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Expect Moderate Turbulence - 70%

Apteronotus, December 1st, 2014
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Century Media Records

In the world of aeronautics, a holding pattern is when an airplane circles around its destination to delay its final arrival. In Greek, this phrase roughly translates to “Melana Chasmata,” but that’s actually only true when you rely on Triptykon to do the translation. Yes, Triptykon’s second full-length album is decent, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that the band is just killing time for large parts of the release. When dealing with a band like Triptykon, it can be an exacting task to evaluate the music without getting caught up in the baggage of Tom Warrior’s history with Celtic Frost. You know, that little bit of business involving him being an integral part of extreme metal’s foundations. But with that history safely in baggage check, “Melana Chasmata” can be seen as a fairly strong release that suffers from substantial (but not terminal) problems.

Thick tones and crushingly heavy riffs laced with that oh-so-familiar punchiness; the basic sound of Triptykon really shouldn’t feel too alien to anyone who has ever paid even casual attention to extreme metal. What’s fantastic is how the band makes straightforward and even simple riffs so damn heavy. Underscoring this blunt tendency is the morose experimental vein on the album; Triptykon pulls back and marinates in moods in a plodding and doomy fashion. At times this takes on a surreal tribal mood like in the beginning of “Demon Pact” the solo section in “Altar of Deceit” or the first grinding guitar notes on “Boleskine House.” The band even successfully channels their inner “Panopticon” era Isis with the track “Aurorae.” These stylistic flairs add character to the album and prevent it from getting stuck in narrow musical aisles. Continuing with “Boleskine House” as an example, you can hear how the shimmering crystalline female vocals create apt suspense for an ending that is basically massively heavy chugging.

“Melana Chasmata” cruises along like this, balancing traditional riffier elements with avant garde altitudes. Aside from the last track, which we’ll get to in a moment, there is nothing offensive about this album. No awkward transitions, no aspect that isn’t produced immaculately, and almost no missteps. Still, it doesn’t have enough to lift the album to greatness. While not strictly repetitive in an obvious way, few moments on the album have a sense of direction or purpose. An interesting mood here, a heavy riff there, but no overarching narrative. This becomes frustrating with songs that are, on average, over seven and a half minutes long. The band milks the ideas that they have, albeit in a disguised way that doesn’t require playing the same riff forever; musically shifting directions only to circle the airport.

Back on the metaphorical airplane, you sit reclining slightly while snacking from your small bag of peanuts (it has less than 10 peanuts) and start to think that the plane should have landed. No one is irritated yet, but it’s obvious that neither the pilot nor air traffic control have any sense of urgency. In the final song this merely inconvenient story becomes an aggravating one. With “Waiting” you are sitting on the tarmac right next to your terminal, but the damn Giger-esque jet-bridge umbilicus won’t latch itself onto the plane. At this point it feels like a bad joke, like they are making you wait on purpose and with mustache-twirling deviousness. At least on an aircraft they have the good manners to call it “deplaning,” but Triptykon adds honest insult to injury by titling their final track “Waiting.” The track’s filler status becomes rock solid when you consider how strong and logical the final build-up in “Black Snow” was. But no, instead of ending it there after over an hour of music and with the peanut bag empty, the band decided to sing “dying” and “we are the same” for six minutes.

The thing about bad endings; in albums, movies, and plane trips, is that they unduly taint the whole experience. Fortunately you can and should skip the last track; but it’s still out there, and serves as a hyper-condensed reminder of the overall bloat and meanderings on the album. “Melana Chasmata” is the kind of album that you listen to and enjoy but won’t come back to too frequently. The band can do much better, and did with “Eparistera Daimones,” but there is still plenty of material here to like and only one truly bad song. Few bands can write riffs like this, and fewer still can do so while matching Triptykon’s massive tone. All in all, the album is worth it if you are a fan of the band, but those new to Triptykon would be better served listening to their more focused efforts on “Eparistera Daimones.”

Originally written for Contaminated Tones.

