It has been four years since Eparistera Daimones (which is actually their début album) and in that time the band have grown a lot. I'm not exactly sure if I can make any comparison to the album I mentioned above as this is my first experience of Triptykon, so therefore I'm going to try and be detailed about this as much as I can. As we all know, Triptykon arose in 2008 after Tom G Warrior left his then current band, the famous Celtic Frost, and announced his new project. Melana Chasmata is their second full-length album, and it is one beast.
I was introduced to this band a little while ago. I had known of Celtic Frost due to their huge influence on many of the Swedish bands I listen to, namely cited as an influence by Opeth in their early days. This album is definitely as close to Celtic Frost just with a different name on the front, and the songs here truly represent a 'masterpiece' - I'm not using that word in a light context, either.
The first track "Tree of Suffocating Souls" is a perfect opener: no long intro, just getting down straight down to business. It's faster than what you'd expect from anything from a former member of Celtic Frost to write, but half the album features some quintessential doom riffs that will be stuck in your head.
The female vocalist makes an interesting appearance (don't have the liner notes in front of me...yet) here and there throughout this album, providing a good contrast against Tom's gruff vocals. Tradintionally, many bands have that 'second album syndrome' and then some bands do not. Considering that this band is not exactly new and has established themselves well with their début and releases between, I feel that Melana Chasmata is going to be one of the best albums of 2014. I do not say this, again, in a light context.
With these types of albums having - what I call - landscapes of music, veering on the edge of being progressive but essentially remaining doom metal, I tend to look at them as more than just nine songs put in a sequence to make up an album, looking at them as one entire piece of music. In saying that, there are other notable tracks on this on this album: the second track "Boleskine House" which features the female vocalist mentioned earlier; the fifth track "Aurorae"; the sixth track "Demon Pact"; the epic twelve-minute eighth track "Black Snow," which is definitely the best song on the album with it's repetitive end. These are the tracks I'm picking out, but honestly the album is just amazing.
I'm going to try and go into a little detail about the album's music (you've waited until this moment right?): "Boleskine House" starts off a little slowly at first - strummed guitar chords - but when everything picks and those female vocals enter, it's one of those tracks you need to listen to with the lights turned off. "Altar of Deceit" is one of the heavier and doomier numbers on this album, again starting with a few picked guitar chords with a slow and brooding intro (with the drums entering), but when the bass line hits...oh my! Heaviness for everyone, as they say...somewhere.
"Aurorae" I would say it's one of the mellower numbers on this album and the vocals of Tom only come in towards the end, so yeah it's pretty mellow. "Demon Pact" starts off with drums and some noises in the background slowly building to a fruition. Again it's a doomy number, Tom's vocals acting like a cadence as they lull you into a trance. "In the Sleep of Death" is, again, a doomy number where Tom repeats the same vocal line over and over so it comes to sound like a mantra.
"Black Snow," the huge twelve-minute epic, is again one of the heavier songs on the album. There are plenty of guitar riffs on here to sink your teeth into, and whilst it doesn't feel like twelve minutes of music, I feel that's the genius of Triptykon's writing. "Waiting," the closing track, is where the female vocalist makes another appearance and again this a pretty mellow song which closes out the album perfectly, leaves you wanting more.
There is an amazing amount of variety to this album in what I hope is a sufficient explanation above. From big and bold riffs to quiet passages, with some quiet spoken-word passages in-between, this album has everything in it; when I first sat down to listen to it, I was blown away really. I had glimpsed over it before without pay much attention, and really was I hoping for too much? When I it finally 'hit' me, and I mean in a big way as I sat through two listens of the album, it turned out to be a stunning/mesmerizing/mind-blowing album. (Delete as appropriate).
Overall: Melana Chasmata is a stunning album. There is so much depth to this album, it feels like you're slowly sinking into an abyss as you listen, only to pop your head up for a few brief seconds after it finishes, only to plunge down into it again when you repeat it. Melana Chasmata is an album I could listen to for days, and with knowing who is this band exactly are it helps to understand why the album sounds like it does. Although it's going to change a few times before the end of the year, I will strongly say that this album is going to be right up there, fighting for the number one spot, and for now it sits at number one, and rightfully deserved.