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This album gripped my very being right from the start, with the strange and eerie semi-clean descending chords of “Goetia.” And once it passed from those chords into the very low, very slow doom riff, I was simply stunned. Immediately, I was reminded of the opening lick to Hellhammer’s masterpiece, “Triumph of Death.” Now, “Goetia,” I had to know the meaning of this word, so, after a bit of online research, I found that this means sorcery, the invocation of demons, and is derisive of the ancient grimoire entitled the “Lesser Key of Solomon,” which was a big influence on Mr. Crowley and his magick. (Thank you, Wikipedia.) The depth of Tom Warrior’s knowledge of the occult has been apparent since the Hellhammer days, but this first track of Eparistera Daimones fucking blows me away. The seething hatred throughout the album is undeniable. As a huge fan of Monotheist, this is exactly what I needed, and Tom Warrior has delivered yet again, with authority.
Monotheist changed my life, opening for me previously undiscovered doorways of doom and occultism. Eparistera Daimones carries on in this fashion, but in a far more aggressive and hateful manner. It is my opinion that the lyrical content of Triptykon is largely an indictment of at least two members of the Monotheist line-up.
As soon as the drums came in on “Goetia,” I noticed that drummer Norman Lonhard is a far more advanced player than Monotheist’s Franco Sesa. Throughout Eparistera there are swinging and jazzy elements to the drums, as well as brutal thrash drumming, amazing and expert fills; in other words, this dude’s a badass. Also, Warrior elected to tune one step lower than on Monotheist, from B down to fuckin A. Fuckin A, indeed, for this new and lower tuning makes everything on the album heavier, darker, and more sinister.
“Lie upon lie, mankind shall die.” A brilliant closing line to the opening piece here.
I really don’t think it’s possible to draw much comparison of Tom’s works of the current century to the classic and avante-garde albums of the 80s. The man is so full of renewed rage and scorn (and justly so) that his modern work relentlessly bludgeons the listener with huge production, slower tempos, and lower and lower guitar tunings. That’s not to say that the avante-garde tendencies have been abandoned; just listen to “My Pain,” “Shrine,” or Monotheist’s “Drown in Ashes” and other such tracks for proof of this element.
The epistle of “In Shrouds Decayed,” after its beautifully melodic intro, is “I am your shrine. I am your womb. You rest inside of me; my flesh shall be your tomb.” So eloquent and poetic, and the progression from mid-paced to slow and crushing half-time tempos demonstrates the mastery of Warrior’s ability to communicate his message with his music. “Shrine” is another piece that adds diabolic and experimental atmosphere. This is a seventy-plus minute record, all of those minutes memorable and well written, and splicing the brutality with experimentalism is something Warrior has always done expertly, starting with tracks like “Human” and “Danse Macabre” on the legendary Morbid Tales EP.
“A Thousand Lies” is a thrashing beast where Lonhard especially shines, and the vocal exclamations of the word “die,” are so impassioned that you will believe that these guys truly wish death upon someone. This is one of the heaviest and fastest tracks here and a definite high light that will undoubtedly get some heads banging. “Descendant” features some excellent death-grunts (which, of course, were invented and perfected by Warrior) and these grunts are on other tracks too, most notably, “Goetia,” where the ripping guitars and drums kick in on a downbeat of devastation.
I was admittedly underwhelmed by the opening riff of “Myopic Empire,” as it has been done by pretty much every metal band, but after many listens to the song, I have come to love it, due to the lyrical content, and especially the serene piano interlude, featuring a female spoken word bit, and again, a jazzy drumming element appears before the distortion kicks back in to punch you in the gut. “Myopic Empire” is followed perfectly by the fantastic piece entitled “My Pain.” In the words of Alexander de Large, “It was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh; like a bird of rarest spun heaven metal, like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now.” Tom’s gothic and morose spoken words are juxtaposed to the elegant female vocal; sheer beauty, in the darkest form.
Closing piece, “The Prolonging,” seems to be tuned even lower than the rest of the album; so goddamn heavy. The lyrics are certainly that of condemnation, and Warrior’s voice is as vitriolic as ever, “as you suffocate, I shall breathe. YEEAAAH!” I wish I knew the tuning of this epic brute, because it seems lower than the depths of hell. What I love most about Celtic Frost and Triptykon, is that they refuse to limit themselves to one style, when you listen to the music of Tom G. Warrior, you get the whole package, thrash, death, gothic ambiance, the mesmerizing voice of Simone Vollenweider, and of course, DOOOM. This album is a must for any fan of the Frost, especially for me at is the perfect follow-up to Monotheist. The only reason I don’t score this at 100% is because of the rather played-out riff that starts the song “Myopic Empire,” but that song still fuckin rules, as does this entire opus of unbridled passion, emotion, and pure artistic integrity. Buy it.