In Darkness - 90%

GuntherTheUndying, November 24th, 2014

The return of Celtic Frost, though short, was astounding. With “Monotheist” they came and went, proving with that one album alone that the eccentric collaboration between Tom Gabriel Fischer and Martin Eric Stricker had never lost a drop of its magic. Since “Monotheist” is my favorite Celtic Frost offering, I’m naturally inclined to enjoy “Melana Chasmata.” Triptykon, the post-Frost group led by Fischer, borrows much of the doom-laden darkness that made Celtic Frost’s last record such a compelling experience. “Melana Chasmata” is mostly on par with “Eparistera Daimones,” the first of Triptykon’s children, but more focused and direct. It comes with its pros and cons, of course, yet the truth of Fischer’s utter dominance and knowledge of this wide interpretation of the metal genre remains solid as stone, a stellar truth.

Celtic Frost never stuck to a concrete style during its run. Part of Triptykon’s appeal comes from the continuation of the doom/gothic/black metal blueprint seen exclusively on “Monotheist.” It has a macabre, open-ended grace to it, like a mammoth beast shrouded in shadow. There is ample room for the band to explore the limitless avenues of darkness, yet darkness is a complicated entity, for it comes in many forms. “Melana Chasmata” is likewise chronicled by the minimalist and the complex. The album shows the motifs of “Monotheist” and Triptykon’s first record were inherited straightforwardly into both the song structures and the musical traits, as all walk upon common ground. The world-devouring guitar tone, fuzzy bass lines, explosive drum sound, riffs so heavy Atlas himself would find his knees buckling underneath their weight, Fischer’s intense barks voicing hymns of gloom and despair—familiar themes, them all.

A lot of Triptykon’s musical depth is mapped by the end of the sixty-seven minute voyage. “Melana Chasmata,” in a way, reflects Fischer’s evolution from the dirty decay of Celtic Frost to latter-day experiments within the pool of doom, gothic, and black metal. “Tree of Suffocating Souls,” “Altar of Deceit,” the minimalist bulldozing of the twelve-minute “Black Snow,” and “Breathing” color a familiar replication of old Celtic Frost while dressed under a cloak of contemporary tunings and themes. Their guitar parts are straightforward and candid, pitilessly heavy and sharp. Fisher’s voice is as poisonous as ever, the lyrical venom corrosive like battery acid. “Melana Chasmata” has a fine ability to channel pure emptiness in its nihilistic beatings due to a stellar chemistry among Fisher’s grunts, the savage guitar work, and a poignant rhythm section that supports the expedition brilliantly.

While the heavier songs boasting hateful, crushing riffs are met wonderfully by the natural elements of darkness, the atypical numbers reign supreme. The stellar tradeoff between Fisher’s low voice and female vocals on the atmospheric “Boleskine House” and “Waiting” come off sounding more gothic and creepy than ruthlessly brutal. In the same ballpark is “Aurorae,” a self-loathing tune enriched by despondent melodies and bleak chords, which tops the rest. The whole album is, however, a gripping piece of negativity within its many forms, one that excels wonderfully in remaining true to the despair-ridden gloom of Celtic Frost’s final release. “Melana Chasmata” is profoundly deep and compelling, for darkness itself is mysterious and unpredictable, and if it had a soundtrack, it would look upon Triptykon and look no further.

This review was written for:

Holy Grail #2 - 100%

FozzyOgoody, July 20th, 2014

When Monotheist came out I obsessed over the album. It blew my mind and I thought no other album in the world could top it. When the newly-formed Triptykon released Eparistera Daimones, I was proven wrong. When I first heard this album when it came out I was blown away again to say the least and I was expecting that from this album. I don't want to spoil the review right away, but this album is purely amazing and worth the 4 years of wait.

