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Reviews

Zyklon Aeon

By Brian Davis, Contributor
Saturday, February 7, 2004 @ 10:03 PM


(Candlelight)

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It would appear that Black Metal musicians have found their true calling -- Extreme Metal. Guitarist Samoth and drummer Trym were some of the first to transcend the genres when they disbanded the highly influential band Emperor and decided to try their hand at something more extreme and aggressive. You’d be hard-pressed to find a band that has succeeded in this transcendence better than Zyklon. Zyklon created a huge buzz when their 2001 debut album, World Ov Worms quickly escalated to become an instant Extreme Metal classic. Integrating highly technical instrument structures, brutally wicked and seething vocals, intelligent political lyrics with a unique blend of industrial style atmospheres, Zyklon created their own unshakable niche in the highly demanding Extreme Metal community.

Needless to say, after having achieved such acclaim after their initial album, expectations of the band’s follow up album were extremely high. And needless to say, the band delivered in the style and capacity that only truly talented musicians such as these can do. Aeon is a logical evolution of the sound presented in World Ov Worms, transitioning into a more subtle but accelerated level of technical composition while sustaining the distinct brutal heaviness and industrial insanity sounds that the band spearheaded in 2001.

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Aeon also usher’s in a new vocalist and bassist in the form of Secthdamon, of Myrkskog fame, who replaces the original vocalist Daemon. Personally, I have to say that Daemon delivered more distinguished, stand-out vocals on the first album, but that isn’t to say that Secthdamon doesn’t do the band justice; he steps up to some big demands and delivers a high-powered vocal assault and plenty of pounding bass lines. With the musical transition the band made from their first album, Secthdamon is the ideal vocalist for the job, carrying out the heavy parts with truly gutteral, aggressive vocals (at times reminiscent of the deep growls of Glen Benton) and delivering the slower tempo spoken-word style pieces with great alacrity, creating some truly heavy masterpieces of Extreme Metal.

The guitars also take a step back to a more subtle approach, with fewer ‘in your face’-style riffs and more focus on an increased technical approach with abundant time changes and off-beat rhythms, but still packed with plenty of aggressiveness and monstrous solos, courtesy of the smoking fingers of lead guitarist Destructhor.

One thing that seems to be a mainstay is the unrelenting aural assault in the mad drumming of Trym. Most certainly one of the best in the biz, right up there with Morbid Angel’s Pete Sandoval and Behemoth’s Inferno, Trym’s performance abounds with super sonic double bass rhythms but without the overload of redundant blast beats, and as before Trym’s skin slaying builds a super solid background of multi-layered beats and time changes that often carry the music to the high level of technicality that Zyklon operate on. Now throw the infamous Fredrik Nordstrom into the production mix and you hold in your hands an ideal example of Extreme Metal at it’s best.

As is the sign with most truly talented bands, each song has it’s own life and feel to it, alternating between aggressive riffs and slow paced, industrial droning eeriness. This album contains far too much action and varied instrumental structure to absorb within the first 2-3 listens; this is definitely one that requires intent listening and time to absorb, but as you soak it in the skill level and clarity of the music becomes more and more evident. All the songs are solid, but certain songs like “Two Thousand Years,” “The Prophetic Method” and “An Eclectic Manner” seem to best embody the essence of the Zyklon sound.

Also worth noting is the great cover art, featuring the impending destruction of a tornado and movie-poster style credits along the bottom. Definitely an original approach to a long running art medium.

Perhaps some Zyklon fans will find themselves a bit undecided at first when hearing this album, especially if you were as blown away by the sound on World Ov Worms as I was. This album is a little different; the vocals are a lower-ended approach than before, and as mentioned the music is more subtle. However, it is undeniable that Aeon is an excellent piece of Extreme Metal music, and no-one can deny that this solidifies Zyklon as one of the forerunners in the new evolution of Metal. If you want something heavy and unrelenting, then step into the new world -- The Zyklon Aeon.

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