Zyklon
World ov Worms

Now that Emperor vocalist Ihsahn has Peccatum in full-swing, remaining members Samoth (now Zamoth) and Trym Torson have decided its their turn to showcase their talents outside home base. I normally feel apathetic towards such groupings, but Zyklon, consisting of Myrkskog guitarist Destructhor and Limbonic Art vocalist Daemon, on its debut World ov Worms doesn’t fail to impress with its unique coupling of death/black metal and post-apocalyptic atmospherics. In many ways, Zyklon offers a mesmerizing conjunction that lies somewhere between Morbid Angel, Gehenna and Behemoth.

Although my first experience with Zyklon was through a rough rehearsal tape, the zigzag guitars and over-the-top drumming came through loud and clear. Moreover, every nuance traceable on the rehearsal is now displayed ten-fold in execution and expression ‘ in fact, the album is faster and more ambitious! If you’re thinking Zyklon is another Emperor incarnation or an extension of Zamoth’s former project Zyklon-B, the assemblage here is precisely the opposite. The whirlwind and bordering-on-chaos element is present on the album, but whereas Emperor thrives (and excels) in this environment, Zyklon uses it as a serrated metallic spear to skewer the listener’s skull in one ear and out the other: the music is adventurous, but its direction is, for the most part, forthright.

Vocally, the album is devoid of extreme metal conventions; Daemon’s performance is exceptional, really. His shout-scream delivery is powerful and intimidating, especially when the reverb and distortion are clicked into overdrive. Opener “Hammer Revelation” is almost too much to bear upon first listen ‘ the guitarists must have thrown their most dexterous, backwards riffs into a rock tumbler, setting it somewhere between rough and polish. Yet, being great songsmiths, enough melody seeps through the craggy guitarwork to make the whole affair memorable. The album’s direction continues to get more extreme and peculiar song after song. “Chaos Deathcult,” for example, is a meticulous fretboard burning session that segues effortlessly into a gritty spoken word passage, replete with short-circuited electronics against a backdrop of overworked gear grinding. “Zykloned” is another metal-meets-the-future type track ‘ the song hammers out early Obituary styled riffs, trad-black metal guitar structures as well as an uncanny use of effects acrobatics.

While purists from both sides of the fence will regard the band’s expert and minimal use of keyboards as unnecessary experimentation, tracks such as “Deduced to Overkill” and “Terrordome” are almost entirely encased in pure vitriolic aggression. Like the more empirical tracks mention above, album closer “Transcendental War – Battle Between Gods” explores a different side to the creative process. It shows that outright brutality can beautifully blend with sublime stratospheric sonatas. Such is the case during the last two minutes of the song, which showcases the triumphant return of esteemed vocalist Garm, who, for what it’s worth, hasn’t sounded this great since Ulver’s debut album, “Bergtatt.” Metal needs you back, Garm. If Zyklon is to eclipse its progenitor, then I can say for all Emperor fans who feel somewhat disillusioned by Peccatum can celebrate in knowing that there’s at least a suitable replacement. Get Zykloned today!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Dick
February 12th, 2001

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