Sunday, November 5, 2017

Heaviest Metallist 8 - Triptykon

(in which a lapsed metalhead seeks the heaviest metal song ever - recommendations are welcome)

Black Snow/Altar of Deceit
Melana Chasmata

Do this. Grab your list of bands that have been around for three decades and are still making new music you might listen to more than one time. If it's anything like mine, it's probably pretty sparse. Of course, Triptykon is technically not the same band as Celtic Frost, but given that the driving force in each incarnation is Tom Fischer I'd say that's close enough for government work. In 2014, thirty years after Celtic Frost made the scene with Morbid Tales, Triptykon released their second album, Melana Chasmata. If you allow that there's such a creature as extreme progressive metal or perhaps progressive extreme metal (or whatever...) this is arguably a good example of the form.

Melana Chasmata is heavy, but it's not breakneck, unmitigated heaviness all the way through. There are bits that border on subtle and there's even a track I'd nominate as the best Sisters of Mercy song the Sisters of Mercy never wrote. But none of that has a place here, where we are striving to locate the heaviest metal song of all time. Fortunately, there's some seriously heavy stuff on this album. Since two songs were especially noteworthy, it's two for the price of one this time around.

Black Snow
Epic is a word that gets tossed around a lot these days, often with no good reason, except that it's a popular buzzword. But it's a word that could be applied quite accurately to Black Snow, a tune that clocks in at over 12 minutes and doesn't waste one second of its running time. Celtic Frost did some pretty decent fast songs but for my money some of their most memorable ones proceeded at a leisurely pace. Melana Chasmata has one good thrasher (Breathing) and Black Snow kicks it into high gear for a short stretch but for the most part it lumbers along at a trudging pace and an atmosphere that drips with menace and foreboding. Combine this with the excellent production quality - nothing lo-fi or murky here - and the result is twelve minutes of music that hits like a ton of bricks.

Altar of Deceit
Black Snow would easily have been the best song on the album if it weren’t for Altar of Deceit. Things get rolling here with a plinking guitar that's soon joined by drums and before long a massive riff comes barreling down the tracks. It gives way another even more massive riff, with a chugging trudging rhythm of the sort that Celtic Frost might not have invented but that they certainly made good use of. And on it goes until the break, which gives way to noodly, trippy guitar stuff that works quite well in the context of things. Then come the final section of the song, which takes a seriously heavy turn and which features riffs that sound like they're shattering slabs of concrete. Then it's all over. If you're like me you start it again.

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