When Hellhammer ended, Tom Gabriel Fisher went on to form Celtic Frost. Now the cycle has started again with Triptykon, nearly four years after Celtic Frost ended. Without any hindrance from the former Celtic Frost member, The Warrior has brough forth a grand piece of blackened doom metal mastery that actually may be superior to 'Monotheist'. Ladies and gentlemen, this is 'Eparistara Daimones'.
This album is full of memorable riff sequences and lyric passages. All the lyrics are simple in structure, but cryptic in content and meaning and effective enough to have you sing along to most if not all of the songs. The body that goes with the blackened lyrical soul consists not only of the heaviest doom riffs this far south of Candlemass, but also well spaced out higher tempo sections.
For example, let's look at the opener "Goetia". It starts with the slow intro, collects speed, and all of a sudden kicks your ass with the first main riff. If somehow you didn't have your ass kicked by the end of the verse, the song enters the pre-chorus and after that, BOOM!!! "LORD HAVE MERCY UPON ME!!!" This may as well go down as one of the most memorable doom metal refrains in my experience.
Actually, the memorable lyrics popped up a lot from "Rise! Abyss within my soul!" to "Pain! Pain!-Myopic Empire..." Even the 19 minute closer "The Prolonging" has lyrics that have me hooked: "As you [experience something undesirable], I shall [experience the opposite]." Seems cheesy from a glance, but partnered with the music, it just works wonders.
Musically, the album fluctuates its styles. "Abyss Within My Soul" is straight up doom metal, but "In Shrouds Decayed" takes a dark gothic approach which works really well with the lyrics sang with clean, but deep and foreboding vocals. "A Thousand Lies" is fast paced all around, but may actually be inferior to the other songs in comparison. The solos aren't particularly important, but the really memorable ones are in "Descendant" and "Myopic Empire". "Descendant" stays with the doom riffs for the entirety of the lyrical passage and speeds up at the end to fit with the guitar solo. "Myopic Empire" mixes clean and harsh vocals well and even adds a grand piano during the break for a cool experience.
Finally, there's "The Prolonging". It features colossally heavy riffs to go with its colossal length. It speeds up only briefly and doesn't get very fast at all. What I think is the best part though is the chain of power chords in the outro. All this is assisted with the lyrics wihich I've talked about before. This was the best way to end this album.
This album is amazing. Every song is great. None of this is skippable, not even the interludes "Shrine" and "My Pain". Tom Warrior thankfully isn't done yet and hopefully will continue to do great things under the Triptykon moniker. 'Eparistara Daimones' is totally necessary and essential to fans of doom metal, Celtic Frost, Hellhammer, and overall, Tom Gabriel Fisher's whole legacy.
As would be expected given it's position as the successor to the monumentally challenging, dark, and utterly fantastic "Monotheist", the album that brought down the curtain on the legend that is Celtic Frost, we here have an album that has taken numerous listens to become acquainted with and get into a state for which a vaguely accurate review can be written. Of course, I am talking about "Eparistera Daimones", the debut album of Triptykon, the act who rose, phoenix-like, out of the irrevocable ashes of Celtic Frost as an outlet for the perpetually chaotic mind of one Tom G. Warrior. Through records like the quintessential "Morbid Tales", the universally derided "Cold Lake" and the aforementioned "Monotheist", the work of Warrior has never followed a linear path, and it is this self-determination that goes into making "Eparistera Daimones" quite what it is nearly 30 years after the man began his musical career with Hellhammer.
Gloomy and devoid of a defined song structure, 11-minute opener "Goetia" signifies the similarities in tone to "Monotheist", no surprise given it's initial birth as the next Celtic Frost record, following a path set by the likes of "Ground" and "A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh" of audial discomfort for the listener and obvious emotional intensity for it's creator(s). Followed up by 9-minute "Abyss Within My Soul", these two form a painfully slow and heavy entrance to this album of 72 minutes, full of wonderfully abrasive and vicious guitar tones and a clear production allowing for the depth of recording to bleed through at all times.
"In Shrouds Decayed" is at first a more relaxed dissonant track not unlike "Obscured" or "Drown In Ashes" before lurching into a classic doom riff and "A Thousand Lies" a song that seems to define the word 'cathartic'. Considerably faster and more aggressive than what has come before, which combined with the lyrical content is akin to Mr. Warrior releasing a few of his demons in as direct a manner as possible. Aside from this brief spurt of energy however, "Eparistera Daimones" could overall be described as a dark, ponderous doom metal record. Even slower on the whole than "Monotheist", it's remarkable consistency at this speed flags the quality inherent within and the exposed emotional core that is the skeleton of everything Tom Warrior puts his name to in an age when digital recordings and fly-by-night trends make it easy to forget what such emotional music sounds like.
One of my personal highlights within "Monotheist" was the concessions made to classical piano interludes and beautiful haunting female vocals juxtaposed against the dark soul of TGW, and in "Myopic Empire" and "My Pain" we get this in glorious abandon near the albums' conclusion. "Myopic Empire", already slow and bleak descends into Shining-like piano harmony before regaining consciousness again for a stumbling end, while "My Pain", for its breathtaking beauty and tranquility wins my award for the album's best song despite being totally metal-free. If you listen to it and still think the typical female-fronted 'gothic' twaddle is the perfection of this style you need your ears washing out.
"The Prolonging" closes proceedings, in a massive 19-minutes mind you, along the same pattern of filthy heavy riffing that most bands can play, but not play like Triptykon do here. It does drag on in the closing stages but with the intention of harbouring gloom and misery it could be said to have done that in the truest qualities of pure doom metal. Needless to say "Eparistera Daimones" feels like everything fans of Celtic Frost and "Monotheist" were waiting for after that unexpectedly stunning return to form in 2006 and is as difficult listen as I hope to have made out in this review. Sometimes 72-minute albums need to be listened to as one whole unit, and if you're one of the ADD generation for whom playing two songs in succession from the same band is a test you're going to miss out on a great record. Buy, listen, and admire of one extreme metal's godfathers showing how it can still be done in 2010.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net
Everywhere I looked, this elusive but apparently ground-breaking and wondrous band "Triptykon" was being talked about. Never before had I heard of "Tom G. Warrior" or "Monotheist"; it was as if there was a whole metal world that I had been missing out on and knew nothing about. Wanting to hear what all the fuss was about, I ordered this CD one night and patiently awaited its arrival. By the time it arrived, I had read enough Tom Warrior worship to make Jesus jealous, and I was thoroughly hyped about the album. So there I sat, Eparistera Daimones in my hand, stereo open in front of me. I placed the CD in, turned the volume up to the maximum, hit play and by the time I heard "SATAN" two minutes in, I was completely blown away.
This album is indescribably awesome. I'm not sure if it's just the hype this band got, but there is definitely something here too awesome to be put into words. From the obscenely heavy and evil guitar, to the pounding bass, to the beautifully robust drumming, to the stark and wicked vocals. This album is a black hole, sucking anyone who listens to it into a hellish world of hate, doom and madness.
The guitar here is brutally heavy and crushing. Every time you hear a chord you either imagine slaves building a tower with massive stone bricks or a massive stone brick tower falling to pieces. Actually that's not true, the guitar is nothing without the equally demolishing bass. Mixed in with all the dismayed destruction are a lot of softer, grieving pieces such as "My Pain" or the end of "Myopic Empire". The former is a great atmospheric track, however the end of "Myopic Empire" is pretty pathetic: there is no need for piano and third-rate female whisper-singing on such a wonderfully brutal track. Speaking of singing, the vocal work on this album is (again) just as crushing as the instruments. Combinations of doom-inducing moans, hellish preaching and demonic gritty singing really enhance the mood, and are probably what stands out the most on this album. As far as drumming goes, I have to say I didn't really notice anything significant. Norman Lonhard does his job skillfully, but he doesn't push the envelope in any way.
Songwriting is something I really want to talk a bit about. There is such a great amalgam of different types of songs and genres that it's near impossible to really categorize this release without using four or five adjectives (Epic blackened doom/death heavy metal. There, I tried). The album opens with a dark but mid-tempo eleven-minute epic "Goetia", slowly descends in song lengths (although maintaining the doomy formula) until you reach the atmospheric track "Shrine", followed immediately by what is essentially a thrash metal song ("A Thousand Lies") which leads into yet another colossal doom track. After that you have one of my personal favorites ("Myopic Empire"), which has a surprisingly catchy chorus, the previously mentioned atmospheric track "My Pain", and the album finishes with a near-twenty minute epic saga (aptly titled "The Prolonging") which effectively crumples the entire Universe into a massive spiked dildo, rapes God with it, then delivers him to Satan violated, ready to serve an eternity in hell. Yes, it is that awesome.
Basically, this is god-rapingly heavy metal with gothic, doom, black and death metal influences. Fuck! Call it what you want, it is marvelous in every way (except for that stupid piano part, which is why it loses points) and I am satisfied in labeling it a must for any fan of extreme metal. I was a first-time Tom Warrior listener, and I was not disappointed.
As sombre and doomtastic as Celtic Frost's monumental Monotheist album was Eparistera Daimones sees Thomas Gabriel Fischer delving even further down into his personal blackened abyss of grief and dismay. With the help of Dark Fortress guitarist V Santura, who also helped out Celtic Frost in the live setting, he has reshaped his vision and the edge is perhaps sharper than ever. The CF spirit is ever present but with a completely different line-up the sound naturally takes some detours from accustomed patterns. Perhaps even more doom influenced than Monotheist and more brutal in many ways, Triptykon's debut is mesmerizing and insanely suffocating at the same time.
Opener Goetia sets the mammoth pace straight away and carries a strong Leif Edling vibe throughout. The faster paced riffs reflecting latter day Candlemass, while the slower sections echo Krux's brilliant II album. There are hints of black metal here and there, possibly inspired by Fischer's recent collaboration with 1349, and it suits the overall mood perfectly. I wouldn't know how to approrpriately categorise this album but the blackened doom tag seems seems to cover most of it.
My personal favourite off the album is the storming A Thousand Lies that sets itself apart from the rest of the album speedwise. Fischer's vocals here are more evil and venomous that I've ever heard him. Absolutely brilliant. Another favourite is the monstrous final track The Prolonging which clocks in at just under 20 minutes. A massive epic that is sure to wreck the hearts and minds of the casual listener.
All in all this is nothing short of a brilliant "comeback" from the Celtic Frost frontman and one that I hope will continue for many years to come!
There just seem to be no human words for the majestic greatness of this album; though I am taking an attempt to describe this mind-hitting power - which is as fatally strong as death. After the matured Celtic Frost, releasing their unholy 'Monotheist', disbanded again, I had been more than pissed off. I thought it was the end of something new and the new beginning's genial production, there would not be a single follow-up, therefore erasing the possibility of winding even more up the limits of extremity. Luckily - and I could not be thankful enough for my error - , I was wrong again.
If 'Monotheist' was a ton-weight album, then Triptykon's 'Eparistera Daimones' crushes all the pillars of the universe. Monolithic riffs accompany every songs, the variety of shifts and changes exceeds most similar – if there actually exist any of such entity – formation's creativity, the sound simply destroys everything living and non-living to ruins. The darkness, coming from the atmosphere of their music, is overwhelming. Listening to this album is most similar to the feeling of being constantly kicked in the head, and it's like an all-consuming vacuum at the same time. This creation delivers anybody right to the grinding gassy caverns of Hell!
Triptykon – knowing their grandiose conceptions and ideas - , not really surprisingly, dare to open with a monstrous, eleven minutes long song, entitled 'Goetia', in the vein of 'Monotheist'; it's starting off with oppressing, down-tuned guitars, which are very distinctive throughout the complete disc as well. Desolate, sick cantations, roarings and malicious, distressed, occasionally ringing-out guitars characterise 'Abyss Within My Soul'. 'Shrine' is a threatening, hellish interlude, while in 'Descendant', the beginning reminds me of Mayhem's 'Wall of Water' from the 'Ordo Ad Chao' release. All in all, floating, meditative, smashing slow parts (even piano!) and brutal, grinding fast parts alternate, relentless doom riffs blast in, accompanied by Fischer's insane roarings, shrieks and various, totally inhuman voices. One thing why I very much appreciate this album is that they had absolutely hit the sound in the head – thankfully, this is mostly well-sounding, crushing enough doom, and a mixture of clearly indistinguishable genres. Over all, professionally played, obscure doom metal and occult, shattering darkness reign over the whole release.
What is really outstanding, those are the bass parts. A beautiful and devilishly talented girl, Vanja Slajh, handles the bass, which appeared to be a bit surprising after hearing the first samples and checking out the first photos that came out to the press. She is an organic and pleasant phenomena in the band's line-up. As I noticed, there is hardly any distortion on the bass throughout the songs, it is very interesting to hear the clearer sound. There are only a few exceptions ('Myopic Empire') for this remark. The distortion of the whole album's guitars is really special, anyway. It savagely ruins the membrane of the speakers.
One song, that at first listen I found a little weird - and later totally fell in love with it - , is 'My Pain'. It is a simple and very beautiful, soothing and exotic composition, with fragile, natural female vocals and additional vocals (rather Novembers Doom-like spoken lines) of Fischer, pieced together with fine guitars and atmosphere. Here I must mention the deep meaning of lyrics; Tom sets much of his agression, pain and personal struggles out via his lyrics and writings. All my respect goes to him.
Some words on the cover artwork and inlay: Triptykon were approved to use H.R. Giger's – one of present's most original artists - painting from 1978, 'Vlad Tepes'. Other special features are the portraits of the bandmembers, all painted in blood by Vincent Castiglia. I must say this absolutely fits the conception and if I may be allowed to share a pretty subjective opinion, one of nowadays' sickest bands, Triptykon, could hunt down two of the three sickest artists of our present (for me, third place goes to Andres Serrano) to flesh out their musical masterpiece – it has turned out to be more than an awesome constellation.
An enormous composition, 'The Prolonging' is closing 'Eparistera Daimones', almost twenty minutes of sweeping and magnificent extremeness, it is very similar to 'Synagoga Satanae' from Celtic Frost's 'Monotheist'. Triptykon's debute hopefully opens a new chapter in the history of improved extremity – addictive from the very first listening, exceeds all expectations, and devilishly original. A new milestone of metal.
Thomas Gabriel Fischer abruptly left his own legendary band, Celtic Frost, in April of 2008, just a few years after reemerging from obscurity with the massively brilliant Monotheist. News of Fischer’s departure came as a shock to the metal community, and many believed Fischer would once again return to the shadows. This was not to be. Not even two months after his departure from Celtic Frost, Fischer posted a new logo on his blog that read “Triptykon.” In the ensuing months Fischer made it clear that he envisioned Celtic Frost making many more albums together and he would be creating what he had envisioned for the successor to Monotheist with his new band Triptykon.
Fischer imagined the follow-up to Monotheist to be an even darker and heavier record. I am one of those people who believe Monotheist was one of the greatest metal releases of the past decade, and I continue to praise the album every chance I get. I believe that Monotheist is one of the darkest and glorious heavy metal albums to grace the planet, and it remains my favorite Celtic Frost album. As Fischer continued to post updates on his blog concerning the debut record from Triptykon, I wished him luck as I felt he had an insurmountable task ahead of him. I did not feel that it was possible for him, especially without long-time Frost songwriting partner Martin Eric Ain, to create an album that is not eclipsed in the bleak shadow of Monotheist.
I am reviewing the album Eparistera Daimones, the debut album from Triptykon. I have made sure to not review the record too soon as Monotheist once took quite some time to grow on me. I now understand that Fischer’s type of music takes some time to digest, and reviewing too quickly would simply hinder an album that I did not understand at the time. After taking one look at the cover artwork, supplied by HR Giger, I became aware that I was about to take a long dark journey into the mind of Thomas Gabriel Fischer, who would now use his anger and sadness over the demise of Celtic Frost to create a long album of rage and despair.
Yes, Eparistera Daimones sounds like Monotheist, but only in theory. The guitar and bass tones are largely the same and Fischer has decided to continue down the doom/gothic path he and Martin Eric Ain had begun on Monotheist. However, Eparistera Daimones is also very different from the previous album to bear Fischer’s name. The songs on this record are much longer, even doomier, and finds Fischer experimenting with his voice more than ever before. I completely did not expect the brilliant opener, “Myopic Empire,” to be 11 minutes long. Normally I prefer faster and more aggressive songs to kick off albums, but “Myopic Empire” does not bother me in the slightest. In actuality, it provides a perfect mission statement for the band and more or less informs the listener that Eparistera Daimones will be very angry and very plodding and bleak. To these ears, the most majestic moment in the song occurs at 7:50 with Fischer barking his classic “Ugh!” and launching into a monstrous riff. Brilliance.
As previously mentioned, Eparistera Daimones features some long songs, with 3 over the 9-minute mark. Because of this and the album’s general slow and heavy style, it can be easy to become bored and not recognize the songs as good. I found the album quite plodding the first few times I listened to it, but I strongly urge listeners to keep listening to the record. This is a grower, much like Monotheist or just about anything Fischer has helped create. Fans wanting nothing more than a To Mega Therion clone will still most likely shake their heads, but Fischer continues down this new path without looking back.
Now don’t get the idea that the entire record is slow as hell. “A Thousand Lies” is in fact the fastest and just about the angriest song on the album and sounds the most like the Celtic Frost of old. Fischer’s vocal performance in the song is fantastic, and it’s very obvious that he isn’t too happy with some unnamed person (the final Celtic Frost drummer, perhaps?). Also, check out the hellacious pounding riff in the song “Descendant” that begins at 6:34 and closes the song.
Amidst such anger and doom there exists moments of grace and beauty, in true Tom G. Warrior fashion. “Myopic Empire” features a moody piano and female vocal break that makes the song. The break closes out with some great drumming by Norman Lonhard, who is wonderful throughout the whole album, and I actually much prefer his performance than Franco Sesa’s on Monotheist. The song “My Pain” is wonderfully serene and haunting, with programmed drums and female vocals as Fischer laments solemnly. The song is the perfect break from doom riffs as the next track, the closer “The Prolonging”, is over 19 minutes long. This one took me a while to understand, but it is indeed a worthy closer. Fischer lets his rage fly and vows to ascend. The song is slow, morbid, and dark, and yet Fischer is empowered. The lyrics that sum up the song, as well as the entire album, are located at the end of this review.
Do not give up on this album. Fans of Monotheist and Fischer’s style of writing should take to it pretty quick, but only repeated listens will unlock the albums wonder. Even though I still prefer Monotheist, Eparistera Daimones is every bit it’s worthy successor. Fischer, a true genius of metal composition and experimentation, has proven that he is unwilling to let the breakup of a band stop his dark vision, and he continues to descend (or ascend?) into the monstrously heavy place he has discovered.
“As you deteriorate
I shall create my kingdom
As you sink into the waves of darkness
I shall find my brightest light
As you perish, I shall live
Among the many legendary bands that have reunited this past decade in tandem with metal's greatest re-expansion since the 80s, I would consider Celtic Frost's Monotheist to be one of the rousing success stories. Not only did the band score a hit with a great many of their older fans, but ushered in a whole new crop of admirers, many of which exalted their new album even more than the band's classics like To Mega Therion or Morbid Tales. I was actually quite divisive about the album. While it certainly carried on the Frost's tradition of taking the listener to a new and interesting place, and thankfully didn't abandon the groundwork the band laid in getting to their cult status, I found the album almost too simple, with nary a lick of interesting guitar work despite its huge atmosphere and consistent sense of gravitas.
Regardless, the album went over very well when compared to so many other comeback efforts, and the band was able to launch a successful tour on it, giving a glimpse of Celtic Frost live to many who thought they might never live to see the day. Sadly, it took only a short time for the band to fall to pieces once more, through intense personal differences, and the new tricks for old dogs were laid to rest. Dissatisfied with idea of letting any creative momentum subside, Thomas Gabriel Fischer (T.G. Warrior) decided to forge out on his own under a new guise, and with the assistance of a few younger recruits (bassist Vanja Slajh, guitarist V. Santura of Noneuclid/ Dark Fortress, and drummer Normah Lonhard of Fear My Thoughts), he has carefully carved out Triptykon from his dreams and nightmares, a project which could rightfully be described as Monotheist: The Band without causing anyone's fur to fly.
That's correct. Triptykon is the natural evolution of the final Celtic Frost opus, but made the more extreme through a use of heavier vocals, and and even more crushing guitar tone that remains loyal to the prior album (and strangely enough, old school Hellhammer/Celtic Frost). Atmospherically it is also comparable, though I found this sound to be far more centralized around the guitars, with Fischer using less of his old Hellhammer personality to the vocals, and a more direct, and unfortunately, less memorable barking presence. But though the band may seem as straightforward in principle as a blunt object slowly rising and falling with steady strength on your brain, they are certainly not above experimentation. Chanting, whispers and other measures of morbidity all weave their way through the 72 fucking minutes of visceral miasma that awaits the listener. It's a huge investment of time, but one I'm sure many are eager to take if they enjoyed the previous album.
The shocker is that I didn't really enjoy this, and in fact I liked it even less than Monotheist. While I can laud Fischer for continuing with determination along the path of heaviness that he himself had a hand in helping create, commend the producers and musicians for putting together such a huge sound, and feel my inner teen feint in rapture at the return to H.R. Geiger cover artwork, there is a gap here that I just couldn't cross. The album sounds monstrous, the guitars the perfect study of maximized extremity through simple riffing, and the vocals and instruments all extremely well organized here to lull the listener into submission and not boredom, but I'll be damned if I can think of a single guitar riff on the entire album that 'did it' for me. These are the sorts of riffs that have by 2010 been played a thousand times, through thrash metal, death, black and doom, and regardless of how well sounding the distortion may seem as it slices you through the headphones, they're simply not inspiring. I feel no nuance, no surprise hidden around any corner in any of the songs.
Fischer's past work was far from complex, but records like Into the Pandemonium and To Mega Therion evoked a mystique and aggression that was so rare in the metal of its age, an undeniable charm that snaked itself about you with each successive listen as it ascended into the stuff of legend. But after spending over 70 minutes with this new album (numerous times), it feels simply cumbersome. It's Monotheist all over again, but lacking even the subtle charms of that effort as it attempts to span the bridge to a modern audience which demands more heavy, more crunch, more doom! When you've got an 11 minute song like "Goetia" or a nearly 20 minute track like "The Prolonging" (the punditry of the title is not lost upon me), I expect to hear something more interesting than basal chugging and open picking riffs that sound like they took little to no effort to compose, but are here to fill up space.
Granted, the band are not horrible composers, and each extensive sequence always features some slight shift in perspective (usually through Lonhard's tribal war drumming infusions or another vocal arriving to balance the grunting off), but I still get the constant feeling like I'm waiting for the morning bus to arrive. Only it's getting later, and I suddenly realize it's a holiday, or the schedule has changed, and I'm going to be waiting a lot longer than I had expected. There are some bouncy moments here like the 13 minute mark of "The Prolonging" that should get ever sludger out of his galoshes and into the murk and blood of the local mosh pit, but I actually think the material here works best when it's moving faster. A point in case would be "A Thousand Lies", which opens at a pace very similar to the title track of Sepultura's "Chaos A.D", which was undoubtedly itself influenced by Celtic Frost, and then continues to spew lava as a dense, nihilistic thrash grinder. For slower material, which you'll be hearing a lot of, the song that least drove me towards my Tempur-Pedic would be "Abyss Within My Soul", which persists in some rather creepy, haunting grooves through its 10 minute existence. "In Shrouds Decayed", the song most resembling older Frost to my ears, Tom brings back the old, tortured lament (ala Into the Pandemonium) to his vocals before a meaty doom riff erupts.
The album also takes some breathers, as in the dark ambient interlude "Shrine" or the tranquil post-rock tonal meandering of "My Pain", with its ethereal female vocals and subtle drums. These elements are to be expected, being familiar with Fischer's past few works (Monotheist, Apollyon Sun, etc.), and they do feel as if they're inserted in the proper spots to bisect the weight of the metal tracks. "My Pain" is actually not so shabby, where Tom takes over from the placating female vocals with his moribund, gothic narration. As for the lyrics, well they do tend to fall on the rather average side of sinister, but there is a consistency between their composure and the music itself which fits like a hand in a glove, and he does continue to explore the realms of both the internal/personal and the occult.
Once again I stand divided and unconvinced. While the album is a technical marvel, a Celtic Frost brought current and level with the 21st century standards of studio gravity, and the band have carefully plotted out its entirety so that even the disbeliever won't be so bored as to run screaming in terror, I developed no relationship with any of the songs here as I have so many times in the past with the man's work. Some credit is deserved that Fischer would press on with the inspiration he had for the past album, twisting it into a blacker veneer, rather than run towards a softer direction, and assemble a band who seems to complement his vision. I expect a lot of people will have their jaws so agape at the production elements of the music here that it's an assured success, but I'm still waiting patiently for my bus to arrive.
I won't tell the long story about the reformation and dissolving of Celtic Frost because we already know it. The only thing you need to know, and the only thing really relevant to this review, is that after the dissolving of Celtic Frost in 2008 frontman Thomas Gabriel Fischer started another project in order to pursue the musical and artistic goals of CF, Triptykon, and he has made it. Many (me included) were surprised by that onslaught of an album that was Celtic Frost's Monotheist, and those who enjoyed it will love this monster for sure.
The menacing guitars, the dark atmosphere so thick you could cut it with a knife, the slow and crushing riffs... it's all here. With the opener, Goetia, Triptykon build up the tension and then explode with some killer and fast riffs, all wrapped up in an oppresing and dark atmosphere. The furious drumming top Franco Sesa's in Monotheist, the guitars make CF's last record shiver, the bass sounds like a tank marching though a battlefield covered by the guitars' embrace and the vocals show are better than ever; more violent, menacing and angry. It's obvious that this record has served Fischer as a way to convey his anger and his darkest feelings.
The onslaught doesn't stop after the 11-minute Goetia; as soon as Abyss Within My Soul kicks in, you know you're in for an even darker ride; this song is slower than the opener, but that doesn't keep it from having a great intensity. Fischer's tortured vocals match the emotion of the chorus' guitar riff, a chug-chug sound you won't be able to forget. After Abyss Within My Soul comes In Shrouds Decayed, a great song that starts quietly, in a very dark and atmospheric manner, only to become even darker with the doomy and crushing riffs of the chorus. Then, after this song, comes Shrine: the only interlude, and a incredible one. Frightening voices and sounds that will make you look at the cover and shiver.
A Thousand Lies is not as dark as the songs before it, but it's fast and angry as Triptykon can get, and undoubtetly faster than anything on Monotheist. Fischer's mad vocals are perfectly complemented by those of bandmate and guitarist V. Santura of Dark Fortress Fame. This is really a song that takes no prisoners. Then Descendant starts, and the slower side of Tryptikon awakens again. Like Abyss Within My Soul, this is a long and slow song, full of energy, although maybe the most forgettable on the disc, which can be easily forgiven; it's still great and serves as a way to distract you from what's to come; there is also a fast section in the beggining and a great solo, which makes up for the lack of variation. Myopic Empire, a shorter song, is absolutely incredible. Its chorus is infectious, catchy and as melodic as violent, and the clean vocals scattered throughout the song enhance the sinister atmosphere. Then, unexpectedly, a piano stars playing over the calm voice of a woman. This wonderful interlude makes the song even better and makes us anticipate the return of the chorus; the songs sounds even darker and crushing after the interlude.
Although some might not like My Pain, it manages to make us take a breath before the finale. It is a calm, ambient-influenced song with great lyrics, where Fischer recites his verses with sadness and emotion and the beautiful voice of a woman sings over the music, which manages to sound beautiful, sad and dark at the same time. Now it's time to relax and wait for the onslaught to come. Those who enjoyed Synagoga Satanae will surely enjoy this: a 19-minute monster of a song that is an epic way to end a great album. There are no restraints here; althoug it's not fast, this song is so full of anger you'll be relieved not to be the objective of Fischer's hate. It builds up slowly with doomy and down-tuned riffs, with calmer sections with almost no distortion; and then the incredible chorus explodes about the 8-minute mark, only to disappear in a faster part that evolves slowly in a sludgy mass of riffs from the pre-chorus. The songs keeps getting slower and menacing until the song and the album ends with a wall of distorted guitars.
The conclusion: this is not the Celtic Frost from the eighties. This is not even Monotheist-era Celtic Frost, nor the remains of a dying idea. This is everything that made that band an essential taken to the next level. This is at the same time slower and faster, more atmospheric and menacing, angrier, darker, and better. This is (I hope) the genesis of a great band, a band that will hopefully record great albums after Eparistera Daimones given the fact that Fischer's ideas are no longer restrained by Martin Eric Ain's and Franco Sesa's hunger for money and corporativism. It is a record that maybe will require some listens until one becomes fully aware of all its details and manages to see the full image. But after that, my friend, you won't ever look back again. Triptykon are unstoppable.
When Celtic Frost reunited in 2001 after an eight-year hiatus, the metal community responded with resounding jubilation. The 2006 release of Monotheist was a momentous occasion for fans worldwide, marking a new chapter in Celtic Frost's history. The anticipation of waiting for a new album, though, was soon replaced by the universal dismay and outrage felt when Celtic Frost disbanded again in 2008. It seemed that Tom Gabriel "Warrior" Fischer would not grace the world with his artistic genius in extreme metal again. Which is why, when Fischer announced the formation of a new project called Triptykon, fans were clamoring for new music immediately. Fischer declared that he wanted Triptykon to sound similar to Celtic Frost's sound on Monotheist, aiming for a dark, experimental vibe that would still be unique in its own way. Eparistera Daimones, the first Triptykon studio album, accomplishes just that, bringing together several genres of metal to create a soundscape similar to Celtic Frost, but with its own distinctive and breathtaking twists.
The most prominent aspect of Eparistera Daimones is the overwhelming heaviness of every element in the sound. The guitars are always at the forefront of the sound, dominating the pace and direction of the music in every aspect. Fischer mixes up his vocals, using a raspy singing voice, aggressive spoken word, and his signature growls, all with great effect. There is a pervasive sense of vicious anger to his voice throughout the album, as if he is trying to contain some simmering rage within himself. With the addition of a throbbing bass track and meticulous, polished drumming, Triptykon's sound is a blend of the best bands in extreme progressive metal. In addition to the obvious Celtic Frost comparison, fans will also detect elements of Gojira, Opeth, Katatonia, and Dødheimsgard when listening to Triptykon.
The variety of sound and the ability to effortlessly shift from one subgenre to another are what make Triptykon so special. Fischer melds progressive metal, thrash metal, black metal, death metal, and doom metal into an extremely avant-garde style that ebbs and flows from one style into another between and within songs, while simultaneously maintaining a constant ambience that permeates every second of the album. Whether shredding on a Slayer-esque guitar solo, plodding through droning slow parts, or surging over complex polyrhythmic sections, there is a unifying atmosphere to the entire album that holds everything together. This distinct unification brings this album up from being just a great album to being a truly exceptional piece of musical mastery.
Metal fans worldwide have received a remarkable gift in the form of Eparistera Daimones. Not since Opeth released Blackwater Park has a single album been so incredibly unique and excellent in all aspects of its music, both in composition and performance. Triptykon are exceptional in both their similarity to the band that fathered them and in their sonic separation from that band. If Fischer is able to maintain his output with this band, metal fans could see Triptykon take the place of Celtic Frost as his greatest contribution to the world of music. This band is truly special, and every metal fan will find something about them that is worth listening to.