First off, the opening track, Tree of Suffocating Souls, is a perfect opener. It's heavy and dark and just like the first album, Santura's vocals are an amazing addition to Tom's. The one thing I love about Triptykon is how Santura's vocals are implemented. Tom's tyrannical vocals and Santura's raspy vocals go hand in hand and honestly, I wish every song included him, especially on the second track where Santura's vocals are used throughout the whole song and on In the Sleep Of Death as well. The album title Melana Chasmata is a perfectly suitable name that describes the album. It's deep, very depressive, and the album is the definition of the dark, yet is so beautiful.

Triptykon has really adapted their own distinguished sound in their short discography. The most common aspect of the band would be the heaviness of the guitars, which are tuned in drop B. The extremely heavy guitar tones on this record are what set the mood for every song and the riffs aren't even that complicated, they are just mostly catchy and heavy as hell. One thing I have realized about Triptykon is that none of the members really like to show off, especially on this record. They play resourcefully and what seems to me focus on the overall heaviness of the album instead of showing off.

Overall, I absolutely love the instrumentation on this album; it is colossus heavy and instills dark imagery in anyone listening to it. Not just the heaviness is great on this album. Some of the slower points of this album like, for example, Boleskine House, Aurorae, and Breathing are the slowest parts of the album, but of course are still dark and heavy. What I love about these songs is that instead of a heavy wall of guitar, you find a heavy wall of atmosphere and emotion. Either its the almost clean guitar and tribal-like drumming on Boleskine House or the void-like ambient on Waiting that just takes your breath away. My personal taste of music includes bands that present a lot of emotion in their music and on this album you can almost feel Tom's depression on it.

The album loses no momentum the more you get into it. From the calmer narrative song Aurorae to the bone-chilling song Demon Pact. When I first heard Demon Pact, the song literally scared the shit out of me, and knowing that the song is based on a bunch of nuns becoming possessed helps that out as well. Every single song on this album stands out from the other, but one of my favorite tracks would be Black Snow for sure. The main riff on the song is very simplistic but genius, and the song makes me feel like I'm in the middle of endless forest of snow in the pitch black. The whole album for me gives great imagery - very dark imagery. The last song on the album is a great closer as well. It has a very beautiful sound to it, but it also holds a very eerie, mysterious feel to it as well which I love.

I highly doubt any album this year brings will be half as good as this, but I could be wrong. This album perfectly satisfies my musical tastes, and the more I listen to it, the more it continues to grow on me. However, I do prefer Eparistera Daimones slightly better, but this album is still beyond amazing. Tom 's brilliance is always prevalent in his projects and he has never ceased to surprise me. I will always look forward to his work to come.


Triptykon - Melana Chasmata - 92%

cryptopsyftw, May 25th, 2014

Thomas G. Warrior’s legacy is among the most important in extreme metal. Few men (besides perhaps Chronos and Chuck Schuldiner) can boast such an enduring influence upon a genre. However, having been performing metal music for over 30 years now, one could be forgiven for thinking that maybe his fire has burnt out, his metal career having run its course. Certainly, he has nothing to prove to anyone at this point. Therefore, it’s truly wonderful to see him still conjuring up bleak slabs of metallic brilliance like this, reaffirming once again how vital he is to the genre.

Melana Chasmata is a mixture of hauntingly evocative melodies (vocal and otherwise), pulverizing doom, the occasional burst of traumatically brutal speed, and the dismal (in the best possible way) poetry of Thomas G. Warrior himself. It’s an enchanting combination in all its forms – sorrowful harmonies and delicate vocals seem to float atop crippling doom riffs in “Boleskine House” in one place whilst “Breathing” flattens all before it with nihilistic roars and pounding drums. Dense and suffocating in one place, the music opens up and displays beautiful, if mournful, melodies in another. Make no mistake, this isn't feelgood music – the preoccupation with death and darkness is a prevalent as it ever has been anywhere within Thomas’s career (apart from “cold lake”, which truly does make you want to kill yourself). This is a fantastic example of the beauty that can exist within ugly music.

