on 17 April 2014
I am 46 years old and have been a fan of the mighty Frost since the time of the ‘Tragic Serenades’ EP. I am also one of those rare hybrids who were a fan of punk/ deathrock and gothic music as well as the emerging 80’s black metal scene. Basically any band with a horror/ vampire, occult theme I was into. Many of the early 80’s bands such as Bauhaus, the Banshees, Christian Death, 45 Grave, Misfits, Killing Joke and Alien Sex Fiend had a hard punky edge to their live sound and shows and were certainly not the dreary shoegazers hiding behind dry ice and 70s rock pretensions that many later 80’s Goth incarnations (especially those who followed in the steps of the Sisters of Mercy) became renowned for.
I only got to see the Frost once when they came to Scotland in 1989 on the infamous ‘Cold Lake’ tour. Everybody pans that album but the one song I liked off it was ‘Little Velvet’ which had a good riff. The gig at Edinburgh Playhouse was forgettable due to the poor new material, useless fanny of a guitarist Oliver Amberg and was even less fun due to the bouncers insisting you remain seated. It was a real disappointment for real fans like myself who especially loved the ‘Into the Pandemonium’ material and older stuff but didn’t get to see the band on the previous tour. However, the day before the gig, my girlfriend and I met the band in Glasgow at a record signing and spoke with Tom and Michelle. Although Michelle was very nice, it seemed like what happened to Celtic Frost was just like the scene out of Spinal Tap where the singer’s girlfriend got involved in the band. All Tom’s morbid HR Giger style was thrown out the window when his (ugly) new band were all dollied up by ‘stylist’ Michelle to be glamsters.
I had to wait a long time to see the real Celtic Frost again in Glasgow in 2006. The new band was great and the drummer had obviously spent the time practising to do Reed St Mark justice. My only criticism was that they played a few of the old numbers a bit slow in an attempt to be even more crunching and heavy. It was also good to see Martin Ain coming into his own as a performer and vocalist with his mad monk Rasputin persona and dress. It was such a shame this band split up.
Melana Chasmata follows on nicely from Triptykon’s debut album and is along the same lines both musically and stylistically. It is very dark and personal and an album that needs some serious listening as it affects you on several different levels at once. The packaging of the media book is immaculate and worth it just for the Giger art alone.
The opening song’s drum pattern and feedback guitar sounds so much like early 80’s Bauhaus. Then the riff comes in and it speeds up much like ‘Goethia’ from the debut Triptykon album. Tom’s singing definitely shows more confidence and is recorded higher in the mix than before and he shares vocals with V. Santura in some parts, giving the song an extra depth. This works well as it did when Martin took more of the vocals on ‘Monotheist’. Later in the song are some classic Tom G. Warrior rhythm guitar riffs but then some unexpected weird clean jazzy phrases that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Ozric Tentacles track. The ‘avant garde’ is certainly not forgotten in this mix.
The chorus of ‘Boleskine House’ works well with the female vocals and this section is similar to ‘Obscured’ on the first album, and adds a new dimension to the Frost sound. I like the gothic sound as you know.
‘Alter of Deceit’ has a strong, slow and morbid hookline and resembles early Celtic Frost material like ‘Dethroned Emperor’. The chorus then changes the feel of the song to the new ‘Triptykon’ sound and the song goes in a different direction.
I think Triptykon should definitely re-record some old Celtic Frost material while they are fresh to play. With the benefit of modern production, they would certainly make them sound awesome.
‘Breathing’ has a slow Black Sabbath type intro riff with layered feedback but then rages ahead at the verse. In the middle is a great mid paced section resembling ‘Inner Sanctum’ in nature that really gets the head banging and should be a good one live.
‘Aurorae’ starts with the drums, with the bassy guitars creeping in and then a clean guitar on top leading the track onwards. It reminds me of ‘The Rain Will Come Again’ by Rahowa and Tom’s ‘a spirit wasting away’ vocals are very much in the vein of Andrew Eldritch from the Sisters of Mercy.
‘Demon Pact’ starts experimentally with percussion and samples before building up power in the beat. It is in a style like ‘Synagoga Satana’ from Monotheist, but with more space and ambience between the heavy sections. There is a bit with flanged bass and drums where Tom’s semi spoken vocals are well morbid. He has really worked on his singing for this album.
‘In the Sleep of Death’ sounds like a more twisted ‘Seasons in the Abyss’ by Slayer before it quietens down to a clean guitar. This song about Emily Bronte then moves into an eerie section with high ghostly guitar notes and Tom’s ‘Mesmerised’ vocals.
‘Black Snow’ is the album’s longest track and has guest vocals from the industrial singer of Throbbing Gristle. Has a good death grunt in its slow heavy intro before getting crunchier in a ‘Monotheist’ style during the verse. It is mainly a slow epic.
‘Waiting’ is the catchiest song on the album due to its easier structure with fewer changes and also has the addition of female vocals. It has its ambient moments too.
Any Frost fan who appreciates that old Tom is still with us (and even more morbid than before) will like this album . It is mega heavy, morbid and avant garde with a few extra touches too. What more could you want from this evolved version of a classic band.
If you read this, Tom, don’t forget to come to Glasgow on your next tour!
on 14 April 2014
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.
on 7 September 2014
This is a truly amazing album! No one genre could define it, but it is HEAVY. An astounding culmination of Tom G. Warrior's sound that has grown over the last 30 years. Every listen unfolds a new nuance to the texture of these big doomy, dark soundscapes. My only slight complaint is the drum sound, which at times is too digitally modern for my tastes, but this does not distract from the majesty of this awe inspiring work. Everyone should check this out, & for anyone into extreme music it is a must have.
on 31 May 2014
Seriously, how more darker and heavier can Thom G Warrior go?! This album proves that Triptykon are the true successors to Celtic Frost! Riffs are grinding, vocals are immense, Tom's grunting approves the sheer brutality of the proceedings! The songs are relentless in every way! Highlights? Tree of Suffocating Souls, Altar of Deceit, Breathing! The limited edition version I have here has amazing H.R. Geiger paintings and fantastic notes on each song from Tom himself. I really can't wait to see Tryptykon live!!!! Ughhhhhhhhh!