Triptykon – Melana Chasmata

by Jon Wild
April 21, 2014 –

triptykon-melana_chasmata

Back in 1990, Celtic Frost released Vanity/Nemesis. This album was tasked with redeeming the fans’ respect after the affair that was Cold Lake . Straddling the gap that existed between that album and the style of inventive proto-death metal that had made Celtic Frost worth hearing, Vanity/Nemesis was a rather mediocre album. It was reasonably competent and it attempted to blend in with its contemporary milieu, but the album was artificial and uncomfortable to listen to.

In many ways, Melana Chasmata is the linear descendant of that album. First, this is an album with an astute grasp on the market it is attempting to exploit: like Triptykon’s debut, production is crystal-clear, uniform, and decidedly modern. Tom Warrior’s vocals have continued their changing form begun on Monotheist and now share the monotonous, ranting tone more in common with nu-speed metal bands such as Pantera. Riffs, as well, have “progressed” in a similar fashion. Although Eparistera Daimones‘ riffs were minimal, single string sequences, some intriguing melodies arose. For the most part, these are missing on Melana Chasmata, at least on the traditional metal tracks.

Where this album genuinely attempts an artistic statement is during attempts to merge noir-electronic music with the aesthetics of metal instrumentation as was introduced on Warrior’s last two albums. These tracks are worthwhile in that melodies are allowed to develop in a subtle, restrained manner before the climax of the tracks strike, in contrast to the uniform faux-aggression of the rest of the album. Greater tonal variation as evidenced by clean vocals, mildly pentatonic clean guitar sequences, and melodies confirm Warrior’s avowed interest in artists such as Gary Numan. (For a similar, contemporary album in spirit, one might point to the comeback album from Amebix , which also attempted to merge post-90s metal with popular, but slightly “outside” music). These tracks, while superior to the other fare, ultimately lack in the same core way as the others: there is no great resolution, or purpose inherent in them.

For those who hoped that Eparistera Daimones would be but a stepping-stone back to a more traditional Celtic Frost type of composition, they will be disappointed. If death/black metal is one’s primary interest, Melana Chasmata will almost undoubtedly not be worth listening to. However, for those who will admit to being Warrior fanboys (such as the author) or those who are interested in the other aspects of music on this album, it may be worth investigating, if only for curiosity.

Tags: , , , ,

5 comments

  • Even More Bitter Man

    Tom Fischer has been too influenced by what’s “popular” since Into the Pandemonium. First he tried being Megadeth, then he tried to be Fields of the Nephilim, and now he’s trying to be Pantera with a side of Dead Can Dance. Just be Hellhammer again.

    1. Tara

      Since Into The Pandemonium? He’s always been “influenced by” (understand, nicking) something. Paul Di’anno, Motorhead initially, then you name it. I don’t see what the whole widely-advertised Celtic Frost “innovation” consists in. The thing is a hoax.

      “Pantera with a side of Dead Can Dance” is completely ridiculous, though.

  • hiarctow

    Disappointing. Really about as heavy as a Nickelback album at times.

    Regardless of whatever else he ever does, Fischer will always be a metal legend. But he seems as though hes always trying to pre-empt what people ‘want’ to hear, and so time and again stumbles over himself trying to incorporate whatever is popular (into the pandemonium, cold lake, apollyon sun…).

  • Nito

    This album is receiving a lot of praise due to blind fanboy-ism. This album was completely forgotten as soon as it ended.