TRIPTYKON’s upcoming release, Melana Chasmata, sits atop my personal most anticipated albums of 2014. I’ve been a huge fan of Tom Gabriel Fischer’s (aka Tom G. Warrior) past work with legendary bands HELLHAMMER and CELTIC FROST. Black metal would not be the same without those two pioneering groups. Fast forward to 2010 and the release of TRIPTYKON’s first record, Eparistera Daimones and thus began a new triumphant chapter for Tom’s creative genius. That album completely blew me away. I swear, the man gets better with time! And the band’s second full-length release reinforces that in spades.
The leadoff track, “Tree of Suffocating Souls” bludgeons forward making a bold statement that this record is NOT going to fuck around. The guitar and bass tones on this album are massive and aggressive. The song is rife with complex rhythms that are equally catchy. Nearly eight minutes long it is the definition of merciless aggression. “Boleskine House” is a display of the slower paced, yet still very heavy composition that TRIPTYKON executes so well. Vanja Slajh’s distorted bass stands out to me the most on this track, as well as how her voice meshes with Tom’s. It creates a haunting and beautiful atmosphere. Norman Lonhard’s percussion also stands out on its own throughout the tune. There are brief sections where all you hear are drums, which are done tastefully. I really enjoy how the song varies in volume, starting slow and building to louder sections, dying off and coming back, then ending quietly.
“Altar of Deceit” is a generally mid-tempo composition; having a very doom oriented sound. It is another track that features many peaks and valleys in regards to tempo and volume. Tom’s vocals are so full of anger on this one that you can damn near taste it. “Breathing” is the shortest track on the record, clocking in at 5:50. Yes, the shortest song on this LP is still almost six minutes long! The fourth track rips with break neck speeds and features some of my favorite riffs on the album. Tom’s guitar work is always fantastic, and I think his pairing with guitarist V. Santura for TRIPTYKON has created one of my favorite “newer” guitar duos. If you thought Eparistera Daimones was full of killer riffs, you’re in for a treat with Melana Chasmata. Since I will be attending this year’s Maryland Death Fest, I plan on circle pitting my ass off to this tune. Sitting at the halfway mark of this nine-track, mammoth record is “Aurorae.” In my opinion, this is the most beautiful (in a dark way) song on the disc. The overall mood feels sorrowful yet powerful. The guitars truly shine in a different way on this one. A must listen.
After a song like “Aurorae,” TRIPTYKON follows with a grimy, sludgy number called “Demon Pact.” To me, this is the darkest song on the record. Listening to it makes you feel as if the sky is about to turn black and Hell itself will rise up through the ground. The vocals grabbed me the most on this track. They are forceful and authoritative. The eerie atmosphere is assembled incredibly well by the Swiss quartet; something I feel they have honed and perfected better than anyone else. “In the Sleep of Death” is a tortured sounding song, from the vocals to the instruments. It sounds as if someone’s soul is being picked apart, limb from limb, ever so slowly. “Black Snow” is over 12 minutes of EPIC metal. If I had to define TRIPTYKON in one song, this would be my choice. It blends close to every single element that the band offers into a single track and it is glorious. “Waiting” ends the LP on a somber note. Vanja handles a vast majority of the vocal duties and she sounds stellar. It’s a perfect way to wrap up a stunning album, and TRIPTYKON’s greatest work to date.
You cannot classify this as a doom record or black metal or any other of the multitude of sub-genres of metal. Like Tom G. Warrior’s previous projects, TRIPTYKON cannot be pigeonholed to a genre. TRIPTYKON is undeniably metal, so we will call them just that. Melana Chasmata is one of the finest releases 2014 has seen and will see. This album will find its way to the top of an innumerable amount of “Best of” lists at the end of the year including my own. And let it be known, H.R. Giger still creates some of the greatest visual artwork in the world. The album art for Melana Chasmata is remarkable.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
WRITTEN BY ERIC THE BULL