Triptykon to Release Melana Chasmata Next Year

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 23rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Whatever else Melana Chasmata, the second album from Tom G. Warrior‘s post-Celtic Frost outfit Triptykon, might have to offer, two things about it are pretty much guaranteed: It’s going to be insanely dark and it’s probably going to have H.R. Giger artwork. From there, it’s up in the air as to where the actual sonics of the album might go. Triptykon‘s first offering, 2010′s Eparistera Daimones (review here), was an a-number-one mindfuck, bleak and oppressive and rife with torment, but it was also constructed from a lot of older parts that might’ve otherwise become Celtic Frost songs, as Warrior recounted in the liner notes. Whether Melana Chasmata will come from the same well of material, I don’t know, but I’m sure interested to find out.

The PR wire sent news of the album’s April 24, 2014, release date, and of course Triptykon were previously announced for Roadburn as well, so good things all around:

TRIPTYKON set to release second album MELANA CHASMATA April 24, 2014

Prowling Death Records/Century Media Records

TRIPTYKON is the occult/avant-garde metal band formed by Hellhammer/Celtic Frost singer, Tom Gabriel Warrior. After his exit from Celtic Frost in 2008, Warrior is proud to announce the groups’ second album, Melana Chasmata, set to be released on April 15 in North America. The album’s release will is a collaboration between the group’s own label, Prowling Death Records Ltd., and renowned metal giant Century Media Records. This is the same label partnership already responsible for Celtic Frost’s final album, Monotheist (2006), Hellhammer’s Demon Entrails demo compendium (2008), and Triptykon’s debut album, Eparistera Daimones, and Shatter EP (2010).

Melana Chasmata is evolving to be a vastly varied and strikingly dark and heavy album. The album’s title may be translated, approximately, as “black, deep depressions/valleys”.

Songwriting, arrangement, and recording sessions for Melana Chasmata occurred, intermittently, since 2011. Among the music available for inclusion on the album are songs such as Boleskine House, Stasis, Gate To My Own Death, Demon Pact, Gehinnam, Tree Of Suffocated Souls, Unchristian Anthem, and many more. A final track listing for Melana Chasmata will be issued in due course, along with further details on both album and artwork.

Much like Eparistera Daimones, Melana Chasmata is being produced by Tom Gabriel Warrior and Triptykon guitarist V. Santura, and recorded and engineered by V. Santura at his own Woodshed Studio in Bavaria, Germany, as well as at Triptykon’s bunker in Zurich, Switzerland.

Tom Gabriel Warrior: “We have been working on Melana Chasmata for some three years, in various shapes and forms. It’s not an easy album by any means, and to me personally it reflects an extremely complex gestation period, musically, spiritually, and, due to certain circumstances in my life, emotionally. At the same time, the album unquestionably reflects the continuity I was longing for so much during Celtic Frost’s period of self-destruction and demise. Hearing Triptykon creating such utter darkness again and exploring the potential of these new songs has been incredibly invigorating and inspiring.”

TRIPTYKON consists of V. Santura (guitar, vocals), Norman Lonhard (drums, percussion), Vanja Slajh (bass), and Tom Gabriel Warrior (voice, guitars).

TRIPTYKON Live 2014:
February 21 Bergen (Norway) – USF Verftet / Blastfest
April 13 Tilburg (The Netherlands) – 013 / Roadburn Festival
April 30 Munich (Germany) – Backstage / Dark Easter Metal Meeting (Facebook event)

More dates are to be announced soon…


Triptykon, “Goetia” Live at Wacken Open Air 2011

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Triptykon Added to Roadburn 2014 Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I was fortunate enough to catch Triptykon‘s debut live performance at Roadburn 2010 — guitarist/vocalist Tom G. Warrior (interview here) curated that day — and let me tell you, they were fucking bleak. I mean, I’ve seen the main room at 013 in Tilburg go pretty lightless, but they were a singularity absorbing light, let alone giving any off. Warrior‘s first outing after leaving Celtic Frost, Eparistera Daimones (review here), gave some inkling of what to expect, but live it was even darker. Challenging to say the least.

Triptykon are currently at work on the follow-up to their debut, and the plan seems to be for the album to hit right around the time of their return to Roadburn in 2014. Hope it works out. Triptykon released an EP called Shatter late in 2010 that rounded out the sessions that produced their album, and as Warrior moves further beyond Celtic Frost and into this new collaboration, I’m looking forward to hearing what kind of devastation might ensue.

