Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones (Prowling Death Records Ltd.) Keith Boyd 4.14.10
Heavy Metal, particularly in its more intense iterations, is usually a love it/hate it proposition. While a wide range of folks might enjoy the mildly rocking qualities of Motley Crue or Whitesnake there is a much more selective audience for artists such as Bathory, Gorgoroth or Burzum. Black Metal in particular seems to draw the ire of just about everyone. Everyone that is, except for it’s die-heartedly devoted fan base. I guess I get it. The black clothing, spikes and “corspe-paint” combine with questionable politics, extreme negativity and a blasted sonic goo that places a higher vlaue on smeary atmosphere than on melody. While I can understand folks not taking this music to their heart, I don’t understand an out and outright rejection. It’s not as if you have to put a playlist on your iPod, join a fan club and start using Dark Throne as the lullaby soundtrack for your kids! Being open to a broad palette of music is just one more way to maintain an open mind and life. And who knows? You might just find that you sort of like the sound of blackened, mountain crushing noise!
All that being said there is a FANTASTIC new extreme Metal release from former Celtic Frost main-man Thomas Gabriel Fischer’s new band Triptykon. “Eparistera Daimones” is an emotionally charged, doom-laden masterpiece that is relentless, overwhelming and utterly satisfying.
Although this is a new band with all new players it owes much to the sonic fingerprint of the last Celtic Frost release, “Monotheist” (2006). It has a lot of that albums contemporary edge, slight nods to accessibilty and giantly crunching guitars. Overall though it is more aggressive, heavier and darker. Tracks such as “Abyss Within My Soul”, “A Thousand Lies” and “Ain Elohim” are massive and throb with a violent undercurrent placing them somewhere between Doom, Black and Death Metal. The playing is never less than technically brilliant and the recording renders each thrust of this sound in high definition. The best cut however is the 20 minute opus, “The Prolonging”. This appropriately titled world-ender is a sonic mountain range of thudding power which is actually on the scary side. On this as on many of the tracks, Fischer’s voice is simply fearsome. He growls, shouts, shrieks sounds and lyrics that leave the impression of time, space and matter being torn apart.
Special mention must be made about the album’s artwork. In an exceptionally rare gesture, H.R. Giger (perhaps best known for his design and artwork on the “Alien” movies) granted Triptykon the use of his dramatic painting "Vlad Tepes". It is the artist's first authorized appearance on an album cover in 17 years, and the second time he has collaborated with Fischer (the first being Celtic Frost's "To Mega Therion" album in 1985). Additionally, New York based surrealist Vincent Castiglia contributed "Triptykon", a specially created portrait of the members of the group, painted in mix of the artist's own blood and iron oxide. It’s rare that this level of attention is given to matters such as packaging in these digital download days but this is a case where the “book” and the “cover” meet in an incredibly powerful outcome.