Friday, April 11, 2014

Triptykon - Melana Chasmata (2014)
Coming on the heels of 2010's critically acclaimed "Eparistera Daimones," Triptykon, fronted by Tom G. Warrior of Hellhammer and Celtic Frost fame, have returned with another dark, brooding monster of an album in "Melana Chasmata." The oft-repeated phrase "don't judge a book by its cover" certainly doesn't apply to this album as the sick, twisted art of H.R. Giger perfectly matches the music. And the album doesn't waste any time revealing its sinister nature to the listener. Right from the opening of "Tree of Suffocating Souls" with its heavier-than-lead thrash attack and Warrior's trademark commanding grunts through the hauntingly beautiful "Waiting", "Melana Chasmata" is truly a beast of an album that hearkens back to the old days of Celtic Frost. The real genius of the album is its ability to seamlessly weave black, doom, thrash, death, heavy, and avant-garde metal into a singular, monolithic package that almost goes beyond genre classification. In that sense, Triptykon still hold firmly to the pattern established by Celtic Frost on such albums as "Morbid Tales" and "To Mega Therion" which influenced an incredibly wide range of bands and even spawned entire genres. The difference here is that Triptykon, especially on this album, have taken the classic Frost sound and expanded it into the territory of avant-garde with a heaping dose of dissonance and drawn-out, hypnotic tracks that make me think of such nightmarish things as Inferno by Dante. Indeed, the whole album is a trip through hell. "Altar of Deceit" is perhaps the heaviest track on the album, and perhaps the most violent part of the trip through hell, and features gargantuan riffs that sound like Black Sabbath on steroids. Another highlight for me is "In the Sleep of Death" which features some truly demented, almost psychopathic vocals that just plain creep me out (in a good way though). It is also worth mentioning bassist Vanja Slajh's beautiful, siren-esque singing which complements Warrior's fierce growls perfectly. And of course let's not forget Warrior's morbid lyrics which, as usual, fit the music like a glove. While I enjoy this album more than its predecessor, it's not perfect. "Black Snow" is probably my least favorite track here as it goes on for far too long than it should. Otherwise, "Melana Chasmata" is a fantastic achievement that shows not only shows Warrior/Triptykon's relevancy in the incredibly crowded world of modern metal, but also stands out as a uniquely dark and, in a very odd way, beautiful artistic statement.

(Special thanks to Century Media records for sending me a promo copy.)

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