I’ve long extolled the virtues of Germany’s Disillusion on these very pages. From their breathtaking, classic debut, Back to Times of Splendor, to the divisive follow-up Gloria to the band’s comeback after a 13-year layoff in 2019s The Liberation.

Well thankfully, we don’t have a long wait for them to follow up The Liberation, as Ayam (Sanskrit for ‘This One’) is here a mere 3 years later and delivers on more of what The Liberation did with epic, progressive melodic death metal of the highest order.

With a new bassist and drummer from The Liberation, as well as a few guest musicians, (notably Frederic Ruckert who delivers a full-on backdrop of keyboards and pianos as opposed to a fill-in here or there as he did on The Liberation), Ayam is the next logical step from The Liberation. It has the same ambitious, lush, melo-death/prog-metal vistas and dual hues.  Andy Schmidt has the same gruff bellow and clean croons, and there are lots of dreamy intrinsic moments that blend seamlessly with harsher, sterner moments of exquisitely rendered melodic death metal.

Look no further than the first track, “Am Abgrund” for this perfect balance of tidal ebbs and flows with a gorgeous, patient, atmospheric build, explosive string /brass components, svelte croons, and dramatic swells over an enthralling 11 minutes. An ambitious start indeed.  “Tormento” follows that up with a more direct if still engaging dose of more heavy, churning riffage before “Driftwood” brings things back to a more dreamy, introspective mood.

And it’s the band’s devotion to these Opeth-ian hues of light and dark where they are absolute masters. Even when taking slight left turns into more dissonant realms like 12-minute standout  “Abide The Storm”, it’s still rife with majestic, cinematic arrangements,  sugary clean hooks, and even a flugelhorn, that keep things so multilayered, it can be a bit dizzying but also super rewarding. There is sooo much going on in every song. Ayam is for sure, not a quick or easy listen.

But as the nights draw longer, the leaves turn and the sunsets blaze with foreboding beauty before storms roll into the evenings, tracks like “Longhope”, snarling “From the Embers” or wondrous closer the “The Brook’ are the perfect soundscape to throw on some headphones, sit and take everything in and appreciate brilliant music from brilliant musicians.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 14th, 2022


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