progressive territory. There are no flambouyant instrumental sections of blatant exhibitionism. Instrumental passages can be technical but used with a purpose within the song structure.

As has been mentioned in other reviews, the album does an excellent job of combining the technical side of prog metal with the brutal side of death metal. I listened to the album again for the first time in a year or so and once again found myself impressed with the skill and song writing. In particular, the guitar sound is a winner for me. The production quality is also great and only in two parts where the music intentionally becomes chaotic and noisy does the clarity of the sound disappear.

There is only one thing that doesn't totally impress me and that is the clean vocals of Andy Schmidt (Vurtox). There's nothing wrong with them and they affect a certain theatrical sense that suits the music very well. But they make me think of a hardcore punk singer who has decided to sing cleanly with a hint of an operetic tone. The two-part harmoney vocals reduce this effect and the brutal vocals are just fine as they are. Those clean vocals are the only thing that doesn't sit exactly right with me. A minor detail really.

That being stated, once again I will emphasize what a terrific album this is musically. I'm not sure where Disillusion went after this. I think I listened a bit to their sophomore album when I considered which album to get but at the time was more impressed with this one. An easy four and a half stars!
Disillusion's debut album is a genius fusion of aggressive death metal and the prog metal sound of the 1990s. It's most impressive for the way the band manage to combine the best of both genres whilst avoiding their less appealing aspects; on the prog metal side, the band bring in all the technically complex and intricate playing and songwriting of the subgenre whilst the death metal aggression allow them to avoid the cheesiness prog metal can stumble into. At the same time, the progressive metal song structures prevent the death metal side of the band from running into a simplistic rut. On the whole, it's a recipe for success.
Disillusion hit the world with an exceptionally strong modern prog metal album, very eclectic in style and borrowing as much from classic 90’s prog metal as from melodic progressive death metal and symphonic black metal.

In a way they sound like an upgraded version of Green Carnation, maintaining a similar epic vibe, but adding more adventurous and varied songwriting. Unlike many prog metal acts, Disillusion won’t fish for your attention by daft or flashy musicianship but rathey by their eye-catching compositions, which remain dynamic, engaging for the entire 57 minute duration of the album. An exceptional achievement in a genre where 60 minute albums usually wear themselves out before they’re halfway through. It's quite the contrary here. The quality of the material even keeps getting better as the album goes along.

The band is usually put in the Extreme metal section but I wouldn't give too much weight to that. There are death metal elements but generally the music is very melodic and progressive. To a certain extent you could compare the music to Opeth but there are a lot of elements that set them apart from the Swedes. The vocals vary between death metal grunts and clean vocals, but the singing voice is more theatrical and anthemic then Opeth. It sits quite close to the melodic vocal moments of Borknagar and Dimmu Borgir. Also the keyboards add a decisive symphonic element. Luckily Disillusion avoids the clichés and cheese of most prog metal acts.

Highly recommended to fans of the new generation of progressive metal acts, in the vein of Green Carnation, Opeth and Edge Of Sanity/Nightingale.

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