"Back to Times of Splendor" (Metal Blade; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Depending on how you look at it, I was either fortunate or unfortunate to have an impression of Disillusion's "Back To Times Of Splendor" before I even had a chance to listen to it. Fortunate in the sense that I knew that I was about to hear something that was for all intent and purposes universally praised by critics and fans alike; unfortunate in the sense that my impartiality was tainted by having read those same reviews.

It's easy for me to say that what you've read about "Back To Times Of Splendor" is true it's one helluva an album. Basically, I've considered the sub-genre of progressive death metal to consist of only one band: Opeth. Well, I can add another band to the list.

But don't think that Disillusion sound like Opeth. Disilluison utilize more of a thrash style as a foundation for their music. Disillusion's inclusion of ultra-complex riffing and arrangements makes this album a true progressive album. Throw in some folk elements, orchestral passages, and a wide range of vocal styles and you've got a complete album. In lesser hands the mere idea of "Back To Times Of Splendor" would be a complete mess, but under the careful eyes and ears of Disillusion main-man Vurtox the album becomes a stunning example of what can happen when a studio project is carefully thought out and executed.

The title track is worth the price of the CD alone; this epic covers so much metal history and stylistic ground it's damn near impossible to talk about, yet it doesn't ever sound forced or disjointed. An even longer epic, "The Sleep Of Restless Hours" is an expansive journey that is equally as staggering. However, the band isn't just limited to epic songs sturdy rockers like "Fall" and "A Day By The Lake" both clock in at under five minutes but pack just the same kind of sonic wallop.

Disillusion's "Back To Times Of Splendor" is easily a worthy contender for one of my top ten albums of 2004.

"Back To Times Of Splendor" was produced by Disillusion.

Disillusion: Vurtox on vocals, guitars, acoustic guitars, bass, keyboards and orchestral arrangements; Rajk Barthel on guitars, and Jens Maluscka on drums. A host of other individuals contributed their musical and vocal talents to "Back To Times Of Splendor."

For more information visit http://www.disillusion.de

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 13 Aug 2023 13:47:13 -0400.