Much as Tom is clearly the most recognizable figure within this band, it would be a huge disservice to downplay the performances of his bandmates. Without exception, the musicianship is exceptional. In fact, credit is due all around – H.R Giger’s unmistakable cover art only adds to the aura of existential despair surrounding this album, and a thick, muscular production makes every instrument thunder forth appropriately. Thematically, it deals with topics ranging from death (no shit) to esteemed literary figure Emily Bronte on “In the Sleep of Death”, which builds and builds to shattering heights, the name “Emily” repeated until it almost comes to be a mantra. This is the state in which “Melana Chasmata” is most rewarding – when it builds up its songs, adding layers of melody and distortion such as on the sublime “Aurorae” – honestly, I forgot the song was over 6 minutes long. It’s such a heavy album, both emotionally and otherwise, that you can get lost in it before you even realize you've done so. The aforementioned “Aurorae” and “Boleskine House” demand repeat listens to absorb all their musical nuances, though on the whole, this is an album best absorbed in its entirety, with your full attention focused upon it.

Melana Chasmata is a phenomenal piece of work. Its 67 minutes sound a lot but they just seem to slide by on top the subterranean lurch of the riffs on display here. The anger and bitterness is palpable with every world weary vocal croak, crunching chug, and eerie melody. A resoundingly successful testament to Tom’s enduring relevance to modern metal, and a clear confirmation of the idea that metal is as much an art form as any other musical genre. Highly recommended, especially to Doom/Gothic metal fans.

Dark voyages to the morbid depths. - 80%

Empyreal, May 23rd, 2014

Tom Gabriel Warrior is probably the most pretentious man in metal who actually consistently puts out good stuff – well, mostly puts out good stuff. Monotheist was eight years ago now, and since then he has been releasing similar stuff with his new band Triptykon – dark, sludgy, pounding metal somewhere in the Aether void between black, death and thrash. This is difficult to categorize because Warrior’s style predates modern genres, and he helped define the general ethic and atmosphere that genre-specific bands would later adopt. Melana Chasmata could be called dark metal, if anything – it’s slow, evil music with melodic flourishes recalling old goth rock, but firmly rooted in the metal stew Warrior has been squeezing out since the early 80s.

This is a great album in its style. The songs are easily identifiable and have a real dedication to dark, macabre atmospheres and feelings. I really enjoy the immersive nature of this album, as it is consistently suffocating in its thick, misery-fueled riffing and bellowing howls from the vocals and grungy basslines. It’s dark, seedy, malicious music. Tracks like “Tree of Suffocating Souls” and “Breathing” are old school Celtic Frost brought kicking and screaming into the modern day. With chugging riffs and punishing rhythms, they provide the kind of energetic workout old CF used to.

The real meat of the album is the other tracks, the more experimental ones. “Boleskine House” is a slow and eerie tune with female vocals mixed in and some dissonant, gothy chords breaking up the heaviness. “Aurorae” is similar in style and tone – nice atmospherics in this one, with some cool drawn out mellow sections that don’t miss a beat on the misery and madness this album excels at. The best track on here for me has to be “In the Sleep of Death” – with sludgy, droning riffs and Warrior’s emotive muttering, it’s a hugely emotional and dark song that brings to mind jilted love and the disappointment so prevalent in life that one has to find ways out of. Fortunately, songs like this are cathartic enough to provide a cushion for that disappointment and help us out of it. “Black Snow” is a 12-minute exercise in soul-crushing nihilism – just a black void full of tribal marching beats, crushing riffs and massive, devouring heaviness that will consume you whole.

Overall I like this more than Epistaria Diamones, but it doesn’t have a patch on Monotheist - not by a long shot. I guess Warrior will always sorta be chasing himself. That’s the price of making such innovative and exciting music; you run the risk of sounding less interesting with each subsequent release if you keep on doing the same style. It’s not saying anything negative about the music at hand to say it doesn’t sound as fresh and exciting as Monotheist did. The innovation, when played out in the same style over multiple subsequent releases, ends up diluted from its original burst of fresh air. It’s not like with a band that sets the bar low on innovation, a la Incantation, Dismember, et. al – with those bands, we don’t care if they don’t break new ground, because they don’t set that expectation. When you release something as completely uncompromising as Monotheist, however, it’s practically set in stone that doing the same thing over and over again won’t sound quiiiiiite as fresh afterwards. While there are new elements to this album, it’s only a little bit.

