Triptykon – Melana Chasmata

A picture can often be worth a thousand words and you only have to look a picture of Tom G. Warrior (I know his real name, but to me, Tom G. Warrior is more real than any birth name). You can see his life experience etched into his face, those intense eyes burning out from it, framed by that white hair. A man not afraid to gaze into the abyss and report back what he’s seen there… He’s seen too much, but what has not killed him certainly has made him stronger.

The darkness and horror that Tom writes of is that of human condition. It is not the false horror of comedy bands like Slipknot and their worthless ilk, it is the horror of a true reading of so-called humanity (surely an oxymoron if ever there was one). A definition of insanity may be that an individual is not seeing life in a distorted fashion but rather, all too clearly.

First Hellhammer and then Celtic Frost changed the face of metal forever (though far too few bands have taken the ball and run with it. Metal to so many consists of bullshit like Avenged Sevenfold and their ‘real estate deals’ or Metallica and their ‘performance coach’ (who, on the strength of their post-Some Kind of Monster output, really doesn’t deserve that title). There is no real estate in Hell.

And Hell, in a very real sense, a very realistic sense, is where Triptykon are coming from. (I wonder why Tom never continued Celtic Frost with a new drummer, surely allowing one member to derail the band makes no sense?)

Nevertheless, this is a worthy successor to what has come before. There is no doubt that this is a proper band in every respect of the word. Tom’s vocals are extremely good and the production is just as it should be. Tom occasionally shares vocals with V Santura, which works very well and probably adds to the live dynamic.

To pick some highlights:

“Tree of Suffering Souls” has an avant-garde feel for the 21st century, but that ‘death grunt’ and Frost-like acceleration lets us know just what we’re dealing with, and we’re always dealing with a songwriter. Those spoken vocals are particularly effective as, of course, are the death grunts. That’s one very errie-Eastern influenced guitar solo; this is metal as it should be.

“Altar of Deceit” reminds me of the Frost’s “Dethrone Emperor,” which is just grand by me as it’s one of my all-time favourite songs.

“Breathing” shows the changes of pace that really make metal work for me.

“Aurorae” has a very gothic vibe to it, something like The Sisters of Mercy. (Readers may be interested to know that back in the 90s Celtic Frost recorded a substantial amount of material for an album that was never released. One of the tracks recorded was a cover of The Sisters of Mercy’s “This Corrosion” – I don’t know about you, but I’d love to hear those songs. Another lost album I’d like to hear is Blind Illusion’s The Medicine Show).

“Waiting” with its additional female vocals is excellent. The personal highlight is “Boleskein House” (this was one of poet, magus and philosopher Aleister Crowley’s homes, and once belonged to Jimmy Page. Crowley’s central idea ‘Do What Thou Wilt’ is not a licence to debauchery, quite the opposite, it is a call for personal responsibility, to find your true talent and develop it to the utmost. It is no surprise that Tom would be inspired by Crowley, a man whose work is well worth studying).

Mention too must be made of the superb H.R. Giger artwork that adorns this album. Giger’s death was a great loss to the world and my sympathies to Tom at the loss of his great friend.

To sum up, an outstanding album in any genre. Indeed, it can be said that Tom G. Warrior is a prophet and this album should gain him the honour due in any land.

Steve Earles

Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (http://toendallwarscomic.wordpress.com/writers/).