Here’s the announcement, courtesy of Roadburn:

Triptykon Returns To Roadburn Festival 2014

We’re extremely honoured to report that Triptykon will return to Roadburn Festival on Sunday, April 13th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

There’s a significant bond between Roadburn and Triptykon founder Tom Gabriel Warrior (already legendary for his work as a founding member of Hellhammer and Celtic Frost). Not only did he curate the 2010 Roadburn Festival, personally inviting the lineup for his highly acclaimed ‘Only Death Is Real event,’ Triptykon also played their first official live show at the festival in support of their then newly-released debut album, Eparistera Daimones.

The stunningly dark and deeply personal Eparistera Daimones showed an inspirational rebirth for Tom Gabriel Warrior after the riotous days of Celtic Frost, and placed Triptykon squarely in the vanguard of avant-garde metal. Many stunning shows followed, but Roadburn is proud to have brought them to the stage for that very special first performance. Their return to Roadburn will herald the release of their long-awaited new full-length album.

We’re very proud about our continued collaboration with Tom Gabriel Warrior and Triptykon, and can’t wait to welcome them at the 2014 festival. Coming heavily armed with crushing new material, the band is sure to plunge Roadburn back into a dark abyss of all-consuming heaviness.

Tom Gabriel Warrior: “Roadburn is very likely the most extraordinary, daring, and vigorous festival in what has otherwise largely become a blandly repetitive and overly commercialized heavy rock scene. Moreover, anybody who has ever attended Roadburn can confirm that no other festival exudes such a unique feeling of radiance and creativity among audience and performers alike. Triptykon’s return to Roadburn in 2014 signifies yet another truly unique chapter in a long affiliation with the festival, dating back to the riotous days of Celtic Frost. I am deeply grateful to Roadburn’s artistic director Walter Hoeijmakers for his extraordinary friendship and his continued faith in the path we are pursuing with Triptykon. In return, we shall duly transform Roadburn into a church of darkness.”

Roadburn Festival 2014 will run for four days from Thursday, April 10th to Sunday, April 13th, 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Triptykon, “Procreation (of the Wicked)” Live at Wacken Open Air 2011

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Monkey3 to Release The 5th Sun this Fall

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 12th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

With more than a decade’s tenure, Swiss heavy psych instrumentalists Monkey3 will return this fall with their new album, The 5th Sun, which — contrary to what the title might lead you to believe — is actually their fourth full-length. Maybe they’re counting the covers EP? Anyway, it’ll also be their first for Spinning Goblin Productions/Napalm Records, and the Lausanne outfit will support it with a couple live dates beforehand, including a slot at the recently announced Up in Smoke festival, where they’ll join Radio Moscow, Colour Haze, Pentagram and a slew of others on Oct. 5 in Pratteln.

Sound of Liberation had this announcement with the album art:


MONKEY 3 along with label mates MY SLEEPING KARMA are undoubtedly the most celebrated Psychedelic/Atmospheric Stoner Rock Band on the planet.

The 2011 output “Beyond the Black Sky” was a fantastic release but wait until you hear “The 5th Sun”! With their fourth album, the Swiss band MONKEY 3 presents the definition of psychedelic Stoner Rock, by combining Stoner Rock vibe and riffs with trippy Psychedelic influences and turning these styles into a perfect sound, which will welcome new and old listeners alike!

The sonic world of MONKEY 3 is nothing less than breathtaking, and the new album will bring the band its well deceived recognition!

This album will be available via Napalm/Spinning Goblin Records as LTD First Edition Digipack & Bonus Track + DLP Gatefold Edition with an alternative album cover! Check out the CD cover by John Howard!

