Disillusion
Back To Times Of Splendor


3.5
great

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
August 19th, 2008 | 59 replies | 6,667 views


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Looks can be deceiving.

I’m going to skip all my normal, retarded introductory descriptions and comparisons and get right to the point here, since I’m sure everything which can be called “deep” and “atmospheric” about this album has been said a hundred times over. Disillusion is a German progressive metal band who seemed to tickle all those Opeth-loving fanboys in just the right place here. The shock value was high, yes, since normally debuts of this quality are few and very far between, and eventually bands who accomplish this end up driving themselves off a cliff with some half-assed follow up. This is Disillusion, and this is Back To Times Of Splendor, their debut album which just so happens to be pretty good.

Classic? Not really. At first glance, this album is so awesome it seems almost revolutionary for progressive metal. However, after numerous listens and constant critique of the same six songs, it hits you. This album is just plain good. That shock value which comes with the first couple listens is completely gone, and the grandeur of the album’s longer songs drifts down somewhere between boring and uninspired. Things begin to bug you which never did before, and the flaws of this album begin to grow more and more apparent. The riffs which once sounded fresh and original now seem repetitive and tiresome. The vocals which seemed clean and well delivered now appear as annoying and awkward.

However, the album still remains as something which is worth noting, a fine debut which has some of the most captivating moments in recent memory. For one, take a look at the absolutely brilliant layered riff which closes out the last two minutes of “The Sleep Of Restless Hours”. It represents everything which is so great about Back To Times Of Splendor, the beauty in simplicity. It repeats over and over again, so sad yet beautiful it’s quite an experience to listen to. Sadly, that is where the interest in that songs begins, since the previous 15 minutes are a mess of riffs (only a handful of them good) and vocalist Andy Schmidt going back and forth between some really lackluster screamed vocals and his hit-or-miss clean vocals, not to mention whole minutes of wasted dead space which seems to be there just to fill time.

The other long(er) song, the title track “Back To Times Of Splendor” is a much, much better song and eases its way in and out of pretty heavy verses and calm, melodic riffs with both the acoustic and electric guitar, as well as some harmonic leads and solos. A song which you can call progressive and really mean it, the title track is the pinnacle of the album, with the slope sharply dropping off each end of this song. “Fall” is also another song which deserves mention, since it is tied with the calm (but also pretty boring) track “A Day By The Lake” as the shortest track on the album, but manages to pack into it’s running time more things worth noting than the 17 minute “The Sleep Of Restless Hours”. The chorus is catchy as hell and will probably make you smile with an awe-filled glee with each subsequent listen, the song tied together by an excellent guitar solo which simply puts the icing on the cake in terms of making this song a standout track.

The hit-and-miss array of tracks contained here continues with the lackluster opener “And The Mirror Cracked” which soon became a quick skip-over due to its tendency to sound like every single other song on the album, yet have absolutely noting worth noting. “Alone I Stand In Fires” is decent also, with a really terrible beginning. It manages to pull itself together at the end, making it a good song worth sticking around for, since the end is very powerful and heavy yet still manages to be unique and interesting.

There is really nothing left to say about this album. It is a roller coaster ride of often amazing (“Back To Times Of Splendor”, “Fall”, and the last two minutes of “The Sleep Of Restless Hours”) progressive metal riddled with the wreckage of tracks which simply tried too hard (“And The Mirror Cracked”, “A Day By The Lake”, and the first 15 minutes of “The Sleep Of Restless Hours”). It is still certainly an album worth listening to, it is quite a rewarding experience in the end, but be careful. Don’t be deceived by the veil of awe this album shoves down your throat upon first listen. Take a few more dedicated listens to the entire album, pay attention to everything. It will either do one of two things, the first being absolutely nothing (thus retaining your initial shock and awe), or it will reveal this album for what it objectively sounds like; a very good progressive metal album with some glaring flaws, keeping it so close yet so far away to the realm of classic prog albums.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2008



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Disclaimer: The reviewer does not claim responsibility for the hurt feelings of fans of this album.

Essence
August 19th 2008



3583 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I completely agree with you. This album is good, but not ridiculously awesome.

SHOOTME
August 19th 2008



2393 Comments


sorry crysis, but you wrote yourself a nice rant.

SCREAM!
August 19th 2008



10035 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review but i disagree with just about everything here. I honestly have no clue how you can call And The Mirror Cracked "lackluster". Its my favourite song here. I could go on but id basically be going over te whole review.

But it was well written so ill posThis Message Edited On 08.19.08

Digging: Old Witch - Come Mourning Come

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2008



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

sorry crysis, but you wrote yourself a nice rant.


Sorry SHOOTME, but I think if I called parts of this album "some of the most captivating moments in recent memory" it sort of disqualifies itself from being a rant.

SHOOTME
August 19th 2008



2393 Comments


you know what, you're right, here is a pos.

the intro was just a tad ranty.This Message Edited On 08.19.08

SCREAM!
August 19th 2008



10035 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

And The Mirror Cracked MAN!!!!! The singing is full of emotion the harsh vocals are great (you say so in the review too). The riffs are heavy and melodic and varied and jsut overall amazing and it has that breathtaking acoustic/piano part. NOT LACKLUSTER

/jizzing over first song

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2008



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the intro was just a tad ranty.


I agree there.

SHOOTME
August 19th 2008



2393 Comments


good enough, this is still very well-written.

Thor
August 19th 2008



10183 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree with this review more than others, though I think you give it a bit too much crap.

And yeah the very end of this album is so awesome.

edit: wtf Fall is not boring. Maybe the best song on the album.This Message Edited On 08.19.08

Athom
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2008



17204 Comments


controversy DUN DUN DUNNNN

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2008



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah Fall is really, really, really underrated.

Thor
August 19th 2008



10183 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, there's not a bad part in that song and it's not long for the sake of being long, like the last track.

The first three songs are probably the best on here.

SynGates
August 19th 2008



2467 Comments


Good review. And the Mirror Cracked is definitely great though.

willfellmarsy
August 19th 2008



3849 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I couldn't disagree more...see Scream!'s comments on the first track...probably my fave and def my fave acoustic part...ever...
I know the vocals are hit or miss but to say they get boring and awkward after originally thinking they are clean and well delivered doesn't make sense...things just don't go from well-delivered to awkward with time...
Clearly, i think this album is a classic so i'm obviously going to disagree in fanboyish manner but the review seems more intended to put down those who proclaim it great rather than review it simply by looking at the album. See 2nd paragraph.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2008



16310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That was a way of describing how quickly this album goes from "Wow this is absolutely amazing" to "This is still great, but not perfect". And yes, the vocals do in fact become very boring after repeated listens.

Yazz_Flute
August 19th 2008



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I dont really have anything to say that already has been said, but good review, have a pos.

But yeah, couldnt disagree more. I do appreciate more with every listen, never really declined on me.

Digging: Eskaton - 4 Visions

Poet
August 19th 2008



5922 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Completely agree with you Crysis.

BallsToTheWall
August 19th 2008



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

123 with Poet, nice review. This was needed.This Message Edited On 08.19.08

kattunlover69
August 20th 2008



1194 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

the opening track...lackluster? whatever



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