Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones (2010) Album Review

Going on with reviewing a rather interesting record, this time, Tom Gabriel “Warrior” Fischer‘s new album since Celtic Frost was put to rest for good, Eparistera Daimones (which Tom Warrior says that in ancient Greek it means “to my left, the demons”). What makes this record so special? Let me tell you why, those that might’ve listened to Celtic Frost’s last record will surely know why. Monotheist for me was probably the cornerstone of Celtic Frost, it is like they were destined to release this album and to drown in glory with it and afterwards, disappearing in the fog for good. It is hard for me to label this album as black metal, unlike their first two records which completely defined a genre, but this does not mean that this record lacks the well known black metal traits. It’s just that we now have a more atmospheric record, a logic follow up to Monotheist, and probably a much more dynamic and consistent work than its predecessor.

When I heard that Celtic Frost disbanded after releasing such a brilliant record, I was left with a bitter taste inside my mouth, since I anticipated much better works from this legendary band. However, the release of this album proves that even without the name of Celtic Frost, good albums can still be made by having just one important piece in composition. For most of the time, I considered Tom G. Warrior to be the mastermind behind Celtic Frost. He founded Hellhammer, even though at that time, the band was the expression of their rebellious attitude towards society and towards the heavy metal scene. The birth of Celtic Frost actually marked the beginning of their artistic career, focusing more on the musical side rather than the rebellious one. Surprisingly though, the first two records that inspired countless black metal later comers did not go with the trend back then, they did not contain satanic lyrics and imagery, but they were definitely a combination between an yet unformed black metal sound, early death metal and classic thrash metal. Celtic Frost was a band that did not waver in just one musical genre, switching and experimenting from album to album, maybe this is the reason why they had to disband twice. However, internal conflict within the band proved to be the reason that made this titan of heavy metal, to sink into eternal slumber, while the legacy can still be admired.

Triptykon means for me something else, this marks the beginning of Tom G. Warrior’s most important period from an artistic point of view. Eparistera Daimones exceeds its predecessor entirely, even though many songs from this album sound similar to other songs from Monotheist, it has that something that makes it a lot more consistent and much more convincing. Probably the new line-up brought something new, or the new approach has finally started to bloom inside Fischer’s head, we may never know, but it definitely is something of huge proportion, menacing most of the records released in 2010 with it’s avant-garde elegance and its new approach of black/doom/Gothic metal.

What could be seen in Monotheist, is much more obvious and much better done in Eparistera Daimones, drumming that does not put the other instruments in the shadow, bass lines that flow with the atmosphere, guitar passages that define the atmospheric side of this album and of course, the never changing voice on Tom G. Warrior, combining whispers, deep growls with mad snarls and modern screams.

All the songs sound absolutely staggering in this record, but there are a few that managed to attract the audience with some specific traits. For such an album, I could not have though that the introduction is so poor, Goetia was a sort of disappointment, not because it is not good, but it is monotonous and much longer than you could stand. Abyss Within My Soul would’ve been the perfect choice for an introductory song, much better than the boredom felt while listening for 11 whole fucking minutes to Goetia. Shrine stands as a prologue for probably the most surprising and the best track of this album, In Shrouds Decayed. Artistically speaking, it’s very similar with the song Ground from Monotheist but slightly faster than the one already mentioned, making it a lot more pleasant for the listener and offers much more energy. I admired Franco Sesa from Celtic Frost for his drumming even though, from what Fischer said, his personality was rotten, his drumming was first class, even receiving some honorable appreciations from his fellow band mates when Celtic Frost reunited for the first time in 7 years. However, Norman Lonhard proves that there are equally good drummers if not, much better. His drumming in this song is absolutely fabulous, like in the other tracks of this album. This song also features guitar drones.

Myopic Empire is another song that attracted my attention while listening it. It is probably the song that harmonizes the best all the main and secondary instruments in this album. The lead guitar work at the beginning is top class and the loss of intensity in the second half allowing a splendid piano work, this is something amazing, something that a musician should feel proud of after listening the fresh product right after completion.My Pain the track that follows after Myopic Empire proves that even on slower paced songs, the band can do a great job. Here we have a duo between Fischer and Simone Vollenweider, the same person that performed female vocals on Celtic Frost’s Monotheist, in songs such as Obscured and Incantation Against.

The Prolonging, the last track of this album, and the longest one, spawning near 20 minutes is the perfect song to close a masterpiece of an album, however, the length of this song might’ve revealed some of the bands own weaknesses. I admire Tom G. Warrior, but I cannot overlook the fact that he is getting older, a thing that could be felt in his vocal performance on this song. He did well in most of his lines, but near the end, it could be felt that he got tired, his vocals wavering a little bit. Another thing that I forgot to mention is that Fischer when writing lyrics follows a certain pattern. I don’t know why he uses it for almost every song, however, the overall quality of this CD should’ve brought a new lyrical approach as well.