Release Dates
25.10.2013 – GR/AT/CH
30.10.2013 – SP/SWE/NOR
31.10.2013 – FIN & Benelux
04.11.2013 – Rest of Europe
05.11.2013 – USA/CAN

1. Icarus
2. Suns
3. Birth of Venus
4. Pintao
5. Once We Were
6. Circles
7. The Ship (Bonus Track)

And to wait before it, don’t miss their next gigs :
14.09.2013 (GER) Fellbach – Rebstock Festival
15.09.2013 (BEL) Arlon – L’entrepôt
05.10.2013 (CH) Pratteln – Z7 (Up In Smoke Festival)

Monkey3, “One of These Days” (Pink Floyd cover) Live at Duna Jam 2012

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Up in Smoke Festival Announced — Pentagram, Colour Haze, Truckfighters and More Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 9th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Who wouldn’t want to settle in for a Switzerland autumn? Frankly, it sounds about as close to ideal as I can picture, and it would seem that Sound of Liberation — the booking powers that be behind the last few years’ Up in Smoke traveling fest — are in agreement. In league with the Swiss venue Z7 in Pratteln, they’ll present the first Up in Smoke indoor festival, and they’ve put together a killer lineup for their first outing. With Pentagram, Colour Haze, My Sleeping Karma and Truckfighters among their first batch of announced headliners, the Up in Smoke fest is sure to get a heavy beginning and hopefully it’ll be the first of many to come.

Here’s the poster and official announcement, plus a live clip of Colour Haze from the first Up in Smoke tour, just for the hell of it:

UP IN SMOKE indoor Festival

Born in 2011, the concept initially called UP IN SMOKE Roadfestival is a tribute to the clouds of blue smoke which wave around the dances and trances of music lovers around the world ! Each time, for each volume, we offered a well suiting band package and got them to hit the European roads to meet their fans and rock the crowds with psychedelic, doom, heavy rock and experimental riffs.

As free to move as a cloud of smoke were the four first editions of the road festival…
But this year, the UP IN SMOKE festival becomes sedentary, and sets up in PRATTELN (CH), a location close to the French and German borders.
On October 5th 2013, a new puff of smoke will rise up from the one of the very best Swiss venues : Z7 KONZERTFABRIK ! Take part and join us !

date : 05th October 2013
place: Z7, Pratteln, Switzerland

The roadfestival UP IN SMOKE stops its caravan in Switzerland for a new rendez-vous: after 3 years of wandering around Europe, we have decided to offer a “home” to UP IN SMOKE for one full day in the sweetest swiss rock venue : Z7.
Description: Heavy Rock, Stoner, Sludge, Doom & Psychedelic Festival
16 bands – 2 stages – 1 day

Line up so far:

PENTAGRAM (US) ***excl.Switzerland Show
COLOUR HAZE (D) ***excl.Switzerland Show
TRUCKFIGHTERS (SWE) ***excl.Switzerland Show
MY SLEEPING KARMA (D) ***excl.Switzerland Show
+ more bands to be announced soon

Colour Haze, “Lights” Live at Up in Smoke 2011

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Black Willows, Haze: In the Grey

Posted in Reviews on August 2nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Self-released in a six-panel foldout digipak that includes a poster, the debut album from Swiss foursome Black Willows (who may or may not have added a The to the front of their name since) strikes an immediately curious impression. Haze reaches upwards of 70 minutes and finds its crux in sometimes-droning psychedelic repetitions, slowed down space rock and periodic bouts of riffnosis — which is all well and good, but between that and the Hubble Telescope imagery from whence the artwork comes, I’m left wondering about the black and white visuals. By the time Haze has started, past the buzzing noise of the two-minute title-track intro, it’s readily apparent that the band will be taking their time. Since usually this kind of thing comes coated in greens, yellows, reds and oranges, it’s something of a surprise Black Willows didn’t go total-spectrum in the layout. The greyscale gives Haze – which was recorded in the sunny clime of Austin, TX — an individual edge before you even press play.

Perhaps that’s the point — it’s what everyone else does, so they did the opposite — but either way, there’s a moody underpinning for the echoing vocals of “Doors of Perception” as a result, some Dead Meadow shoegaze meeting heavy psych jam payoffs in slowed down subspace. The dual guitars of Mélanie Renaud and (golly this name sounds familiar) Aleister Crowley move the songs forward by and large, giving the latter’s vocals plenty of room to echo out, but as “Neptune” takes hold with a more nodding thud, the rumble work of bassist Kevin Richard and particularly the languid punctuation of drummer Nicolas Monica are shown for the essential pieces they are. “Neptune” is the first of four songs in a row — followed by “Haiku,” “Black Magic” and “Apache” — that top eight minutes apiece, and though they vary in mood, with “Haiku” reminding in its instrumental stretches of some of the tension Elder created on their Dead Roots Stirring long-player while the more contemplative “Black Magic” touches on Easternisms in its drone and “Apache” delves into revival of the it’s-a-nod-scene-baby groove of “Neptune” en route to squibbly explorations and noisy climax, it remains a lot to take in one sitting.

