Disillusion
Ayam


4.5
superb

Review

by Zac124 USER (32 Reviews)
November 8th, 2022 | 101 replies


Release Date: 11/04/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: After 18 years, Disillusion have released another amazing prog record.

Disillusion’s first album, Back to Times of Splendor is a classic amongst the vast catalogue of albums in the genre of progressive death metal. However, they have had difficulty living up to the standard that their debut brought with their next two albums. While the follow-ups are far from bad, they are nowhere near as good due to some unusual yet admirable choices in their musical direction. Fortunately, 18 years later, the band has finally released an album that has reached similar heights to their debut with, Ayam.

Like most progressive metal bands, Disillusion likes some of their tracks exceeding the ten minute mark, and Ayam has two of these 'epics'. The first of these is the opener, Am Abgrund. It begins the album perfectly, where the intro slowly builds up until it eventually explodes with blast beats, subtle horns, and great harsh vocals. The cleans throughout the track provide some extremely catchy melodies. Furthermore, the riffs and solos throughout the eleven minutes are all engaging. All of this adds up to create an instant impact on the listener, keeping their interest for the rest of the album. The other 'epic' is Abide the Storm has crushing riffs paired with some great horn sections, making the song's atmosphere sound vast and immense. The chorus implements more catchy clean vocals until it goes back to the heavy riff and horns filled verse with sinister screams. However, after the four minute mark, the song calms down, and Andy Schmidt’s skill at making excellent lead guitar melodies takes front and centre stage until it erupts into a cathartic climax with impressive solos and clean vocals. While both of these songs are long, they breeze past without you ever realising it, and it never feels like they need to be cut down either.

The rest of the tracklist is significantly shorter, ranging from four to seven minutes. Tormento proves itself as another highlight due to being the heaviest cut by far. What makes this song though is the bridge, where it breaks down into an odd time signature with disjointed riffs and a captivating solo. The rest of the songs follow a more progressive rock approach, and Driftwood is the best example of them. The melodic vocals are simply infectious, with the acoustic guitars and strings adding so much to the overall sound. Then, the song concludes with a momentous crescendo with colossal instrumentation and a captivating vocal performance. From the Embers biggest positive is definitely the melodic guitar leads, and it is clear from the song's intro. While the song calms down after that, it then peaks with a skilful solo that has some grand and immense melodies. The closer, The Brook, ends the album flawlessly. The sound starts off with a much more tranquil soundscape, with a focus on the piano and acoustic guitar melodies. However, the song gradually builds up and up until it culminates in a triumphant conclusion with powerful vocals, riffs, and solid melodies from the piano.

What draws Ayam back for me is the fact that the first four tracks are much more diverse in their instrumentation, vocals, and atmosphere than the final four. The latter half of the album is all very melodic progressive rock tracks, therefore, making them hard to distinguish between at first few listens. However, they certainly do grow on you. This is slightly disappointing as the first half is full of instantly great songs, which, as a result, causes the album to become slightly less engaging than it should have been after the halfway point.

Back to Times of Splendor is an almost impossible album to outdo due to its legacy alone, and while Ayam does not quite reach it, it does get very close. Ayam succeeds in the fact that it feels like a natural progression from their debut. It is separate and deals with different ideas while still keeping the same basic groundwork. It never repeats familiar ideas from their previous releases, making it stand as its own piece of art. This is a very strong release, and if you enjoy the band’s previous work or you just enjoy melodic and progressive metal, I cannot recommend this enough.



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user ratings (112)
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Zac124
November 8th 2022


760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It is not as good as their debut but it is still bloody good, I think.



I don't know why but the horns kinda reminded me of the axe gang dance from Kung Fu Hustle.

cloakanddagger
November 8th 2022


613 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great review. I enjoyed this a fair bit on first listen and I expect the album to grow on me as time goes. Lots of the softer moments are very reminiscent of the more recent katatonia albums.

Also the horns in abide the storm remind me of the majora's mask theme.

PizzaBear
November 8th 2022


77 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed on the Katatonia comparison



So far I'm liking this but I think it's a slight step down from The Liberation (with Splendour being a good deal better than both)

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2022


18230 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Props for reviewing this, good stuff. I'm not familiar with the band's previous work and you made me want to peek at the debut.

cloakanddagger
November 8th 2022


613 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The debut is a cult classic in my books, phenomenal album.

They sadly haven't really been able to match the same quality, but I definitely agree this is the best thing they've done since that album.

PizzaBear
November 8th 2022


77 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm genuinely amazed at the disparity between the average for this and the liberation. Both albums seem very close to one another in terms of quality

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2022


18230 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

" The debut is a cult classic in my books, phenomenal album. "



I don't care much for overall ratings yet a 4.3 with 500+ rates makes it look good ;)

cloakanddagger
November 8th 2022


613 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I didn't actually listen to the liberation when it dropped. I should probably change that. I remember the review for that album being extremely negative, is it fairly similar to this record sound wise?

cloakanddagger
November 8th 2022


613 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

@thenotrap that's fair enough, it's more a classic for me due to being one of the first two extreme metal albums I got really into, the other being The Blue by Novembre.



In fact I've just realised it's been a decade since I discovered those albums. Time flies.

PizzaBear
November 8th 2022


77 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"is it fairly similar to this record sound wise?"



I'd say so. I personally prefer it ever so slightly to this. I find that it and Alea carry a certain energy that isn't quite as palpable here. I ascribe it to their excitement at making a return to their craft after such a long hiatus but that could be my own bias playing into the perception.

PizzaBear
November 8th 2022


77 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm digging through some reviews from my old profile to repost. May try and review The Liberation later on once I've edited and added a few of my old favourites

Demon of the Fall
November 8th 2022


26457 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I’ll check this more in hope than expectation, I’m a fan of Splendour, but Liberation was a snooze-fest.



Nice review anyway 👍🏻

Scoot
November 8th 2022


21568 Comments


their debut is one of the best metal albums of that decade

Observer
Emeritus
November 8th 2022


9285 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah this is much better

Egarran
November 8th 2022


29832 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's so dramatic.

Observer
Emeritus
November 9th 2022


9285 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This album flows really well from quiet to loud sections, and that's its greatest strength, imo. Even the shorter tracks compliment the longer ones really well, which wasnt the case on the previous LP. The melodies here are good, but Splendor is still better. Excellent album though. I wish we got this one in 2019 instead.

artiswar
November 9th 2022


10895 Comments


I don't even like Splendor that much but it's like 10 times better than this

Observer
Emeritus
November 9th 2022


9285 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Art, you need to be careful. The band's fans are watching

Panzerchrist
November 9th 2022


655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm a fan. I've been watching. I am angry now

Scheumke
November 9th 2022


2375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Had never heard of these guys but I'm addicted to this. Def an OATY contender for me and Driftwood might be my SOTY. Gonna marinade in this one a little and will then for sure jump into their backlog.



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