Crime Records

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Triptykon - Melana Chasmata Review

Band: Triptykon
Album: Melana Chasmata
Label: Prowling Death Records / Century Media
Country: Switzerland
Release Date: April 14th, 2014

Once again Tom G. Fischer has outdone himself. The second release from his project called Triptykon called "Melana Chasmata" blends Doom Metal, Death Metal, Gothic Metal, with smatterings of Thrash Metal. With all of these components at play, things could have easily gone awry if this was attempted by almost any other metal band. However, this isn't just any other band, this is another excellent project brought to us by the man who founded arguably two of the most well-known and influential extreme metal bands, Hellhammer and Celtic Frost.

With his latest band, Triptykon, Fischer takes elements that he created in his past projects and expands on them even more. Much like Celtic Frost, Fischer employs female backing vocals on the tracks "Boleskine House" and "Waiting" creating an interesting dynamic in these two slow paced and heavy songs. There is also a major Hellhammer and "To Mega Therion" era Celtic Frost death-thrash influence on the songs "Tree of Suffocating Souls" and "Breathing." The great thing about the latter tune is that the band was able to perfectly meld a slow and heavy doom / gothic opening and ending with a much faster main thrash arrangement. To mix such differing paces, and making them work, is damn near impossible. Somehow Fischer and his cohorts do it with the greatest of ease.
Having said all this, the album goes way beyond anything that Fischer has ever created in any of his past bands or albums. "Melana Chasmata" is something new and totally different that you have to dive into with your full attention. With the exception of "Tree of Suffocating Souls" and "Breathing", this is a slow paced death / doom, and gothic metal album. Many of the songs go far beyond the most downed tuned and sludgy songs that most of us have ever heard. You certainly need to go into this with an open mind. I for one am not a huge doom fan and when I began to hear just how slow the pacing was on these songs, I was concerned. However, I started to like the album after the first listen. If a band can sell me on a doom metal sound that quickly, they certainly have created something special. On the surface, many of the songs may remind you of Type O' Negative with more of a death metal drive to them. The album is so much more then that though. There are so many elements in every song that it would take you infinate listens to catch everything , especially the well placed and subtle aspects.
The front half of the album is certainly on the faster side with the two tracks I've mentioned above and the very heavy gothic and death / doom style tracks "Boleskine House" and "Altar of Deceit". The latter half of the album is where you really need to start expanding your mind. Things slow down immensely, almost to a crawl, on the songs "Aurorae" and "Demon Pact". Of the two, "Demon Pact" is the stronger offering with a slow bass arrangement courtesy of Vanja Slajh. "Aurorae" is good , but it is the album's only clean vocal track and it just lacks the substance that you will find on every other track.
"In The Sleep of Death" continues to slow the pace even more. Once again there are excellent atmospheric guitar licks from Fischer and V. Santura. The death metal vocals on the song are some of Fischer's best on the album. The clean verses sound a bit strained and whiny at times , but it doesn't matter because of all the songs strong elements over shadow this.
"Black Snow" is one of the best and most epic songs on the album. It clocks in at 12:25. This song is gothic metal through and through with the exception of Fischer's amazing death metal vocals through out the entire track. Because of it's length, this is a song you can really get lost in. The bridge section of "Black Snow" is chock full of all kinds of different sounds.
"Waiting" is the only song where Fischer and company truly lost me and it's unfortunate that it ended things. For the second time, the band uses female vocals with whispering from Fischer. To me the song came off way too slow. Yes Tom, you are good. We know you're good and you know you're good, but there are some things that even you can't make work, and this is one of them.
All in all, this is absolutely an original album. One of the biggest positives of the album is the writing and arrangements. Something that might get lost in all this is the drumming of Norman Lonhard. Yes it is tough to drum with lightening fast precision, but I would argue that being able to drum as slow and deliberate as Lonhard does is just as difficult. The length of the songs and of the entire album is just something you don't see that often anymore. The songs range in a little over 5 minutes to over 12 minutes. The whole album clocks in at a whopping 65 minutes and makes for one great musical odyssey. Those of you who "get" what Fischer is doing will love this album. Be prepared to totally immerse yourself in the music. If you are not willing to do that, this album will probably not be for you. What we get is a combination of Fischer's past musical strength's mixed with his penchant for always evolving his music. Triptykon's latest album is a goth / death / doom masterpiece, if that's what you're into. If you are someone who is willing to take risks in the type of metal you listen to, then don't miss this one.

1. Tree of Suffocating Souls
2. Boleskine House
3. Altar of Deceit
4. Breathing
5. Aurorae
6. Demon Pact
7. In the Sleep of Death
8. Black Snow
9. Waiting

Total Playing Time: 65:32


Your's truly, 
Robbie A. Brown \M/