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Frydee Black Sabbath – “Iron Man,” Live in Montreux, 1970

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 8th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Yeah, I know I ain’t exactly pushing boundaries here by ending the week with Black Sabbath doing “Iron Man,” but this version — recorded in Montreux, Switzerland in 1970 — features one of the best Ozzy Osbourne lyric flubs I’ve ever heard, wherein the first part of the second verse becomes:

“Now he’s standing there
Iron Man don’t you dare
For he wants you to
Iron Man I love you.”

Brilliant. Yesterday, I was sitting at my office being fucking miserable listening to the no-indoor-voice dumbassery that plays out with unfortunate regularity, and then it hit me: I’m leaving, and not only am I leaving, but I’m going record shopping. I hit up Sound Exchange on the quick and in addition to a used copy of the last C.O.C. record (jewel case version), I got Sabbath‘s Live at Montreux 1970 and immediately dug in. The mere act of purchasing a Sabbath show I didn’t already own, but in order to make sure I didn’t wind up disappointed, I looked the gig up on my phone at the shop and saw the A+ rating for the soundboard set, and well, my mind was made up for me. I’d been hoping to pick up Blues Creation‘s Demon and Eleven Children, but this was more than I could ask.

And sure, the show was recorded before Paranoid actually came out about a month later in September, but still, that lyric flub is great. Also interesting that “War Pigs” is here in its “Walpurgis” form. If you want to hear the whole show, the bass is low and the vocals are high — typical soundboard fare — but the audio is crisp and the version of “Fairies Wear Boots” is nothing short of incredible for Tony Iommi‘s solo alone. Dig it:

So after a week distinguished by little other than how shitty it was, finding Live at Montreux 1970 did much to restore my doomly spirit. Combined with the snow day I took today, not sleeping late but not going to the office either, I feel almost human. Not quite, but almost. Better than I was two days ago, in any case.

Should your own doomly spirits require restoration, I hope Sabbath does the trick, and I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Lots of good stuff to come next week — Devil to Pay review, Clutch interview, and so on — so please stay tuned. In the meantime, I’ll see you on the forum and back here Monday for more high-gain sentence structures.

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Up in Smoke Volume IV Tour Dates to Feature Monkey3, Glowsun and Grandloom

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 6th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

I didn’t really need an excuse to wish I was going to be in Europe come September, having already failed to get that Fulbright to Sweden I tried for last fall, but hey, why not toss another installment of the Up in Smoke tour on the pile? Indignity loves company.

This time around, it’s recent Napalm signees Monkey3 and Glowsun teamed up with German upstarts Grandloom. Good stuff. Sound of Liberation sent over dates and info on the PR wire:

Monkey 3 (CH) — Glowsun (FRA) — Grandloom (GER)

The Psychedelic Roadfestival goes into the next round! From September 14th until September 29th, the Up In Smoke Roadfestival offers you finest heavy psychedelic rock music.

MONKEY 3  from Lausanne, well known for their outstanding live performance, will headline the evening. The ones among you, who have already seen the band live, know what we are talking about. Monkey 3 are constantly creating an excellent mixture of heavy, psychedelic, stoner and space rock. Atmospheric and emotional!

For almost 15 years GLOWSUN has been on a journey through sheer endless distances of the musical cosmos. Consequently, the trio from Northern France continues their psychedelic trip. Swirling and heavy riffs meet the intelligent and playful foundation of the tight rhythm section, thus transforming the songs into compact sound clouds which surround and finally transport the listener into a completely new world. Glowsun will present their new CD “Eternal Season” during the UP IN SMOKE Tour.

GRANDLOOM from Cottbus in Germany have already established their sound in the german underground scene. Their great mix of ‘70s rock, stoner, and psych leading them to trippy super jams…heavy, bluesy and always groovy.

