Triptykon - Eparistera Daimones
Prowling Death Records
Progressive Doom/Death Metal
9 songs (01:12:42)
Release year: 2010
Official Myspace, Prowling Death
Reviewed by Charles
Album of the month
Given the artistic success of Monotheist- one of the last decade's high points- the touting of Eparistera Daimones by Tom Fischer as its direct successor was pretty tantalising. That album left any sentient and soulful listener gasping for more. Those crushing grooves, flavoured by that preposterous but brilliant Swiss snarl, out-consumed all comers in the decadent eating contest that is metal music, and reached such a prodigious weight that anything else previously considered "heavy" looked in need of a Bob Geldof benefit concert by comparison.

So the first few minutes of Goetia is like discovering an extra slice of the world's greatest cheesecake in your fridge. Undoubtedly, this is a clear companion to Monotheist, albeit with a few extras bolted on. For the most part the overall strategy is similar; sound-wise it usually relies on the same perfect, crushing metal guitar tone for much of its impact (although with exceptions- see below). As you listen to this most epic of opening tracks, the kinship is obvious and happy memories of Ain Elohim or Ground rush back. Fischer bellows “Lord, have mercy upon me!” more catchily than should really be possible in music this abrasive, and those riffs combine malevolent intelligence with an incomparable, addictive thuggery. Slow, surly, and impossibly heavy.

Indeed, there’s a definite attempt to marry the two albums together with one as a direct continuation of the other. Like the second-through-fourth Metallica albums, there seem to be commonalities signalled between certain tracks. As the third tune, In Shrouds Decayed creeps in with its slithering, free-flowing guitar-jangling, there is a thrilling, if uneasy sense that you are hearing a direct counterpart to that iconic third song from Monotheist unfold. The impact isn’t quite the same; the buildup here is a more gradual one, and the overall effect less alien and much riffier. Nonetheless, the parallels are established. If there is a single key difference, it’s that here the textures are noticeably less austere. Instead of the stark, jolting effect of the transition from completely barren to crushing scuzz, here we have a more detailed, layered song, with those ethereal female vocals that have appeared sporadically on previous albums being given centre stage to add a striking melodic grace to the latter half. A similar thing could be said about My Pain. Like Obscured from Monotheist, it features Simone Wollenweider on vocals and seems to be in place as an injection of melancholy into a harsh, uncompromising record. But here it’s not so much a continuation of the album with some elements of a tune wrestled in, but a delicate, almost ambient interlude with crystal clear jazz guitar textures creating something of real subtlety.

So Eparistera Daimones can be thought of as a repeat of Monotheist, but one which expands in different directions, subtly but surely, building on elements that have always been there whilst retaining a basic focus on all-powerful grooves. Hence aside from the aforementioned moments of serenity, there are also points where we flail off in more nostalgic directions, as with the jarring up-tempo death-thrash of A Thousand Lies. In many ways this tune is a throwback to To Mega Therion, and whilst for some this will be an automatic bonus I can’t help but see it as an anomaly, not quite fitting with the rest of the album. For sure, if Eparistera Daimones has a weakness it’s that it doesn’t feel as single-minded as Monotheist, which was hell-bent on working its down-tempo grooves for maximum pummelling impact. Far better is Myopic Empire, which masterfully combines continuity and experimentation, and which is probably the best song here. Trudging riffs that could crush an elephant are overlaid by wailing harmonies and a growling guitar solo, before being temporarily banished by a gentle classical piano interlude that strides gracefully in from leftfield.

I can’t finish without mentioning the 20-minute closer, the aptly-named The Prolonging. Throughout its running length it barely deviates from its hoarse and despondent riffing, sounding like a more worldy and cynical Culted, but it breathes more and more deeply as it progresses, drawing moaning guitar tones in above its murky base like a fog over a swamp. The sound itself is lower and fuzzier than anything we’ve heard from Fischer in the past, and it seems to take the progressive flirtations of the rest of the album, grinding them sullenly down into the mud. It’s like how Mortician should sound. A fittingly downbeat end to a fantastically dour album.

Time will tell what the impact of this album is, but in the here and now it is a real tour de force of what extreme metal is capable of, and what it should be about.

Killing Songs :
Goetia, In Shrouds Decayed, Myopic Empire
Charles quoted 92 / 100
Goat quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Triptykon that we have reviewed:
Triptykon - Requiem (live at Roadburn 2019) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Triptykon - Melana Chasmata reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Triptykon - Shatter: Eparistera Daimones Accompanied reviewed by Charles and quoted no quote
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