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TRIPTYKON „Melana Chasmata“, Century Media 2014: summoning all backup

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Triptykon - Melana Chasmata

Triptykon – Melana Chasmata

„Constructor of my worlds… guide me, I am the open wound“, had Fischer pleaded in the opening to the impressive Eparistera Daimones (2010). Question with the second album by Triptykon is, have all the demons of Goetia obliged this time, too?

The brief answer is, no. The impression is that of inclination to constructive fabrication, rather than susceptibility to the inspiration needed to penetrate a record, thus making it whole: inspiration of course not external, but equaling authentic creative impulse.

Melana Chasmata leaves us uncertain about precisely that conviction. It is eclectic and sketchy, although these qualities might prove colourful to the artistic taste of some. Celtic Frost in their earlier efforts exhibited such an approach, characterized by their proponents as diversity and experimentation. To those who hold Monotheist in higher regard, and justly see Eparistera Daimones as its continuation, Melana Chasmata might come as a disappointment due to its lack of solidity.

The massive wall of sound ran through tracks such as Ain Elohim, and subsequently Goetia.

The opening song to Melana Chasmata makes a similar (if not the same) promise, referring verbatim to Goetia.

While Eparistera maintained the high level of expectation with compositions such as Descendant and In Shrouds Decayed, Melana Chasmata falls very short of both that energy and originality.

Boleskine House rings along the notes of 2010’s Shatter, but while the latter was haunting in its simple melody, the second track to Melana Chasmata digresses to painful metal cliche(s). In a similar pattern, the next one – Altar of Deceit – resembles ED’s Abyss Within My Soul, evolving however to be tedious and watered-out, rather than compact and enthralling.

Melana Chasmata is a genre-mix altogether, and as such it is a disappointment, given we expect from a seasoned artist to have overcome his influences into a unique emphatic signature.

Of course, that signature is clear enough through the distorted guitar and equally rich vocal. These don’t fail to induce the hauntingly seductive atmosphere we unmistakably know from Fischer. However, leaning on these pillars, he also gives an impression that it’s atmosphere he had been after, without the conceptual musical elaboration to ground it. There’s far more sketch and ornament to the record, than structure. It almost feels as if its solid, overwhelming „brutal“ tone should have given way to the purely fickle „a collection of moods“ content. Is Tom Gabriel a pillar or a whim, we ought to ask ourselves. (To the defense of the „moody approach“ in what is widely seen as black-metal-derivative style, we cannot omit the argument it lies on solely mood and atmosphere.)

There are quite a few clean „classic heavy-metal“ guitar solos, which kick the listener right off the avant-garde and into tradition. There is also poignant guitar in Aurorae which is touching, but the song itself leaves me questioning why would extreme bands (see also recent Satyricon) regress to influences like these of „dark-wave“. The sound is nothing new, translating to nostalgia for the „goth“ 80s. Some of these artists have moved on brilliantly… and a brilliant song such as Gary Numan’s relatively-new Jagged rings too clear through Melana Chasmata’s Demon Pact.

Waiting for the record to pick up, we’re nearing its end. There’s the unlistenably weird Fischer’s vocal on In the Sleep Of Death (coupled with Santura’s consistently uninspiring harsh vocals), making the song a challenge to even the most amorous Fischer fanatics. Finally, there’s the Prolonging of this record: the lengthy Black Snow. It is a satisfying wrap-up in its unsentimental droning: I’d have stripped the record to Tree Of Suffocated Souls – Black Snow. The outro Waiting extends the slumbering comfort, in the vein of My Pain („fall asleep in my arms, never to wake up again“).

Most of the tracks here give the impression primarily of length. The aftertaste is that of sadness, romance and dead-end nostalgia.  It’s a lingering record: one without goal in that a goal is not sought. Sadly, it’s a lifeless offering compared to its predecessor – confirmed by a recent Fischer’s statement: „It’s high time death claims me“. Without creativity arising from the chasm of hopelessness, regrettably the entire sum of heavy-metal-and-dark-rock arsenal of riff/phrase/sentiment comes to no use. Without spark, each song separately, and the album as a whole, come to a standstill.

I hear the album begging for sympathy through its failures, and therefore I give it at least 5 out of 10: with the warning that this is how prolonging, denial, waiting, and hostility predetermine one’s art-equaling-life in the faltering between erotic and thanatic. Moreover, auto-eroticism can result in self-plagiarism.

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
10. Waiting

TRIPTYKON:
Tom Gabriel Warrior  – voice, guitars
V. Santura – guitar, vocals
Vanja Slajh – bass, vocals
Norman Lonhard – drums, percussion

Beyond The Black (5/10)


4 коментара

  1. Faust каза:

    Thanks for this review, I very much agree with it. Seeing other reviews I was starting to think that im the only one thinking this album is a disappointment and indeed never actually pick up. I guess it’s just that it’s hard to find any objectivity when it comes to Triptykon and Tom Gabriel Fischer.

    Харесвам

  2. Wild каза:

    Very perceptive review.

    The hole that engulfs this album is that it’s split between financial interests and somewhat-competent artistic ones (manifested by the darkwave influences). Looking at the credits and Warrior’s history, it’s probable that he contributed the latter himself.

    Which is interesting, as he posted to the Triptykon forum that he was divided with his bandmates over the quality of the album.

    Remember that their first album was almost entirely conceived by him and a picture starts to form.

    Харесвам

    • BeyondTheBlack каза:

      Thank you!

      I’m not too sure to what disagreements with the band-members you refer. In the screed on his forum, Fischer has „bitten“ to the criticism rarely seen there (and he doesn’t fail to finish with envenomed remarks). He basically emphasizes how „difficult“ it was to make this album, and how everyone around was warned it was „deficient“. This is strange, since, in numerous other statements, he had pointed he was taking his time, since he’d never just produce any record – it had to be near-perfect. Here however, we have Fischer claiming he’s producing and releasing a record against his better judgment.
      To me at least, that’s obvious – like I’ve stated in the review, I fail to see the very motive for it. (There’s another curious thing: despite the lack of ambition behind the whole product, we have Fischer, in another post on the same forum, saying he’d aim for perfection extending to even „a more ambitious pendant“ accompanying the release…)

      There is indeed one motive: namely, to repeat the success of the first Triptykon album. Post- Celtic Frost, Fischer had aimed to prove he had been the sole force behind the dissolved band; and yes, Eparistera was a good album. I recall interviews where he says he „knows how the second album must sound“ (presumably to replicate the successful formula), but doesn’t „know how to get there yet“.
      So, with such creative pattern, we get the very obvious result: a record which repeats the first one verbatim.

      Of course, there are more „darkwave“ diversions; but I’m not sure I understand your point of them being „somewhat-competent artistic decisions“. We all have heard too much of the Sisters Of Mercy (and the other bands he mentions), we’re too familiar with that sound, in order for it to pass as „influence“ rather than a very obvious (and tedious) quote. Even the industrial track which sounds more modern, bears a striking resemblance to innovative Gary Numan.

      If he felt uninspired, I feel he should have delegated a larger part of the work to Santura. Strangely enough, there are not even two compositions by him here (as far as I’m aware). I was really looking forward to more varied input like Descendant and In Shrouds Decayed.
      Someone suggests on another forum that Fischer always tried to cater for the taste of the audience. I wonder what he assumed their taste must be right now – a strange mix of My Dying Bride and Max Cavalera, perhaps…

      Харесвам

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Diablery, Shadowcraft, Occultum, and Belgarath live in Sofia

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