Up In Smoke VOL IV – The Psychedelic Roadfestival on Tour:
14.09. CH Winterthur, Gaswerk
15.09. CH Yverdon, Amalgame
16.09. A  Salzburg, Rockhouse
17.09. Wuerzburg, Café Cairo
18.09. Munich, Feierwerk
19.09. A  Wien, Arena
20.09. Jena, Rose
21.09. Muenster, Amp
22.09. BEL  Brussels, Magasin 4
23.09. F  Paris, Glazart
24.09. Cologne , Underground
25.09. Frankfurt, das Bett
26.09. Berlin, Magnet
27.09. Hamburg, Molotow
28.09. Dresden, Groovestation
29.09. Esslingen, Komma

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Frydee Monkey3 (Covering Ennio Morricone)

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 13th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Closing out with Swiss psychedelic instrumentalists Monkey3 covering Ennio Morricone (because why not) and signing off early this week. I’m heading out in a few hours to go to the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn to see Droids Attack, and I don’t know why, but I have the feeling it’s going to be a really good night. Most shows at this point I’m kind of here or there on actually leaving the house to go to, but this time I’m legitimately psyched. I’ll probably get hit by a bus on my way into the venue.

Droids Attack tonight starts off a pretty busy couple weeks of show-going. On Monday, Radio Moscow and The Dirty Streets hit the Brighton Bar in Jersey, Sons of Tonatiuh play Brooklyn next Thursday, and next Saturday, Halfway to Gone will be at the Brighton. I have an interview in the can with bassist/vocalist Lou Gorra from Halfway that’ll be up the week after next (want to get pics to go with). That show is the same night as Mike Scheidt in Brooklyn, so I was thinking maybe I’d drive south to see him in Philly the next night (could be tricky on a Sunday), but later that week, The Company Band are coming through, and I can’t make the Brooklyn show, so could be another trip to Philly for it. Everyone decided to hit at once, and most of them decided not to hit Jersey. What else is new?

I’ll sort it all out and get to as much as I can get to, and in the meantime, next week I’ll also have that free Mos Generator download posted. The band has taken some new press shots and there’s a press release to go with now, so we’ll do it up. I’ll also have an interview with Bathory obsessives Ereb Altor about their new and more blackened third album, Gastrike, that’ll be posted, and I’ll be picking and announcing the winners of the Kadavar giveaway, we’ll have another album of the summer of the week, and a new column either from Tommy Southard or Woody High, as well as (presumably) the explosion-filled finale of the Kings Destroy European tour diary. One can only assume even more tires will be destroyed in the making of it.

Much to come, and of course I’ll be working all weekend as well, but I’ll let Tomorrow Me worry about all the shit that he has to do tomorrow. Tonight I’m going to go out, watch a good band, have a beer or two and enjoy myself in as bullshit-free a manner as possible. I’ll keep you posted Monday on how it works out.

As always, I hope you have a great and safe weekend. I’ll be kicking around periodically on the forum, zapping spambots like I do. Hope to see you there and back here Monday for more whipped cream, also other delights.

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shEver, Rituals: The Doom of Exclusion

Posted in Reviews on July 5th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Arriving some three years after their self-released A Dialogue with the Dimensions EP, the second shEver full-length, Rituals, lives up to its name. It doesn’t feel out of line to assume the band’s name is a play on the word “shiver” meant to emphasize that all four members of the Swiss outfit are women, with the odd-capitalization in their logo making the point even clearer, but more interesting to me than their gender is the scope of doom and darkened sludge shEver cover. The first-name-only lineup of drummer Sarah, vocalist Alexandra, bassist/violinist/backing vocalist Nadine and guitarist/backing vocalist Jessica wind their way through a bleak and often dirge-minded atmosphere, but there are looks in the direction of ‘90s-style doom that show up in tracks like “Delirio” to change up the approach, and screams intermingle with cleaner vocals in ambient parts while the band reels before unleashing their next assault. Rituals, which is released through TotalRust Music, is thoroughly doomed despite any variations/deviations that occur in style. Riffs lead the way almost exclusively, backed by Nadine’s thick bass and punctuated by the crash of Sarah’s lowly-mixed cymbals. The album is under-produced. Those cymbals are part of it, but I have a hard time imagining both the bass and drums don’t also come across thicker live, and that Alexandra’s screams, which sound muted here as “Je Suis Née” reaches its nonetheless punishing apex, aren’t fuller in another setting. Still, the rawness helps quitter stretches feel all the more dismal, and for the parts of Rituals where shEver are more directly sludge in their approach, it makes it that much nastier. The six extended tracks of the 50-minute offering are more consistent as well with that line drawn between them.

