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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