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Apparently this is an EP but I have trouble buying it. Shatter's the "catchy pop hit" as such, there's some b-sides thrown in and a few live tracks.. It's not an EP, jeez. No one's gonna think you're going all Cold Lake on us if you call it a single, Tom. This is gonna be a track by track thing, because all the songs on here are completely different from one another.
The live tracks here have some pristine production, which is very much ideal; with the chunky, pristine tones and Tom's signature (and unsurpassed, arguably) guitar tone it's surprising just how well these 20+ year old tunes fit with the last frost and the new Triptykon album. A few more faster moments, perhaps, but at the end of the day it's still this pitch black doomy, vaguely thrashy stuff. The more things change the more they stay the same. Nice song choice and the tunes are played tightly so there's no complaint here, I woulda liked 'Crypt of Rays' but you can't always get what you want, right.
The new songs are a bit less consistent but there's still rad moments. I am the Twilight perhaps takes Triptykon's simplicity a bit too far; none of the riffs are all that exciting and it's not until a bit of 'lead' work and textural variation comes in around the 4:30 mark that the tune takes off. I can appreciate trying to hold off the more dynamic second half for as long as possible but it got overdone here, perhaps, and the main chugga chugga riff just really isn't all that interesting. Oh well. Far better than "crucifixus", which is a really, really boring ambient bit of wankery, and proof that having the best production ever isn't gonna make everything work.
We're not really here for b-sides though, we're hear for that sort of catchy, rather strange song that is Shatter. It was a ballsy move basing an entire song off a two chord slam, but it works.. just. The vocals aren't hugely interesting either; it's the soaring, delayed guitar leads that really make this song. Strange but effective pacing, all in all that sounds sort of like some alt rock, sort of like metal, but is basically somewhere out there in it's own rather bizarre world. I'd like to hear something of this sort fleshed out a bit more and in the next album; it's a cool sort of sound that Triptykon could really make their own.
All in all this isn't a bad little collection of songs but when you get down to it, it's only really worth owning for the title track and the older live songs. Still, worth buying if you can find it cheap. Be sure to youtube the excellent video of Shatter as well, well worth it.