In case you were wondering exactly what kind of Rituals the band was thinking of when titling the album, opener “Ritual of Chaos” makes it plain, with malevolent whispers and quiet creepy parts trading off with screams, growls and clean backing vocals all at once. It may be that the band is throwing everything out there at once, but if so, it’s effective in conveying the breadth of the album overall. There are few surprises in store afterwards, but the fullness of the atmosphere that “Ritual of Chaos” constructs is affirmed in the other tracks, which are doomed enough to make early Paradise Lost blush and righteous in their heaviness despite whatever already-noted production issues persist. Before the opener is through, shEver have moved from ambient guitars to double-kick drumming, and done so smoothly while also challenging the listener to follow them. A major strength of Rituals is its challenging side, and “Delirio” – which also tops eight minutes – works quickly to enhance it with death growls and vicious higher-pitched screams atop a lumbering riff that persists loud for the first minute before moving into a more ambient incarnation of the same progression; an effective loud/quiet tradeoff and not the last to come. “Delirio” gradually rebuilds its crash and subsides again, once more hitting a satisfying peak as the song comes to a close, Jessica changing up the guitar to subtly add a shot of adrenaline. The following “Je Suis Née” is the shortest track on Rituals at 7:17 and dedicated largely to interpretations built around one riff and one tempo. Needless to say, its plod is substantial as a result, and though by now they’ve well established their pastiche, shEver move into probably their sludgiest territory yet – that riff is a beast and Alexandra’s screams are the stuff of damaged vocal cords. As with a lot of sludge, they run into trouble winding the track down, but when in doubt, drop everything else out and let the guitar ring out into a fade. Works like a charm.

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Monkey3, Beyond the Black Sky: Space is Deep, the Desert is Endless

Posted in Reviews on June 27th, 2011 by H.P. Taskmaster

Marking a decade of existence in 2011 after one of their most successful years yet – 2010 found them appearing at both Roadburn and Hellfest – Swiss psychedelonauts Monkey3 follow-up 2009’s covers EP, Undercover, with their third full-length, Beyond the Black Sky. Released via Stickman Records with art by Malleus, the eight-track LP runs just over 42 minutes, and on it, the four-piece Lausanne band delves into a range of atmospheres, keeping their instrumental songs memorable and grounded with a foundation of heavy riffs. The vibe is vaguely stoner, but there’s more going on with Monkey3 (either written thusly or Monkey 3 with a space between the name and number; I’ve seen it both ways) than simple riff-driven instrumentality, and where an act like Karma to Burn has clearly had some influence, Beyond the Black Sky pulls from synth-inclusive space rock and heavy jamming, resulting in a feel generally more atmospheric, as they show in the low underlying rumble of the short “Tuco the Ugly.” These are songs, and they’re accessible on that level, but each piece also has a character of its own and a progression playing out.

For that alone, that Monkey3 manage to achieve that balance, Beyond the Black Sky is a win. They open the album with “Camhell,” which finds guitar and synth affecting a repetitive hypnosis while drummer Walter (first names only, all around) keeps the build moving. And it is a build. The song peaks once, drops down, and peaks again in its six-plus minutes, ending at a noodling guitar apex that cuts off as though the low-end effects that open “One Zero Zero One” are a wall the band has just pushed you into. “One Zero Zero One” – which doesn’t actually translate from binary to anything in text – is more patient all around, guitarist Boris and keyboardist dB working well together as the former offers a memorable rhythm line in the song’s final moments. That interplay between the guitar and keyboards runs throughout Beyond the Black Sky, lending the record as a whole a progressive air, but Monkey3, despite being a heavy psychedelic band given to lengthy jams like that in Side A-highlight “Black Maiden” (8:52), are never fully lost in self-indulgence. The structure of “Black Maiden” isn’t so different from “Camhell” or that which shows up later on closer “Through the Desert” (another high point of the record), but through diversity in their riffing style and complexity of the parts they’re playing, Monkey3 avoid sounding samey or repetitive where they’re not meaning to be. “Black Maiden” brings bassist Picasso and dB for hits and ringouts during a lengthy midsection of mostly guitar and synth, and it works tremendously well setting up the build of the song’s latter half.

