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Disforia - "The Age Of Ether" (CD)

Disforia - "The Age Of Ether" CD cover image

"The Age Of Ether" track listing:

1. Essence
2. Chaos
3. Dream Eater
4. Creator's Creator
5. Infection
6. Half/Life
7. Beyond the Walls of Misery
8. Lunar Sunrise (Feat. Brittney Hayes)
9. The Dying Firmament (Feat. Hansi Kürsch)
10. The Ethereal

Reviewed by on October 6, 2014

"Like piecing together pages ripped from two separate annals of metal history, Blind Guardian and Into Eternity, Disforia crafts its own 'Kindred' – one that mashes power, progressive, and melodic death and ranks among the finest in the world."

Hidden in the deep salty murk of the Great Salt Lake lies one of the true gems of the United States power/progressive metal scene. Alright, maybe it’s not so deep! A growing circle of fans know Disforia all too well, having emerged upon the scene in 2009 with the debut EP “Awakening” and then the stronger 2011 effort “Our Time Defined.” Nothing, and I mean nothing, released thus far prepared me for what I heard on the debut full length effort “The Age of Ether.” Now, I admit criminal negligence when it comes to this talented act – having been lured like a giant tuna to a hook with the guest appearance of Blind Guardian’s Hansi Kursch, only to find out I had the previous EP “Our Time Defined” just sitting in my collection undiscovered….buried within a huge collection that I seem to have lost control of (I hate when that happens). If you are looking for a fresh, new, and exciting act from the States, then look no further than Disforia and “The Age of Ether.”

Like piecing together pages ripped from two separate annals of metal history, Blind Guardian and Into Eternity, Disforia crafts its own "Kindred” – one that mashes power, progressive, and melodic death and ranks among the finest in the world. It seems that the once fledgling U.S. metal scene, which was scoffed at by our European brothers and sisters, will be laughed at no longer. The United States has not produced this much young talent since the mid-late 80’s. Disforia is only one of a new army of acts ready to be discovered around the globe.

With “The Age of Ether,” the first thing that jumps out at you will be the phenomenal production qualities. Admittedly, the usual scaled down (or lack of) production in many U.S. band's products – particularly those in the power/progressive subgenre - has been a total deterrent to ultimate enjoyment of a release. Top performances can still warrant turning a deaf ear on bad sound, but the staying power is greatly diminished. Perhaps it is the years of overly produced masterpieces have whittled away any tolerance I have for the dimly muddied sound qualities which adorn many of this country’s demos and self-released CD products. If care and attention is paid towards making an album sound clear and full, then it certainly climbs the tall ladder of attention. “The Age of Ether” sounds like magic – with clear and perfect production and the performances only seek to enhance its staying power.

Outside of album favorite “The Dying Firmament,” which features the stunning guest vocals of Blind Guardian’s Hansi Kursch, Disforia runs the gambit of varying styles, always keeping the material fresh and exciting. Strong elements of power underlie progressive and modern metal touches, with stellar performances ranging from the outstanding keyboard work of Austin Bentley to the formidable guitar attack of Chad and Dayton Anderson. Highlighted above it all is the masterful vocal performance of John Yelland (Judicator) – who when paired side by side with Kursch, matches up perfectly.

The lengthier tunes “Creator’s Creator” and “Half Life” also double as the album’s best overall performances. You can really see that Blind Guardian, Into Eternity, Ayreon and even a touch of Scar Symmetry’s modern metal is at work. The eerie sci-fi keyboard work of Bentley on “Creator’s Creator” is at its best here along with Yelland’s vocal clinic. So much incredible solo work is at play throughout the release, that it’s hard to pin down a favorite. “Half Life” really shows off the Anderson’s talent. The second half of the track stands up to some of Ayreon’s best work.

It brings great pleasure to see such a stellar release coming from the United States again….and Disforia is far from the only one these days. Admittedly, “The Age of Ether” passed me by when issued back in June, but never again. This album is a power/progressive masterpiece that will also draw fans of modern prog and modern metal styles. It’s the total package from a group of outstanding musicians that have quickly ascended the top of the ladder of the U.S. metal scene, one that we should all be paying attention to!

Highs: Skillfully crafted power/prog with elements of modern progressive and modern metal.

Lows: Some of the songs may seem a bit lengthy to those desiring quicker punches.

Bottom line: Lying in the "age of ether," Disforia emerges as one of the U.S.'s finest acts!

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)