Review Summary: Simple, effective gloomy metal at its best
Thomas Gabriel Fischer is often regarded as one of black metal’s forefathers, and with good reason. Having created Hellhammer, one of black metals earliest and most influential bands, he and fellow band member Martin Eric Ain then decided to create Celtic Frost, who need no mention in extreme metal circles. And, after six studio efforts and two break-up’s, the band was laid to rest for good in 2008. However, like any good musician should do, Fischer decided to return with a brand new project, entitled Triptykon in 2010, and boy was he right to do so. Continuing in a similar vein to Fischer’s previous 2006 work, “Monothiest”, “Eparistera Daimones” is not only an overall more enjoyable listen, but a more consistent effort as well.
Perhaps the beauty of “Eparistera Daimones” is its ability to perform all the classic doom metal tricks, but to make them sound fresh and exciting. It doesn’t even have the raw production values of classic black metal either; in fact it sounds very well done indeed, which only plays to the groups advantages. The bass rumbles away in the background, the drumming doesn’t drown everything out yet is still powerful enough to carry the songs along, and eerie guitar passages give the record a sense of atmosphere unlike anything released this year. There are also one or two well placed instrumentals and interludes, with the second, “My Pain” having Fischer’s booming, narrator-esque voice soaring over the piano and keyboards accompanied by some interesting female vocals. The overall quality on display is no more prevalent than on the best track of the album, “In Shrouds Decayed”. Carried along for the most part by a spidering lead guitar line and Fischer’s cleans, it transforms halfway through into a simple, yet highly effective doom slugger. The riff is heavy yet undeniably catchy, and Fischer’s distinctive snarl gives it a unique sense of energy among the typical gloom and doom we expect from the band.
However, the biggest surprise here is found on the fifth track of the album, “A Thousand Lies”. It sounds a lot like “Ground” from Monothiest, but it is a slightly faster affair, with some great drum fills from stickman Norman Lonhard and the droning guitars perfected with “Monothiest”. Fischer’s vocals here are perhaps at his deepest during the album, which happens to perfectly compliment the breakdown that occurs just before the final verse. It even contains a guitar solo, albeit a rather simple one that breaks up the pounding habit of the album rather nicely.
For the vocals, it is business as usual for Fischer, which is simple, deep growls and angry snarls, which isn’t wholly exciting and new in the genre, but it just about stops itself from becoming monotonous with one or two variations in most of the songs. His ability is highlighted best on the aforementioned “In Shroud’s Decayed” and “Myopic Empire”, both of which manage to combine rather well his cleans, growls and snarls into a great overall package. “Myopic Empire” also contains some of the best harmonizing lead guitar work on show here, but breaks in its intensity halfway through into a beautiful piano piece, something an accomplished classical composer might even be proud of.
While Eparistera Daimones manages to push all of the doom and black metal buttons rather nicely, it is not without one or two rather small faults. Even within black metal, a genre surprisingly full of variety in its screaming style, Fischer is rather distinctive in his approach. However, this can equally work against him, as at times he can sound every-one of his 47 years, and his growling in particular can, admittedly at one or two occasions start to grate upon ones nerves. This is no more obvious than in the 19 minute closer “The Prolonging”. While not especially bad, it does indeed fail to ignite the senses quite like those before it, and Fischer does start to sound a bit weary when it (finally) ends. Furthermore, if you know the classic Fischer formula-verse, chorus, verse, chorus, interlude/breakdown, chorus, then nothing new is to be found here on this release, which is slightly annoying given the overall quality of this CD.
It has to be said though, even with one or two slight faults, “Eparistera Daimones” is one of the best releases of the year, threatening to even knock Enslaved’s latest effort off the black metal podium. Its ferociously simple, lip licking black/doom metal at its best, and sounds quite unlike anything you have probably ever heard before, which only helps play to the bands strengths. A must for anyone who likes their metal bleak and skull-crushingly heavy.
1. Abyss Within My Soul
2. In Shrouds Decayed
3. A Thousand Lies
4. Myopic Empire
5. My Pain