It seems Warrior is playing out history yet again – he got famous in the 80s for his punishing blend of heavy metal riffing with thrash heaviness and that cold, dead-sounding guitar tone – he set the stage for what was to come later. That played itself out over time and became moribund, and he reinvented himself with Monotheist years and years later. These Triptykon albums, as good as they are, end up sounding less and less startling and unique in comparison.

Don’t get me wrong though – sounding less interesting than Monotheist is not a heavy indictment against this album. Melana Chasmata could be faster at times to vary up the songwriting, and the songs could maybe be shorter, but overall I still find it incredibly entertaining and engrossing – I’m never bored listening to this. I enjoy the melodic, gothy flourishes and the mellower bits in contrast with the heaviness. I wouldn’t say this is truly arresting or the best stuff Tom Warrior has put out, but it is a sufficiently creepy, melancholic, dark fucking trip of morbidity and the depths of the macabre. Pick it up if you liked anything else he’s done – this won’t disappoint.

Giger Metal Vol. 2 - 83%

RondofedoR, May 4th, 2014

Eparistera Daimones, the 2010 debut from the Tom Fischer-spearheaded Triptykon, provided the masses with a memorable invitation to a grim shock-and-awe experience. It not only reinforced the legend of Fischer/Warrior/Satanic Slaughter, violently reigniting his career, but Eparistera Daimones loomed as a unique genre entry, prompting fans of all sorts to include it in their end-of-year lists. 2014 hears the return of Triptykon with Melana Chasmata (Greek for ‘black chasms’), a follow-up blitzkrieg that loses the initial shock while amplifying every bit of awesome.

The first cut, “Tree of Suffocating Souls,” reintroduces Triptykon’s beastly guitar tone. Mixed with the album’s formidable rhythm section, the guitars smack with a blunted steel wallop and pay heed to character with an oddly mechanized sound, dragging them across sections of brutish chugging and fanciful scenes of distortion and ghostly solo-work.

Oft-coined as blackened doom, Triptykon have wandered further away from the onyx gate and deeper into the pits of a death-doom hybrid, albeit hardly a strict one as genres as diverse as gothic, thrash, and nu-metal (“Breathing”) are here to cast their shadows. The atmosphere is nothing to balk at as there is a palpable dread hovering over the premises, and while the occasional trem-line or shrill cry backs the black, the dominant sensations of futility and fury, not to mention the album’s trudging tempo, coat Melana Chasmata in a cloak of sodden doom.

Aside from the record’s bestial temperament and its quasi-Asphyx/Bolt Thrower-addled rampage, Melana Chasmata’s greatest feat is it’s layering of riffs and progression. Executed with the precision of a headsman, a track like “Aurorae” moves in with the grave haste of storm clouds, rolling with terrible thunder before letting loose its sheets of onyx hail or, if you will, “Black Snow,” the record’s unfeigned monolith and a dirge of unscalable density built by the legion duo of rhythmists Vanja Šlajh (bass) and Norman Lonhard (drums/percussion).

Admirers of Triptykon’s use of haunting female-sung passages should enjoy “Boleskin House” and the closer “Waiting,” while seekers of a more extreme fair should test the ice on “Altar of Deceit” or “In the Sleep of Death,” the latter featuring some of Fischer’s most exacting vocals in years. Filtered with hallucinatory programming effects and a crevasse-deep inclination for titanic riffs, the compass of Melana Chasmata is indeed broad and broadly eclectic. It doesn’t entrance as much as its predecessor, but it hits much, much harder. A most welcome return by some of dark metal’s darkest.

