To the best of my knowledge ZYKLON began as a side project for Samoth and Trym of the truly mighty EMPEROR. It soon ended up becoming a serious undertaking, even more so when EMPEROR came, heartbreakingly, to its end in 2001, shortly before work began on “Aeon” back in 2002. It was around this time that ZYKLON became more of an actual band rather than a collection of musicians, as a definite line-up was established for the purposes of live performance. Well there’s a short introduction for you, to give some perspective on the big names in the project and did I also mention that Daemon from the renowned LIMBONIC ART features on this album? That’s reason enough to expect an original, fulfilling album of breathtaking extremity, surely?
Well after having listened to “Aeon” a fair amount, each time attempting to quash the overpowering sense of disappointment and dull boredom, I can now conclude that either I’ve somehow missed out on the greatness of this album time after time, or it really isn’t that great. Production, tip-top and fantastic it may be, as one would expect from the collaboration of the famed Fredrik Nordström (he gets around doesn’t he?), doesn’t hide the shocking simplicity of the guitar riffs within. Yes I know simplicity can sometimes be just as good as technicality, but in this case I’m reminded of the mediocrity found among so many “New Wave Of Annoying American Metal” albums. Speaking of guitar though, the solos are moderately impressive and pass a little of the time now and then, even if they just a demonstration of the technical ability which all the band members seem to possess in abundance.
So yes, on the plus side, the entire band is comprised of exceptionally talented players, none of which can be faulted, except one – Secthdamon, who handles vocal duties. In my opinion, there’s a fine line between well-done extreme vocals, when done effectively, I love them completely, but when not done effectively… yep, you guessed, I have little patience and I really don’t want to listen to any more. Of course I only managed to sit through this CD a few times just so I could justifiably offer my criticism. To give some sort of perspective, by the second track I’d got thoroughly sick of the poor attempt at the Deathly grunts, although the more Black Metal style screams weren’t as bad. But just when I was hoping for some sort of redemption from the aggravation, lo and behold… the clichéd, cringing, strongly-accented American scientist/Christianity expert sample comes in for a moment in “Two Thousand Years”, but a moment is all it takes for one to actually groan out loud, “Oh god, you have to be kidding”! I mean, I haven’t anything against American but everybody’s heard it before – I was even bored of it back when I was listening to MUDVAYNE about 5 years ago!
By now I really have let my feelings been known on this subject and although there may be some good points about “Aeon”, like the unbeatable musicianship or production, I find myself picking too many flaws to compel me to bother looking for another album to get. The band’s website claims rather arrogantly that the music ZYKLON plays is “light years apart from the duo’s Emperial days”. No I’m sorry but I see absolutely no comparison between what is one display here and the mastery of “XI Equilibrium”, just to name one fantastic EMPEROR release. Oh and the addition of keyboards conjures up images of DIMMU BORGIR. Yep, that’s right; do yourself a favour and go for a band that has this mix of Black and Death Metal down to a tee, like AKERCOCKE to name but one. (Online June 2, 2006)