Disillusion – The Liberation

[Prophecy Productions, 2019]

Intro: Christos Minos
Translation: Vangelis Christodoulou

In the face of the inevitable fall of heavy music, Gloria came as a brilliant bolt out of the black to pave a new way towards the much-desired rebirth of progressive metal. It was one of the rare cases where the press release is consistent with the actual product. The album was then branded David Lynch metal and it is without doubt that its unexpected twists and turns resembled the director’s otherworldly beautiful films. Refusing to compromise, would lead to trails off the beaten track and, yes, all the amazement for what Disillusion had achieved was rightfully earned.

It would since then take 13 long years for the band to put out a full-length. On the very same date this year that the renowned Tool broke their silence, the ensemble from Germany made their appearance anew in order to claim the recognition that has so obstinately eluded them.


 

2006 and 2019 – one and the same

The big question was how Disillusion’s new form would sound like, after all the line-up changes around the main composer and leader Andy Schmidt’s steady presence. The Liberation would either prove to be a continuation of its predecessor or a novel trail emancipated from the band’s remarkable past.

Liberation is conclusively no Gloria, if ever that was likely. Its sound derives from the debut, but as the title suggests, it attempts sailing new and open seas.

The opening Winterside is one of the three tracks clocking over 10 minutes. It is clear from the get-go that the heavy singing is back and alternating with clean and calmer vocals, while the sense of freshness that typifies Disillusion’s work is still prevalent. What’s astonishing is the fact that they achieve that without employing anything extraordinary, but through the stunning combination of death metal influences, keyboards and acoustic guitar as well as electronic music that has not been as prominent as in the past.

The band’s new face is revealed throughout the longer tracks like the aforementioned and The Liberation (which faintly gives off Gloria vibes), and that is the heaviness combined perfectly with melancholia and melodicism. I am aware that this specific style is far from original, since it has been part of the mainstream for many years now. What differentiates Disillusion is the composition style that is competent in transforming the established techniques it utilizes, and as such helps the listener discover new elements each time, that are beautifully and non-vociferously arranged.

From The Great Unknown, the album’s most aggressive yet distinctively atmospheric track, to the more gloomy Time to Let Go and Shimmer in the Sea, it is evident that the band know how to alter the terms of their new style. The clean vocals that determine the songs, alongside the supplementary heavy singing, the hard-hitting riffs and that guitar playing which may either sound aggressive or melodic, are always fantastic.

Mountain, the last track that perhaps describes a dramatic climbing to its summit, is the most appropriate way for The Liberation’s curtain-call. The accompanying gushing winds that ride along the track is integral for the masterpiece that has just taken place and quite likely symbolizes the band’s path so far.

On the new record, Disillusion remember their origins. Progressive death metal is back assisted by tons of melody and ambiance. The overall sound might bring to mind bands like Opeth and possibly the classic Swedish death metal and its respective tendency towards melody. It covers a wide spectrum, both encircling metal as well as other influences, referencing for example bands like Pink Floyd. It’s a developed sound that is capable of channeling its inspirations in order to create its own footprint.

The Liberation contains music from an outstanding band which made their comeback through adversities that kept them ashore for many years. It is the unquenched will for creation that is evident within every single track. It is heavy music that involves experience and thus it sounds solid. It is the inevitable step forward from Gloria and the age of maturity that follows that of amazement. Gloria heralded how metal should sound like in the 21st century, while this one is not as charged. It is, however, as great.

9 / 10

Christos Minos

 

2nd opinion

 

The German prog metal innovators Disillusion are back. The Liberation is their first full-length album in 13 years. I adore Gloria and Alea and Ι was hoping that the band will continue the musical path they started with those releases. This album has more similarity with their legendary debut Back to Times of Splendor but also contains the variety and unpredictability of Gloria. The strong progressive approach and true passion in the songwriting and composing are still the main characteristic of their music. No two songs on this record sound the same and each one has an excellent progressive development and the band’s unique vision. The vocals, both harsh and clean, float superbly over the music. It is obvious that Andy Schmidt has matured as a singer. The guitars have some great powerful riffs and harmonized solos. Each member skillfully presents their instruments without sounding pretentious. The guys really know how to make a delightful atmosphere, but the lack of trumpet sound came as a big surprise to me. The longer songs are well done, except for the title track which sounds good, but I have a feeling it’s a little too repetitive. My favorite is A Shimmer in the Darkest Sea with a strong Tool aura, amazing tribal drumming parts and an emotional vocal delivery.

The Liberation is highly dynamic, eclectic and modern prog metal journey and it was definitely worth the wait. I just really hope that this album gets the exposure it deserves.

7.5 / 10

Goran Petrić