Written for The Metal Observer

Cultivated primitivism and pensive majesty - 95%

Achintya Venkatesh, April 25th, 2014

Thomas Gabriel Fischer – a heavy metal deity par excellence – a man who has seen everything from an awry familial situation, a repressed childhood, to being mocked for his early musical musings to being heralded as a pioneer of his time, meeting success, joy, conflict and downfall in quick succession. The heavy metal world is indeed eternally indebted to Fischer in multiple ways, having been a precursory figure and incredibly seminal on not only black and death metal, but also other divergent styles such as doom metal, death/doom metal, thrash metal, symphonic metal, gothic metal and avant-garde metal. From the Venom/d-beat punk-inspired occultist primitivisms of Hellhammer, to the proto-extreme metal ävänt-gärdist tendencies of Celtic Frost, with the latter ultimately being subjected to (in retrospect) unintended stylistic shifts that led to its first downfall, while human conflicts led to its final demise. A life having been characterized by turbulence across his professional/artistic endeavours and personal relations, the Warrior had the perfect fuel to keep the fire burning in a most genuine and unfeigned manner.

Eparistera Daimones’ was a perfection of the latter day Celtic Frost formula, albeit it was driven by a heightened sense of rage and exasperation than the more brooding and pensive ‘Monotheist’ was, no doubt owing quite a lot of its inspiration to Tom Warrior’s very own experience in Celtic Frost – the destruction of his very own creation. Four years after the band’s last release, the prospect of Tom Warrior and his cohorts returning with another full-length album was nothing short of exciting, and needless to say the expectations for this release were beyond high. Risk-taking is something that has typified the very artistic ethos of Fischer across his long career, and although all his forays into various styles haven’t been successful, it is hard to argue against the fact that his experimentations alongside the basal style he has honed for himself since his return to metal has been nothing short of stellar. Onto the actual music itself, the primary tool employed by Fischer when creating his sound-scapes is the guitar tone, superseding the intricacy of the riff itself. This is not to say that it is lacking in the latter department, as the muscular, finesse-laden riffing and decrepit grooves of songs like ‘Tree of Suffocating Souls’ or ‘Breathing’ (parts of which will certainly make the Hellhammer/Celtic Frost fan in one smile) will attest to. Rather, the less is more formula serves its purpose when it has such a monolithic tone to lean back on, which is precisely why this textural quality make songs like ‘Black Snow’, ‘Altar of Deceit’ or ‘In The Sleep of Death' such suffocatingly emotive experiences, painting utterly morose images of doom and death as opposed to being mere droning chug-fests. Fischer and V. Santura’s guitar work invokes a certain gargantuan majesty that is primitive at heart but cultivated and seasoned in its execution, as if to analogically project Fischer’s journey from both a personal and creative perspective.

It cannot be stated emphatically enough that Fischer is no stranger to experimentation, and his sheer genius in this regard shines through on ‘Melana Chasmata’. To assign a genre tag to this album would certainly do it no justice, as the band experiments with a variety of tones, sounds, samples and textures that run the gamut of everything from extreme metal (doom/death/black) to more gothic atmospheres and even slightly dabbling in industrial, ambient and dare I say post-rock–like elements. It is the juxtaposition of these very elements across the length of the album making for a more rounded experience. In a sense, this serves as a metaphorical expression of the range of human emotions, and in turn adjusting the atmospheres to the fatalistic undertones of the record. ‘Demon Pact’ is perhaps the best reflection of the way Warrior flirts with the industrial side of things and conjures absolutely arcane atmospheres and rendering almost catacomb-like images. In terms of the rhythm section, Vanja Šlajh’s bass work, as brooding as the guitars are especially emphasized when the band considerably slows down its pacing; while Norman Lonhard’s drumming is legitimately dexterous and lucid in its execution, ushering in different paces that in turn establish the dismal moods at play.

