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'Melana Chasmata'
(Century Media)

scott adams

dio this is your life

I once sat down and had a drink with (the then) Tom G Warrior in a pub in London's West End. All through the encounter I was wanting to ask him – rather childishly, in retrospect: "are you morbid?"

But ten minutes in the man's company gives you all the clues you need to answer this 'funny' question – the man genuinely is misery, and the despondency portrayed on Triptykon's second album, 'Melana Chasmata', is so vast in its scope and deep in its emotional integrity - and so crushingly, incontrovertibly real - you'll need a dose of the happy pills after listening to the record to maintain some sort of equilibrium.

Or not, as the case may be. (the now) Thomas Gabriel Fischer's misanthropic world view has always appealed to those who see the black in everything, and so maybe this, soul crushing, unlit, doom laden album can't fail to hit the mark with the man's accolytes. And whilst MC is Triptykon's second album, you can draw a direct line through first album 'Eparistera Daimones' to Fischer's last band, Celtic Frost, whose swansong album, the titanic 'Monotheist' actually seems to slot into a nice third place in a triumvirate of twenty first century Fischer output.

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All of which means, of course, that you know exactly what you'll be getting wih 'Melana Chasmata'; that it never for one second disappoints or sounds stale is a testament to the skill of Fischer and the group of musicians he has gathered around him for this project.

The first four songs featured here – 'Tree Suffocating Souls', 'Boleskin House', 'Altar Of Deceit' and 'Breathing' will crush the very light from your soul if you allow them to. There's no let up as Fischer's bleak, tortured worldview floods into your earspace like a tsunami of despair.

Although the pace is varied over this quartet of tracks, the overall impression is of uniform desolation, so that whether the band is moving like a fully-armoured destrier across the sands of the holy land or creeping stealthily like a nefarious night-demon hell bent on possessing your very essence, the end-result is the same – and as a listener you have no option but to surrender to the black.

The first hint of respite comes with the gothy Aurorae, where Fischer relents (for about four minutes at least) for a while and allows a bit of light into the mix; however this is short lived as he and guitar cohort V. Santura go to work with (you guessed it) devastating efficiency in the track's latter part. Fischer's reptilian croon on this track (he almost out-Eldritches Andrew Eldritch!) is a real highlight of the whole album.

Penultimate track 'Demon Pact' really does sound like it's title; It's hard to explain just how hellish this album sounds (in a good way, natch, but still mighty uncomfortable) without repeating oneself, but if you're still in any doubt at this point as to the efficacy of Fischer's work on 'Melana Chasmata', closing piece 'In the Sleep Of Death' pauses, takes aim and then delivers a hobnailed size nine right to the solar plexus to deliver the final, merciful coup de grace to your quivering, sobbing sensibilities.

Bleak, horrific, spine chilling yet ultimately uplifting and triumphant, 'Melana Chasmata' is the sound of a man finally seemingly approaching the fulfilment of promise that has frustratingly eluded him for a quarter of a century. It's breathtaking stuff to listen to, but the promise – possibly – of culmination with the next Tryptikon release is even more exciting. A truly majestic release.

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