Triptykon was born from the ashes of the legendary extreme metal band Celtic Frost. After a long silence, Celtic Frost reformed and in 2006 released the critically acclaimed album “Monotheist” which delivered a darker and more matured sound than anything the band had done before. This was incredibly well received by fans both old and new. Following this success the band experienced some internal differences, and guitarist/vocalist Tom Gabriel Fischer (a.k.a. Tom Gabriel Warrior) who had already began writing for the follow up decided that rather than be condemned to inactivity, he would start a new side project with the sole vision of building upon the foundations that had been laid down with the “Monotheist” album, that project became Triptykon.
Since then Celtic Frost has disbanded absolutely, and Triptykon (now featuring current and former members of Celtic Frost and Dark Fortress) have risen to take up the mantle of the bands legacy, and after delivering an E.P and stunning debut album, they have proven themselves more than worthy.
So now you’re up to date let’s get on with the new album “Melana Chasmata”.
A screech of feedback immediately pierces your eardrums before dropping straight into that unmistakable down-tuned demonic groove that has become Fischer’s trademark sound. It immediately marks itself out as more accessible and focused than the previous offerings, but the first track although brilliant doesn’t prepare you for the immeasurable depth of this album.
Much like the man himself this defies categorisation. Fisher takes elements of doom, death, black, thrash and avant-garde and bends them all to his will and forges them into one coherent sound and style that is bigger than the sum of its parts.
From the doomy early stages of the album, to the raging torrent of thrash infused hatred that is “Breathing”, the semi industrial, Killing Joke-esque “Demon Pact”, the 12 minute hellish anthem “Black Snow”, the surprisingly beautiful and sombre album closer “Waiting” and all the ebbs and flows of everything that comes in between, this album is magnificently paced and focused throughout, every second of it sounds essential and necessary to the experience.
Compared to the debut album, this is not so much a step forward but more a step sideways, like an artist painting a new interpretation of his original work using new skills and techniques he has developed, to give a better definition of his original vision. The effect of this is staggeringly brilliant.
This album is something to be experienced in its entirety rather than flick through your favourite tracks, and it really does reward the patient, taking you on a majestic yet horrific journey. It is a sorrowful, bleak and hateful experience that is somehow disturbingly beautiful in its own way.
The production of this album is beyond perfect, with everything mixed with precise consideration, everything sounds clear, rich and warm. The conjuring and manipulation of atmosphere displayed on this album is not something that can be learned from any musical text, it is something that exists between the notes, something organic and primal that is not meant to be analysed or even understood, but just to be experienced and revered.
At this stage in his career, Tom Gabriel Fischer could just go out on tour, doing the festival circuit every couple of years, playing all the old favourites from his long and incredibly influential career and everyone would be more than happy, but with Triptykon he has stepped up and proven that his creative output is not only still relevant, but that he and his band mates can continue to inspire a new generation of extreme metal fans and create a masterpiece such as this which is just as essential and influential as anything he has ever done, and for me personally this is the best, most focused and complete album he has ever put his name to.
I kept hold of this review for as long as I could just in case my first impressions would wear off, but the more I listen to it the better it gets. This is a masterpiece of an album and one the best albums I have heard in a very long time, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
(10/10 Mark Gleed)