If you were wondering if TRIPTYKON’s debut album, “Eparistera Daimones,” plays like a giant, nihilistic horror movie, rest assured, it does. From the album’s foreboding opening credits, the monumentally crushing “Goetia,” to the even more devastatingly pounding end credits, the 19-minute long closer “The Prolonging,” the return of HELLHAMMER and CELTIC FROST frontman Tom Warrior heralds a full-length exercise in grueling Doom Metal that features more violent power chord head-trauma than a Scanners/Rocky spin-off.
Where CELTIC FROST’s “Monotheist” album left off, “Eparistera Daimones” takes by the throat and rips free. Sensed is the Gothic gloom, but omnipresent like rolling storm clouds and starving, barking wolves are the undeniably harsh Death and beating Doom, choking sunshine and hope in a blood and tear-stained gauntlet that is emphasized with a crusty bass and guitar tone of demonic, incestuous relation.
After the lengthy and punishing “Goetia,” the album’s anti-heroes and plot dynamics begin to take shape with “Abyss Within My Soul,” a disturbingly slow trek into haunted minds that doesn’t simply hammer home the tortured lyrics of a reanimated Lazarus, it pulverizes them into fine dust. “In Shrouds Decayed” presents a build in story arc as a painful increase of ringing guitar work transitions into anguished spoken word and then ultimately into total meltdown. A harrowing pain and a new backdrop are forged anew with “Shrine,” a nightmarish epiphany of sorts that then segues into the album’s thrashiest track, “A Thousand Lies.”
TRIPTYKON balance tempos magnificently over the course of this cold and barren wasteland. The album never careens ahead into Speed Metal territory because its bones are much too worn, its skin far too shredded, and its lungs, dry and to the point of exhaustion. But it trudges ahead, step by agonizing step, falling face first occasionally, yet only to arise with heightened bitterness and torment.
“Descendant” carries on the pleas of a man intent on dying but forced to live. Warrior’s voice is at its gravely best as he growls “Grant me eternal rest” while the always rudimentary Death/Doom aural bloodbath crunches and slams in hypnotic repetition; a familiar trait of “Eparistera Daimones,” songs drone evilly for many minutes, but hardly ever lose impact. One of the album’s rare solos, more distorted profanity than melodious string work, can be heard towards the very close of the song.
While not a bad song by any stretch of the imagination, “Myopic Empire” acts as the album’s disfiguring moment. Embarrassing and unconvincing, Warrior and V. Santura volley back-and-forth, bleating the chorus, “Pain … Myopic Empire.” A rare hiccup for such a huge and compelling work, this awkward stumble is only felt so strongly because of how seamless everything else fits. The following track, “My Pain,” is a somber lullaby that sounds utterly different from the broiling vehemence that hurricanes through the rest of the album. The apparitional voice of Simone Vollenweider adds a feminine and soft interlude in “Eparistera Daimones,” an initially questionable segment that grows and inevitably becomes the beauty to Warrior’s fictional beast, and the penultimate calm before the storm.
“The Prolonging” serves as the final unrelenting act and it delivers in razor sharp spades. Everything is let loose, everything comes full circle. You have the mid-tempo chugging power chords, the blasting Doom hammers, piously-spaced double bass kicks, ominous drum fills, the evil growling and monotone spoken word, and heaps of wanton, destructive riffs that never lose their angst. And just when you think the credits are to roll, and the curtain supposed to rise, your head is bashed inside itself when TRIPTYKON explode back into existence with a visual parallel that can only be described as one final, bone-crunching massacre.
Near the top of my album of the year list, “To my left, the demons,” is very close to muddy perfection. The insidious Doom, the brutally chugging riffs, the out-pouring of wickedness; it’s all too dark and too imposing to not miss or bang your head to. This is recommended to anyone prepared for a black marathon of room-clearing Metal.
Me(n)tal Note: The hyper-biomechanical orgy front cover is original artwork by (do I even need to tell you this?) H.R. Giger.
(Online February 17, 2011)