"Melana Chasmata"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Misery, thy name is Triptykon and thy muse is Thomas Warrior. There are slower and technically more depressing bands than Triptykon, but I doubt if any of them have the pure concentrated gloom of "Melana Chasmata". This is the all-important followup to the debut "Eparistera Daimones" and is even more morose and suicidal. Hearing this, it's no wonder that Tom was flirting with the idea of ending himself during the creative process.

It continues in the vein of "Eparistera Daimones" but is more Gothic and restrained. I was expecting this because Tom is not the kind of guy to write music merely for headbanging or fist-pumping value. The album starts extremely strong but frankly by the end, I was worn out by plodding, meandering tracks. You'd have to be in a very dark mindset to listen through this all the way through without losing some focus. The initial track "Tree of Suffocating Souls" is tremendous and emphasizes all the things that Tryptikon and Celtic Frost are best at. It's an orgy of oozing, thick power riffs that twist and turn, switching from full blast to super doomy. The riff quality is awesome and the song strikes like an atomic warhead. But it's really the best on show.

"Boleskine" (named after Crowley's castle on the shores of Loch Ness) is slower and builds from a misty origin to a crushing, dark expanse. Man, the bass sound of Vanya Slajh is INFRASONIC...this beast can crumble foundations. It adds to the heaviness of every track. "Altar of Deceit" is more volcanic, mid-paced riffing with absolutely hateful vocals from Tom...age hasn't dulled the edge of his voice at all. "Breathing" is the fastest cut on the album, lunging forth in almost "Usurper" fashion...good stuff! In contrast, follow up "Aurorae" is almost ballad-like and very ethereal. Guitarist V. Santura shines, exhibiting a lot of tones and styles over the course of the album.

After "Aurorae", though, things just kind of come to a halt. "Devil's Pact" seems a half-hearted rehash of what's gone before and is not memorable. "In the Sleep of Death" and "Black Snow" are both as cheerful as they sound, emphasizing the doom and bringing out a lot of the more Gothic mumble in Tom's voice. Followers of Type O Negative or even Bauhaus will dig it, but I like the angry vocals more. The songs have their moments but just seem to drag. Final cut "Waiting" has those precious, crystalline female vocals that Tom has always liked to add and some almost bluesy soloing from Santura. It's a moody endpiece but not the cataclysmic conclusion one expects.

A mixed bag here. I can't say I like it as much as "Eparistera Daimones" but the strong moments are titanic and certainly Triptykon has kept to its vision.