The Metal Examiner: Triptykon’s Shatter EP

Every Friday, The Metal Examiner delves metal’s endless depths to present the genre’s most important and exciting albums.

Triptykon: Shatter: Eparistera Daimones Accompanied (Prowling Death, licensed to Century Media, 10/25/2010)

Triptykon: “Shatter” Official Video

Tom Warrior’s creative output is both extensive and divergent. Since 1983, Warrior has released music as part of Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, and Apollyon Sun, and now his current project is Triptykon. If one takes inventory of the music created by this man over the last two-plus decades, one finds that none of his albums really sound all that much like any of the others. There are common threads and tendencies that tie everything together, but each release stands on an island of its own.

The Shatter EP, which consists of material from the same studio sessions as Triptykon’s debut LP Eparistera Daimones, showcases one of the heavier songs from that body of work as well as two of the more industrial-leaning tracks. It was the band’s intention to release both an LP and an EP from its initial recording session, so this is not just a collection of outtakes. Rather, in a recent interview, Warrior described “Shatter” as one of the most important songs in Triptykon’s library.

Triptykon largely continues on the path laid out by Celtic Frost’s 2006 LP Monotheist, which offers a much different creative vision than the extreme-punk and new-wave-of-British-heavy-metal hybrid sound of Hellhammer and earlier Celtic Frost. Although Warrior has always had a penchant for unbearably heavy riffs, they now dominate the songwriting. He has adopted a down-tuned, palm-muting technique that, though not meat-headed like Hatebreed, is consistently punishing. His songs are now built upon a crawling rhythmic framework and are layered with dissonant arpeggios and industrial influences.

This is a new approach to an established doom-metal songwriting tactic. Black Sabbath created atmosphere with fuzzy, slowed-down, corrupted-sounding blues riffs; Triptykon creates atmosphere with pummeling rhythms and eerie subtleties. This allows Warrior’s rhythmic intuition to flourish, and the second track, “I am the Twilight,” has to be one of the heaviest things to ever come from his mind. Interestingly, live versions of Celtic Frost classics are worthwhile additions to this EP, as these songs take on new meaning when heard with a more deliberate approach.

Though risky talking parts and melodic vocals are present on these songs, they, for the most part, fit seamlessly into the compositions, rather than disfiguring otherwise-worthwhile sonic ideas. The female vocal line on “Shatter” is quite catchy, and it has the capacity to end up floating through the listener’s brain for days.

This release is exciting, not just as a nod to Warrior’s past compositions, but also as proof that this man still has a vibrant creative energy and a capacity to create meaning that he is sharing with the world once again.

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