Aside from being really easy to find in any well-alphabetized music collection, Norway's Zyklon are renowned for one other thing: they formed out of the ashes of a little band called Emperor. But unlike many bands of its kind, Zyklon clearly see no point in even trying to deny their past and roots. Frontmen Zamoth and Trym took a three year hiatus from the band to do some live shows with their old band, and they've even recruited former Emperor drummer Faust to write the lyrics for Zyklon's new album (and third full-length), "Disintegrate." Plus, even though their new band will never be fully out of the shadow of their old one, they have already built quite a name for themselves in the metal community.
"Disintegrate" is a ferocious, angry, unrelenting death metal album with black and thrash metal tinges, and a light dusting of industrial elements. (Think Emperor meets Morbid Angel meets Behemoth meets Slayer.) "Disintegrate" is definitely the album in Zyklon's discography that is influenced the least by industrial, but at the same time, it is also arguably the band's most experimental. The high, creepy, atonal screaming/shrieking vocals in "Subversive Faith," "A Cold Grave," "Wrenched" (which is also highlighted by machine gun riffs and a blazing solo) and especially the shockingly slow, spacey, and ambient set closer ("Skinned and Endangered") are an interesting twist, and add a freaky dissonance that reminds of some Kreator and Napalm Death material. Suffice it to say, I'll be darned if your skin doesn't crawl while listening to these songs. And am I just imagining things, or are those honest-to-god hardcore breakdowns (complete with textbook yells of "go!") in "Ways of the World" and "Vile Ritual"? (The former is also noteworthy for its excellent, 45-second-long, wailing solo, and almost shout-worthy, mosh pit-ready chorus.)
Is all this a bit too much for ya? Well don't worry too much, because the album still has plenty of stuff that will pull you right back down to earth. For example, what metalhead wouldn't enjoy sinking his teeth into such breakneck numbers as "Vulture," and the mosh-pit-ready opener, "In Hindsight"? These two should satisfy even the most stubborn blackened death metal purists, and are about as subtle as being clocked over the head with a block of cement. They are bursting with blistering, propulsive, buzzsaw riffing, Morbid Angel-inspired leads, commanding, forceful bellows, churning double bass drums, pummeling blast beats, and ripping solos that add a little melody to the arrangements. Elsewhere, the title track boasts a catchy, galloping rhythm, marching tempo, and hardcore-ish gang shout, and finally, track seven, "Underdog," doesn't really stand out very much, but it is still super brutal, and thus, definitely not worth skipping, either.
"Disintegrate" is Zyklon's best and most realized, accomplished, interesting, and well-rounded work to date. It is not a really mindblowing or groundbreaking album, but it is a slab of good, quality, very solid, and thoroughly listenable extreme metal. Definitely worth checking out for everybody with a more-than-passing interest in the genre.