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Album Review

Surely one of the most intriguing CDs that heavy metal fans will hear in 2006, Disillusion's sophomore effort, Gloria, uses the group's death and thrash metal roots as mere springboards from which to launch into extremely varied realms of sonic experiment; including alt-rock, industrial, electronic, gothic, ambient and classical tendencies — all more or less held together under the always convenient, but never entirely functional, description of prog metal. Which is to say that its unexpected twists and turns may prove too eclectic for any but the most open-minded of listeners, and that the thrill of the adventure itself is as central to the experience as the actual music. With its explosive transition from introductory violins, synths and ghostly vocals into a positively crushing barrage of quasi-industrial metal riffing, opener "The Black Sea" actually eases the band's metal-grounded fan base into the stylistic lunacy yet to come; but purists will be shocked to find that only six songs later will their brutal tastes be catered to again, via the ferocious death metal crunch predominant in "The Hole We Are In." Before and after that, they'll be faced with tracks often bearing few or no signs of heavy metal at all; but rather filled with so many wild combinations of the above cited genres that detailing them here would be utterly impractical, if not impossible. Suffice instead to say that standouts such as "Don't Go Any Further" "Avalanche," and "Too Many Broken Cease Fires" easily overcome their restless architecture to constitute truly memorable songs — on very rare occasions, even immediately so. Through it all, deathly growls are also the exception to the rule that is Vurtox's clean, deadpan baritone style — inflexible enough to sound ideally suited to the techno-gothic portions of the program, but likewise lacking when it's necessary to convey additional emotion and warmth in countless other locations. Nevertheless, it takes truly "metallic" balls to foist the deeply electro-synth-rock portions of "Aerophobic" and the title track upon a predominantly metal audience! Consider yourselves warned, then: this album is undoubtedly a polarizing, love/hate proposition; and also know that Disillusion needed all of 18 months to assemble Gloria's Dali-esque canvas. Surely, most astute listeners won't expect to digest it all in just a few spins.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Formed in Leipzig, Germany, in 1994, Disillusion started out playing pretty standard death/thrash metal and issuing several demos to little interest before the decade ran out, before actually going their separate ways by 1998, when none of these had attracted any record label interest. However, the core duo of vocalist/guitarist Vurtox (real name Andy Schmidt) and drummer Alex Motz remained in touch and were soon working together again, so that by the time they'd revived Disillusion with 2001's Three...
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Gloria, Disillusion
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