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Aeon is Zyklon's second album and proves them to be more than a mere all-star, side-project band. (Guitarist Samoth and drummer Trym are better known as ex-members of Emperor, while lead guitarist Destructhor was in Myrkskog.) This album refines and builds on the sound laid out on World OV Worms, with futuristic/apocalyptic lyrics and an overall blasting death metal approach that's closer to Morbid Angel or later Behemoth than to Emperor. One improvement on this album is the production. On World OV Worms, it seemed like every instrument (including the vocals) was competing to be the loudest one in the mix, but it was still hard to tell what was going on. Here, the sound is much clearer, though without sacrificing any heaviness, and, thankfully, there are still none of the phony-sounding drums or over-processed guitar tones that marred so many other contemporary death metal CDs. And it's nice to be able to hear them better, because this band can really play -- Trym's drumming is fast and powerful and Destructhor and Samoth's guitar interplay is cruel and surgically precise. Songwriting-wise, there's a lot of Morbid Angel worship going on -- the churning main riff on "Core Solution" is pure Formulas Fatal to the Flesh material -- but Zyklon adds their own slant with cold, black metal-ish guitar harmonies, occasional, (mostly) tasteful keyboard layerings, and electronic accents. This album starts out strong, including highlights such as the title track and "Subtle Manipulation," before trailing off toward the end and closing anti-climactically with "An Eclectic Manner." That song includes attempts at semi-melodic singing similar to that on World OV Worms' closing track, "Transcendental War -- Battle Between Gods," only here they're not as successful. On a peripheral note, the cyber-themed artwork is a nice contrast to death metal's clichés, as are the thoughtful explanations (written by Emperor drummer and convicted murderer Bård "Faust" Eithun) that accompany the lyrics to each song. ("This describes the immorality and vileness of a possible future scenario, where materialism, superficial mind-patterns, and globalized disregard...turn into anarchy and post-civilization," reads the one for "Zyklon Aeon.") On the whole, this album is not a classic, but it's better than average as modern death metal goes.

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