Review Summary: Another pummeling reminder that "Only Death is Real"
Can we possibly describe Triptykon’s debut album, Eparistera Daimones, without eventually resorting to ridiculous and redundant superlatives? Calling it a worthy follow-up to Celtic Frost’s Monotheist would be selling it sadly short; it surpassed its predecessor in every possible way from its minimalistic, yet monstrous riffs, its sludgy and gurgling vocals, all the way to its (slightly) less compressed production, Daimones was an outstanding achievement for Mr. Tom G. Warrior after Frost’s unfortunate and sudden demise. A long and tedious four-year wait would ensue before the metal masses would hear new Triptykon music, conceivably scratching restlessly at the imaginary worms crawling under their skin whilst nibbling on saltine crackers and pop tarts with their eyes glued to their computer screens waiting for any faint signs that a new Triptykon album was on its way. Their waiting has thankfully come to a blissful end now that Malana Chasmata, Triptykon’s latest, has been released.
Admittedly, The band’s style has not shifted dramatically in any way since Daimones, which might be a turn-off to those who were not initially fond of their first effort or of Monothesit in the first place, but they have succeeded in shifting their style very slightly in a few different directions. Faster, thrashier segments are more manic and intense than before, and their slower, moodier moments crush with an even heavier fist. Guitarist V. Santura’s black metal rasp takes more precedence this time around, and we welcome his wretched voice with open demon wings. He absolutely and mercilessly tears up the mic. “In the Sleep of Death” (a song whose music was written entirely by Santura) is the best example of his tortured vocal attack, as well as a showcase of his songwriting abilities – the guitar lead during the chorus, for example, is absolutely gorgeous. This is not to say that Warrior is overshadowed by his disciple, because he, too, has pushed himself to a new area of aggression. Warrior’s voice is burlier, angrier, and more disgusting than ever, continuing his vocal evolution that started with Monotheist where his early Celtic Frost vocal delivery was thrown into the waste bin, leaving room to reinvent his sound from an experimental black/thrash metal offshoot to a bone-crushing doom metal machine.
Melana Chasmata might not be heavier than its predecessor, but, then again, how could it be? While the heaviness is about the same, the dynamics have increased a little. A grand piano interlude akin to the one found on Eparistera’s “Myopic Empire” would have been appreciated, but variety comes in other forms here. The eerie programming found on the terrifying (yet admittedly droning and repetitious) “Demon Pact” is one such example, as is the acoustic guitar textures found throughout “Boleskine House”. The opening pummeler “Tree of Suffocating Souls” is another example of acoustic guitars at work, in this case, it takes the form of a solo. However, this solo is heavily manipulated by a very seductive effect that morphs it into an otherworldly alien instrument from eons past. After the ridiculously and absurdly heavy “Black Snow”, more experimentation takes place with a totally clean guitar lead on the closing track “Waiting”. Unfortunately, the experiment here turns a little sour. It’s rife with generic string bends and entry-level blues sensibilities, in fact, the whole thing displays a total lack of skill on the instrument. Simone Vollenweider’s cleanly sung vocals make a return here, as well as on other tracks, continuing a partnership with the band that will hopefully continue into Triptykon’s future endeavors.
Despite the aforementioned “Waiting” solo and the unfortunately dull and repetitive nature of “Demon Pact”, there is not much to complain about on this album. It is what fans of Eparistera Daimones have been waiting for four years to arrive, and it delivers with the strength of a demon battalion. It is a legitimately evil-sounding and unsettling record, and is sure to be a boon to doom, black, and death metal fans alike. It’s the complete package for metal junkies who want nothing but darkness and negativity in their musical diet, and time will tell if this comes out on the top of the list of Tom G. Warrior’s greatest works.