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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