Album of the Week 15-2014: Triptykon – Melana Chasmata

Celtic Frost’s swansong ‘Monotheist’ and Triptykon’s ‘Eparistera Daimones’ were simply works of art. Dark, bleak, twisted and ominous art, but art all the same. And as I loved that dark, doom-laden and unique approach, ‘Melana Chasmata’ was a work to look forward to. And as such, it didn’t disappoint. While Thomas Gabriel Fischer’s approach of the aforementioned album is maintained, he also stubbornly refuses to release the same album twice, as he always has done. This album is slightly more accessible due to the average tempo being slightly higher and the song structures being somewheat easier to follow. Still, background music for the faint of heart this is not.

Though there’s still plenty of slow, dirge-like material on ‘Melana Chasmata’, the atmosphere this time isn’t one of quiet, self-destructive introspection all the time. Some of the songs are quite melancholic in nature, while others are surprisingly aggressive. In fact, there are two fast and intense Thrashers this time around in the shape of the brilliant opening track ‘Tree Of Suffocating Souls’ and the blood boiling ‘Breathing’. The main riff of the latter still has the dissonance that we’ve grown used to from Thomas Gabriel Fischer and his fellow guitarist V. Santura, but the Thrashy aggression meets doomy darkness approach brings to mind Celtic Frost’s legendary ‘To Mega Therion’ album.

On the more melancholic side of the album, we have ‘Aurorae’, which builds upon a beautiful clean guitar with perfect delay, layers of harmonic feedback, a subdued and doomy riff and Fischer’s anguished moans. The way this song builds up its tension is far beyond what many alternative (post-)Rock bands who are attempting something similar can possibly wish for. The almost ambient epilogue of ‘Waiting’ contains one of Santura’s most tranquil and beautiful guitar solos thus far, while the semi-Industrial ‘Demon Pact’ displays a combination of darkness and despair unheard of since Bauhaus classic ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’. Emily Brontë tribute ‘In The Sleep Of Death’ contains some wonderful clean guitar coloring and the brilliant semi-clean main riff of ‘Boleskine House’ is a brilliant mislead, as it almost suggests a lighter, more positive song than it actually is. The dirge-like slow riffs of ‘Black Snow’ are closest to the debut.

When listening to the album repeatedly, it dawns on me more and more what a fantastic drummer Norman Lonhard is. His forceful, untriggered sound is already a revelation, but he is a master of using space. Many Metal drummers have a tendency to fill up every void with fills, while Lonhard lets it be and still manages to be incredibly tight. Bassist Vanja Šlajh has a bit more room in the mix this time and is a very powerful bassist.

Despite the slightly different direction taken here, those of you who liked ‘Eparistera Daimones’ are quite likely to get into ‘Melana Chasmata’ as well. It’s another dark and brilliant piece of art that everyone involved should be extremely proud of. And although the album is again very inaccessible, those of you who found the debut interesting, but slightly too hard to get into, you may want to give this album a chance. In the end, I can’t think of any reason why anyone into dark, atmospheric and expertly written Metal shouldn’t be able to appreciate this.

Recommended tracks: ‘Breathing’, ‘Tree Of Suffocating Souls’, ‘Aurorae’

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