14 April 2014
Triptykon’s unique sound was born from the dying days of Celtic Frost, when frontman Tom G. Warrior (aka Thomas Gabriel Fischer) staked his everlasting claim for the darkness with Frost’s final outing, 2006’s much maligned (at the time) Monotheist. When Fischer resurfaced in 2010 with Triptykon’s debut, Eparistera Daimones, he continued to lie in those same shadows with a singular doomed sound that clearly showed that Celtic Frost’s swansong was a little more in his realm than it was of his former bandmates.
Their loss is our gain. While Eparistera Daimones was incredible it did suffer at times from “new band syndrome” – the pieces needed to work together a little more – but Melana Chasmata has learned those lessons and turned them into a crushing, disparate and occasionally beautiful work. From the lovelorn ode of ‘Into the Sleep of Death’ to the exhausting pace of opener ‘Tree of Suffocating Souls’ to the oppressive air of ‘Altar of Deceit’, the album punishes on multiple planes of hell.
‘Tree of Suffocating Souls’ leads into the album on a tone that all at once is unmistakably Triptykon’s; the weight, feel and utter claustrophobia that is contained within its walls creeps and snakes into view bringing with it a tangible darkness. Fischer intones over all with a deathly precision, his voice taking on many different identities during the course of the track – the melodic cadence of the chorus giving way to deeper, rasped spoken word portions – while the song itself twists from a massive opening to ethnically tinged guitars to echoing inflections and beyond. Triptykon and Melana Chasmata have grown together, the record coming out of the bands’ need to constantly push forward and weave a terrifying spell over all.
‘Boleskine House’ utilises the gorgeous strains of (and this is only an assumption based on not having access to the liner notes) long-time collaborator Simone Vollenweider to weave a lighter yet no less melancholy vocal line into the already deeply depressive machinations of a song that breathes with a deathly intent. The song moves in the shadows in a slow, funereal pace that pulls you ever deeper into the abyss that Triptykon inhabit. Theirs is a complete darkness, one that clouds everything and is suffocating in its repression.
The pace of the record is rooted in downtuned, downtrodden doom but occasionally a lighter rhythm bursts through to lift the gloom ever so slightly. During ‘Breathing’, thrashy elements are incorporated and used to push the song out of the shadows before ‘Aurorae’ strips things back down to glacial movements of gorgeous guitar that dance on the fringes of complete agony and nice line in Fields of the Nephilim worship.
This central theme of finality and depression and heaviness is one that is woven into the fabric of Triptykon and in turn Melana Chasmata sifts through the dirt and filth of life in order to move from one desolate track to the next. The sadness that courses through the veins of the record is palpable and in particular during ‘Into the Sleep of Death’, which is essentially a love song written for a long-lost paramour. The ability of Fischer’s work to walk through the many different obstacles that as humans we face without coming across as trite or woefully cliché is wonderful to behold and this gorgeous lament for a person named Emily is a beautiful highlight in a record that traverses many ugly paths.
Melana Chasmata is truly breathtaking and from the soaring solo of ‘Breathing’ to the industrial fissures of ‘Demon Pact’ to the heady stomp of ‘Black Snow’ and the surreal waves of album closer ‘Waiting’, Triptykon give a voice to the despair that everyone has felt at some time of their lives. It’s a record that dwells in the shadows and embraces the darkness and horror that comes with such an existence. It’s accepting and it’s total. Triptykon are pitch black. Melana Chasmata is bleak.
Sounds Like: Celtic Frost
Standout Tracks: Boleskine House, Demon Pact, In The Sleep of Death