The band who's always easy to find in any well-alphabetized CD collection is back, after a three-year delay, with an interesting take on modern extremity. Perhaps overshadowed by mainmen Zamoth and Trym's return to limited live activity with EMPEROR, the release of the third ZYKLON album should show where their hearts lie. It's a ferocious, angry, unwieldy mass of seething death metal with blackened tinges, an unrelenting assault of speed-wired riffs, harsh vocals and grueling midtempo sections.
There are a few interesting, and perhaps controversial elements on "Disintegrate". The atonal yelling vocals in "Subversive Faith", "Wrenched" and "A Cold Grave" are an interesting twist, adding a bleak dissonance that recalls "Renewal"-era KREATOR or some of the more industrialized, midtempo mid-'90s NAPALM DEATH stuff (this is especially pronounced on slow, grinding album closer "Skinned and Endangered"). And is it just me, or is that a hardcore breakdown (complete with a bellowed "let's fucking go!!!") in "Ways of the World"?
But if such detours confuse anyone, the straightforward, subtle-as-a-brick-to-the-head bash of "In Hindsight" and "Vulture" will bring them back to the fold. Blast beats and churning double-kick drums abound, MORBID ANGEL-esque riffs careen around madly, divebombing lead guitars add freakish melody, and the vocals command obeisance with harsh, forceful shouts.
For its flirtation with experimentation, "Disintegrate" doesn't come across as being a very "out of left field" sort of album, nor does it really stand out in the current crop of extreme bands. There are acts just on their label roster who are far more vicious, brutal, and/or inventive (THE DEVIANT and THYRANE to name only two recent releases). But ZYKLON wouldn't have their marquee name if Trym and Zamoth hadn't turned metal on its ear with EMPEROR. There's a level of quality and expertise in ZYKLON that ensures a good, healthy dose of black/death depravity, which is delivered in fine form on "Disintegrate".