~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen
Zyklon plays a very, very heavy mix of death and black metal. They learned heaviness and technicality from death metal, speed and coldness from black metal, and a slightly cinematic feel from... somewhere. I'm not sure how that snuck in there, come to think of it. Maybe the band got it from The Matrix. Which would, in fact, explain why the band members wear long black trenchcoats and sunglasses, and in general look as if they know they're badasses (also notable: the band isn't wielding guns for the press photos this time around, as they did on their debut, World ov Worms). So, we've got a bit of death metal, a bit of black metal, and The Matrix. You prepared to follow this one? Down the rabbit hole we go...
The cinematic aspect of Zyklon's music is rather obviously intentional. The CD cover is designed like a movie poster, complete with movie-styled credits at the bottom. Perhaps sadly, the actual songs don't always back up the movie-like feeling you would expect them to strive for. Most of the songs are made up of extremely heavy kick-ass metal riffing, death metal belching/growling/roaring, and Trym's always punctual and technical (if slightly repetitive) blast-beat drumming. It is only sparingly that the band sees fit to throw in an actual melodic lead, though backing themes are slightly more common.
Trym (drums) and Samoth (guitars) are best known for their starring roles in Emperor, while Destructhor (guitars) got his big break with Myrkskog. Joining the cast this time is Secthdamon (vocals, bass), also of Myrkskog. With such an all star veteran cast, you know Aeon is going to feature top-notch heavy music in the vein of Emperor and Myrkskog. And that they do - leaning heavily towards a more varied and themed Myrkskog-like sound. What I can't understand is how such talented individuals allowed their music to be compressed, crushed, and otherwise compacted into a big flat wall of sound.
On the first several listens to Aeon, you'll likely hear no more than a pounding throb. This type of production renders extreme metal rather feckless. Nevertheless, a few listens start to clear up the compressed sludge, and pretty soon you'll be picking out the instruments well enough to actually enjoy Zyklon's excellent black/death hybrid heavy sound. Much of Aeon repeats World ov Worms, but the new singer and cinematic moments give the music a fresh feel, leaving me to say the best thing one usually can about the second movie in a series: it's a good sequel. A bit like the first. Not so surprising. But a good sequel nonetheless.
Zyklon - Official Site: