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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.