Zyklon - Disintegrate

posted by Greg, Friday August 11, 2006 @ 10:13:38 AM

Artist: Zyklon (http://www.zyklontribe.com)
Album: Disintegrate
Release Date: May 15th, 2006
Label: Candlelight

Rating: 7/10

Recommended Tracks: In Hindsight, Ways Of The World, Vile Ritual

Imagine, if you will, that you've been part of a band that not only helped create an entire genre but became its gold standard for almost a decade. You think there might be just a little pressure on you when two-thirds of your band decide to reform in a completely different genre and try their hand at it? If you're a metal veteran (and based on the album we're reviewing here) you should have immediately known I just gave you a condensed version of the mighty Emperor's reign atop the Norwegian black metal scene for years, and the subsequent formation of death metal titans Zyklon by Emperor's guitarist and drummer Samoth and Trym once the Emperial corpse was laid to rest with the Prometheus album in 2001. Zyklon burst on the scene soon afterwards with their debut album World Ov Worms, which played out as a mix of the hyperblasting percussion of Anthems-era Emperor with the precision, almost mechanical riffing of a Morbid Angel or a Suffocation, with bits and pieces of random industrial whirring and thumping thrown in to give them a unique sound amongst the glut of knockoff throwaway metal bands who were busy suckling at the Emperor's teat years ago. All the wires and circuits and sheet metal have blown or rusted off by now though, as the new Zyklon album Disintegrate borrows much more from the Church of Chuck Schuldiner than either of their previous albums. Think of this album as some good old Florida Death Metal coming to you Scandinavian-style.

Rather than going for a Fear Factory jacked up on horse steroids-sound like the first two albums, Zyklon has shed much of the cyber-sounding overtones from World Ov Worms and Aeon and has gone for much more of a straightfoward death metal approach on this album. There are no more cold, distant, Super Metroid-sounding keyboard interludes like in the middle of World Ov Worms' "Zycloned", instead the Zyklon machine has chosen to grind out the same modern sounding death metal that's been - pardon the pun - done to death recently. This album will have you thinking more along the lines of Deicide and Blood Red Throne (another band with Emperial ties) rather than conjuring up images of a superior version of latter-day Fear Factory and The Berzerker among others.

There are definitely many individual killer riffs and spectacular moments on this album, particularly the skull-crushers in the opening minute of "In Hindsight", the chorus of "Ways Of The World", and the balls-out hammering of "Vile Ritual", in which Trym plays blast for blast with a speedy thrash riff that will have you thinking "this is what Dragonforce could sound like if they didn't have rainbows coming out of their asses". However, on the whole the album kinda fades during the last half with a few seemingly filler tracks thrown in that aren't as inspired as the excellent first half of the album. As mentioned earlier, the one defining element that helped separate Zyklon from the pack - the cyberized sheen of their previous two albums - is now gone, leaving them to tread water in the cesspool of a million other Scandinavian clone death metal bands.

Don't get me wrong though - Zyklon is still very much at the top of this heap along with bands like Blood Red Throne, Anata, and Decapitated. I suppose it's just wishful thinking on my part that with all the talent on their roster that they still have some truly mindblowing metal left in their fingers and feet somewhere. This is a well produced and excellent death metal album and fans of the band or the genre (such as myself on both counts) won't be disappointed, just don't go in expecting to hear anything you haven't already heard before. Granted, it's probably a much better version of some of the stuff you've heard before, but still nothing worth truly salivating over.

- Greg

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