Thursday 24 April 2014

Triptykon - Melana Chasmata (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 14/4/2014
Label : Century Media Records

Melana Chasmata, album track listing :

1). Tree of Suffocating Souls 07:55
2). Boleskine House 07:12
3). Altar of Deceit 07:06
4). Breathing 05:47
5). Auroræ 06:17
6). Demon Pact 06:06
7). In the Sleep of Death 08:10
8). Black Snow 12:25
9). Waiting 05:54

The Band :

Thomas Gabriel Fischer |vocals, guitar
V. Santura | guitar, vocals
Norman Lonhard |drums, percussion
Vanja Šlajh | bass, backing vocals

Review :

It’s been four years since Triptykon, led by the legendary Thomas Gabriel Fischer (Tom G Warrior), unleashed their debut album. The album was a return to form for Warrior, who had been much maligned for his experimentation and output since the more fruitful Celtic Frost releases.
As Melana Chasmata opens its doors, the styles and sounds of Fischer’s sound are evident in abundance.

Mirroring the sound of Eparistera Daimones, opener, ‘Tree of Suffocating Souls’ sets off at a rapid pace. Pounding and pulsating, it is glorious to hear ‘that’ guitar sound again. The real curve ball in the track comes in the form of the first solo. An almost eastern sounding guitar heightens the early interest. The tone of the guitar is reminiscent of the sounds utilised by the immortal Frank Zappa in the late 80’s. After a short burst of the more radical sound, a fiery few licks see the track settle back into its crushing, doom laden groove.

A gloomy bass and drum combo opens ‘Boleskin House’, before Warrior’s sullen and distinct vocal tones are beautifully complimented by the gothic-folk vocals of bassist Vanja Slajh. This dual vocal style is exploited more than once throughout the 65 minute duration of the album. ‘Altar of Deceit’s’ closing strains see Warrior’s vocal at its most rabid and vicious.

An early sampler for the album was put out in the form of ‘Breathing’. Different styles and ideas are employed for the duration of the track. There is the pounding death metal style that has made Warrior legendary, but there is a real sense of power in the shimmering riffs that are generated. Around the mid-point of the track, out of nowhere, the track descends into a power metal track. It’s this inventiveness and the ability that the band has to pull it off that makes Melana Chasmata a fantastic listen. The solo that is borne out of this section is furious and frenetic fret board work. Simply awesome!!

‘Aurorae’ offers a small portion of harmonic respite, although a great, and soaring solo finishes off a more serene moment amongst the album. Although ‘Aurorae’ feels more serene, it still has mitigating power. ‘Demon Pact’ conjures up all the imagery you would expect with such a song title. A menacingly high pitched noise is prevalent the whole time as the bass takes its place at the forefront of the track. The track is another high point amongst many peaks of greatness.

The reverberating thuds at around a minute and a half into ‘In the Sleep of Death’ is testament to the way that Melana Chasmata has been produced. It is with these skills, amongst the immense musical talent, that helps create the despairing and desperate mood. The vocal is extremely harsh; a few of the vocal passages would not have been out of place amongst Behemoth’s The Satanist. Drumming that sounds like a spiral down to hell is punctuated by high pitched guitar notes and a repetitive, pirouetting riff.

Penultimate track, ‘Black Snow’, is the longest track on Melana Chasmata. It clocks in at over twelve minutes and evokes the finer, lengthier tracks of Eparistera Daimones. Not for one second does the long duration veer from anything but exciting, and for sections, challenging. In particular, the shrill screaming that adorns the middle section of the track is wince inducing. Dense guitars begin the journey to the end of the track, with Fischer’s trademark, menacing vocals prowling like a jaguar waiting to kill. The repeated chants are akin to ‘The Prolonging’ from the bands debut opus.

A seamless move towards the final track is greeted with more tender vocals from Slajh. Her funeral march worthy bass is mournful for the first two minutes before the track bursts into life with Slajh’s vocals duelling once again with whispered, haunting vocals from Fischer. Repeated crashes of epic proportions break into more dreamy bass and ambience, before a cleanly picked guitar solo leads back to the repeated shoe gaze vocal motif, and devastating crashes. It’s an uneasy end to a fantastically crafted album.

Eparistera Daimones was a very long album, and as good as it was, it sometimes felt a track to long. Melana Chasmata has taken four years to come to fruition, and it feels as if Triptykon have trimmed the fat and refined the edges. Whilst also being a lengthy affair, Melana Chasmata holds your attention throughout, without a shadow of a doubt. 2014 has already produced some seriously good records. This is another one.

Words by : Dominic Walsh

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