All in all, with good points and faults, Eparistera Daimones is a fucking great album, a feast for the ears and an elegant approach towards genres such as black metal and doom metal. The fans that were driven mad by the quality and awesomeness present in Monotheist will be even more delighted after hearing this new record. Even though Triptykon is a new name on the metal scene, with Tom G. Warrior on board, they could become quickly an important name. Celtic Frost might’ve been the band in which Fischer manifested his creativity the most, however, what is dead should remain dead, and a new beginning should be made, in order to produce better quality albums. To make it short, if you want to listen to a 2010 metal record, look no further, Eparistera Daimones is the right choice.

Overall Impression: 98/100

Symphonian – Incarnation Of Reality (2011) Album Review

And here I am reviewing a new comer in the metal realm, this time we have a special band from Ukraine called Symphonian, which was created in 2008 but released their first full length album only in 2011. So, what can we hear in Symphonian’s music? A combination between Gothic metal and old school Death/Doom metal specific in the first records released by bands such as Anathema or Shape of Despair. However, I prefer to integrate these guys in the Gothic Doom Metal section alongside another important name of this genre, Draconian.

In fact, Symphonian’s music is very similar with Draconian’s one, the same atmospheric sound is present in their record and the lyrical themes are similar as well. What makes them so special is the duo between Slava Kuz, the one responsible for the harsh vocals featured in this song, and the angelic yet sorrowful voice made by Lana Sokolova. In terms of voice duo, they are really close with Draconian, probably the only exception is the fact that Lana tends have a higher pitched voice compared to Lisa Johansson (Draconian) while Slava Kuz’s voice is like a rip-off of Anders‘s voice.

With this album, Symphonian managed to get a hold of an important contract with a record house mainly known for their works with many doom metal names, for example Astor Voltaires or Dreams After Death. The tonality of this album is very low, massive weight and expresses feelings and emotions, being both passionate and depressive at the same time. Regarding the lyrical content, unlike Draconian, their lyrics are not entirely focused on rhyme but I would rather categorize them as free lyrics. This album manages to create that superb atmosphere specific for any death/doom metal band because we have a female voice in it, it can be included in the “Beauty and the Beast” concept which was first introduced by Theatre of Tragedy back in the old Aegis days with Liv Kristine as their front woman and by The Gathering with Anneke van Giersbergen.

You can witness the usage of other instruments specific for symphonic metal bands such as violin even organ also synth and programming are used in this album. For a band such as Symphonian which is only at the beginning of their career, I believe that this album, if it will manage to get a fan-base, might be the start of a successful career. I said in another review, usually the first album for a band might not be that great since it usually signifies the fact that the band has not reached their musical maturity yet, still searching for an unique style that could define them. However, by listening this album I gather that the style that best fits them has long been found and not only that, they even managed to pull out something incredible, something that I was stunned. After hearing, A Rose For The Apocalypse from Draconian released in the summer of the same year, I had doubts that another band could release a better record in this genre, especially because Draconian for a long time did not have any rival in this genre. Who would’ve though that a new-comer could match them in creativity and artistic quality with only their debut album. Think about it, we speak about a band that has only been active for 3 almost 4 years and Draconian has a history of over 15 years of existence. Nevertheless, if I were to find an album that would best define Symphonian’s debut, it could be Where Lovers Mourn Draconian’s debut album and I could find some traits similar with the avant-garde elegance present in Celtic Frost’s masterpiece, Monotheist, released back in 2006 (check out especially songs such as Obscured or Drown in Ashes, where there is a duo between male and female vocals).

The album begins with a sombre song called Forbidden which firstly introduces us the gentle voice of Lana. As an introduction, this song might appeal but it is rather boring and monotonous, definitely not the song I wanted from Symphonian when I started listening this album. However, the fun starts with the next track entitled Betrayal, where the duo between Slava Kuz and Lana Sokolova shines the best, it feels like the voices of these two singers flow with the instrumental, it’s absolutely stunning. In this song you could hear the usage of synths and programming. Two other songs that put this album into the spotlight are the 3rd track, Last Words and the 4th track Path of a Soul, absolutely amazing death/doom creations. Silver Streams and Withered continue this majestic album which ends with the 7th track Depressed (Lithiated).

All in all, if you were disappointed by Draconian’s newest record, then Symphonian’s debut might have a surprise or two for you. For old school death/doom metal fans, this album is an obligatory lesson, especially for those that are infatuated with Anathema’s and The Gathering’s older works. In any case, give them a chance, even though they are new-comers, they have the skills and the creativity which rivals with a fully matured band. After hearing this album, I am dead curious how their second work will be and if my guess is correct, it might mark the beginning of a great band. Probably the only thing they need to improve the production quality, which was not that bad in this album but there is definitely room for improvement.

Overall Impression: 95/100