What is admirable is that these experimentations are not simply indulged in for the sake of artistic snobbery or as a face-value wow factor, but it instead adds to the thematic explorations, juxtaposition and more specifically, the narrative in a most honest manner. For instance, take for instance the clean chord progression seen on the first few songs, which I believe all share a C♯-driven tuning and recurrent notes, reinforcing a common narrative conveyed through different compositions, in turn manifesting a larger theme. Invoking everything from misanthropy, depression and a dejected sense of yearning, Fischer’s vocals serve as the perfect vehicle for the expressions of these themes and moods, being both hoarse and sludgy in textural quality with the cadenced command and surly, booming quality of a formidable archon; while Santura with his occasional backing vocals, a more harsher voice only further adding to the excruciating ambiance. Warrior’s performance on the vocal side of things is also diverse, with the moan-like vocals one became acquainted with on ‘Into the Pandemonium’ appearing on ‘In the Sleep of Death’, while a more baritonal indulgence is seen on ‘Aurorae’, both calming and disconsolate in its scope. Simone Vollenweider once again makes a guest appearance, having been associated with Fischer since ‘Monotheist’, providing vocals on tracks like ‘Boleskin House’ and ‘Waiting’, which I would like to think mirrors the ethereal ‘My Pain’ from the debut, providing a fleetingly conciliating closure of sorts to this sombre, wrathful and epic journey through these deep, dark valleys of human thought - and what better visual compliment for a masterpiece of an album than a piece by surrealistic visionary and genius par excellence H.R Giger?

Creative profundities and musical intricacies aside, Triptykon’s sophomore is an album that not only stands proud within the context of metal music but as a piece of art in itself. It is a far more pensive and introspective experience than ‘Eparistera Daimones’, an admittedly more outright heavy and furious record. ‘Melana Chasmata’ is cathartic, it is theatrical and full of a poetic sense of existential agonizing and yet has exuberant moments, and as a whole the integrity and sheer honesty of the artists at hand is more than evident in this type of music, which is both otherworldly and fantastical in its purview, utterly bleak in aesthetic and yet so incredibly intimate and personal. May this triptych reign into eternity.

Originally written for -

Melana Chasmata - 97%

Altair 4, April 17th, 2014

Four years following their debut full-length 'Eparistera Daimones', Triptykon seem to have upped the ante in every aspect with this new release. 'Melana Chasmata' both elaborates and improves upon all elements of its predecessor, and adds in so many pleasant surprises that not once throughout multiple listens is there any point that's worth skipping.

The album blasts in with "Tree of Suffocating Souls", a song reminiscent of "Goetia" but with less unnecessary filler. This album also has no overly-inflated songs, passages, or ambient creepiness like the aforementioned "Goetia" and "The Prolonging". 'Eparistera Daimones' was a very great, potent debut, but it's easily apparent this album is an absolute crown jewel. There is no filler to be found, and every note, strum, and scream is totally convincing in its emotional weight and genuineness.

Tom G. Warrior is in top shape, as well as V. Santura. I've never heard Tom fit so completely snug and right with the music. Santura's vocals are equally commendable, as the contrast between him and Warrior is perfect. From 'Monotheist' on Tom G. Warrior really grown with each album, but here it seems the stars have aligned completely in the vocal department. Nothing in the vocal-related is uncomfortable to hear; nothing sounds strained, nothing sounds out of place. Everything compliments the music perfectly and is emotionally genuine and crippling.

The rhythm section with Vanja Šlajh and Norman Lonhard is ferocious and wholly confident. The instrumental jamming in "Altar of Deceit" and "Black Snow" are so gritty and tight, it's simply a joy to hear. As far as leads and solos are concerned, we all pretty much know what to expect. Eerie leads and crunching solos are dotted throughout, but they've never really been the focus of Triptykon. However, much more variation in sounds and tones can be found in this album throughout, though notably on "Waiting" and "Tree of Suffocating Souls". The nasty and imaginative deliverance of aura, aggression, and utter sorrow have always been the defining characteristics of this band. Here on 'Melana Chasmata' these elements are top-tier. Every single song is unique and yet cohesive.

For both initial listenings of this album I was completely glued to my chair. I cannot recommend this album enough! If you're a fan of Triptykon or Celtic Frost, you will be enthralled. If you are a fan of metal or rock in general, this album will suck you into the depths and entertain you from beginning to end.