Back To The Times of Splendor by Disillusion. I still pull that album out regularly to listen to, 6 songs spanning nearly 57 minutes of eternal beauty. I bought my copy in 2004, and I was captivated. But also perplexed as to why they didn't get the press that they deserved! Here's a band that shits out an instant classic first time trying and barely a whimper was registered in the metal press. And I could not wait for a sequel. Which never came. But never mind, they did publish another album called Gloria in 2006.
What an absolute off the wall straight from the left field that was. And I loved it. Most people didn't. Most people wanted 'Back to the Times of Splendor II'. But with 'Gloria' Disillusion were showing their progressive side, which for some reason seemed to irk people. There were shouts of sell-outs going of course, but you can't really be a sell-out if you are not delivering what people want.
So what happened. Welll, what seems to have happened is that Andy Schmidt, nee Vurtox, got sick and tired of playing BTtToS live over and over again. And having the stress of trying to find a backing band and preferably a small orchestra as well. Probably wanted to play something slightly simpler. More hard hitting in some ways, and rest his larynx!
Andy uses on this album mostly, baritone singing, bass singing, occasionally he'll a sort of melodic spoken word or pure spoken word and only couple of times will he break and use his death rattle. I loved his vocals on BTtToS but he really does come into his own on Gloria. His vocal performance on here is simply glorious. The overtly German pronunciation of some words that has sometimes distracted me in the previous album and the EP's released before that. I might be putting a lot compliments onto him, but the man deserves it. Though of course I don't really want to take away from the rest of the band, the drummer Jens Maluschka does fantastic job as well if only in keeping up with Andy's vision. The fills and the rhythm are just right every time and always interesting as well. Just listen to this song:
Though where Gloria really wins is how unusually built it is. It weaves, breaks and turns in all sorts of directions, but those weaves, breaks and turns are never unnecessary and most importantly never for show, well maybe a little but it never feels like it. I hesitate even calling this album Metal, because there is so much else going on but no other label really fits, and with metal being THE most diverse genre going it is probably the only label that fits. The closest would be industrial metal, some people will probably complain(and did) about how similar Andy sounds like Till, but the proof is in the listening. And while I love Rammstein, they haven't put out an album that sounds as interesting as this one. Yes in one song "The Hole We Are In" starts out as blackish Death metal song, but then just towards the end swerves into sort of lounge-ish dance song.
Then there are two instrumental songs one of the called Lava which always makes me envision flying over Iceland and seeing two separate volcano's going off in between grassland and black deserts. Maybe the reason I imagine flying is because of the previous instrumental called Aerophobic. Both of these tracks are very bass heavy and often it sounds like they've thrown away the guitars and replaced them with basses.
So as I said previously no it isn't 'Back To The Times of Splendor: In search for more money' that everyone was hoping for (me included) but it is a brilliant album completely blew away any misconceptions (mine included) about these guys and proves that they are quintessential progressive musicians. But the only problem is that this album was released in 2006, and nothing has been heard or seen since of these guys. Which makes me a very very sad blogger.