“Tuco the Ugly” is more of an interlude at 2:13; a well-placed comedown from “Black Maiden” that provides afterthought to the breadth of that track while also closing out the first half of the record, but more interesting about it is how it plays next to “K.I,” which follows. Where “Tuco the Ugly” relies on acoustic guitar and a foreboding Western ambience perhaps inspired by their take on the theme from Once Upon a Time in the West from Undercover, “K.I” is practically industrial, with Boris’ start-stop riffing, the mechanical-sounding rhythms behind and wash of synth. Since both cuts are the only ones on Beyond the Black Sky under three minutes, and since they’re paired right next to each other, one can’t help but compare them, and though I’m more partial personally to the relaxed, open-country style of “Tuco the Ugly,” there’s no denying that “K.I” grooves and leads well into the organ-ic “Motorcycle Broer,” which finds Picasso at his most present yet, mix-wise, and Boris moving the guitars into atmospheric volume swells when not playing up straightforward rock riffing or – as later in the track – busting out the best solo on Beyond the Black Sky.

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Top 20 of 2010 #17: Triptykon, Eparistera Daimones

Posted in Features on December 6th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

The first album by Tom G. Warrior‘s post-Celtic Frost outfit Triptykon was a revelation. It was as though Warrior himself was reaching his hand through the speakers to say, “It’s okay that Celtic Frost is broken up, everything’s going to be fine…. and by that I mean we’re all going to die and life is utterly meaningless.” Eparistera Daimones stands stall as one of 2010′s most grim and beautiful releases, Warrior and his band reveling in their misery with all the avant blackened doom that has become synonymous with his name over the last 30 years.

And they killed it live. Both headlining Roadburn and when I saw them again in New York, Triptykon was a highlight of the year, no question. The only reason it’s not higher up my list is because there were other albums I listened to more. If this were a quality-only kind of tabulation (which, by being a tabulation, it couldn’t really be; discuss amongst yourselves), Eparistera Daimones would certainly be a top 10 record, but staying power counts.

I’ll say this for it: I may not have kept Eparistera Daimones in my player all year long, but every time I’ve gone back to it, I’ve found something new. Like Celtic Frost‘s last album, Monotheist, it’s a record best enjoyed over time. It got no shortage of hype over the course of this year, but I think the real beauty and complexity in Triptykon are going to take longer than a mere couple months to fully appreciate. I still get a shiver up my spine every time I listen to “A Thousand Lies.”

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Just in Case You Never Thought Guitar Necks Were Phallic, Triptykon Have a New Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 19th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Seriously, even bassist Vanja Slajh comes off looking pretty well-hung in the shadow-puppet chorus scenes of Triptykon‘s new video for “Shatter,” the title track of their latest EP. The song rules, so I point this out in only the most lighthearted of joshing, but it’s kind of hilarious. Here’s the clip if you haven’t seen it yet:

“Shatter” was directed by Philipp Hirsch of Film-M. Triptykon‘s Shatter EP is out Oct. 25.

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Triptykon Interview: Tom G. Warrior Discusses Celtic Frost’s Legacy, Curating Roadburn, His Rebirth in Triptykon and Much More

Posted in Features on October 5th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

There has been much said over the years about Tom G. Warrior. One thing about the man in 2010: he is completely unwilling to compromise. He’s been down that road before, with Celtic Frost, and it made for one of metal’s most memorable missteps. But no more. When he left Celtic Frost in 2008 to form Triptykon, it became his singular vision that would guide the band, and no outside interest could sway it. Triptykon‘s Eparistera Daimones was a testament to this idea, a broad swipe of avant doom and black metals that showed not only was the venerable frontman as duly strong in his songwriting, playing and vocalizing, but his sheer creative will was more potent than ever.

This year, Warrior (Fischer by birth) was asked to oversee a day of the Roadburn festival in The Netherlands, which he did under the banner of Only Death is Real. Acts like as Pagan Altar, Witchfynde and Valborg made the day one of the most diverse the fest had ever seen, and with Triptykon‘s first live performance in the headlining slot, everyone had something to look forward to. Neither was anyone disappointed by the reality. Playing a two-hour set of half-Triptykon and half-Celtic Frost, Warrior, guitarist/vocalist V. Santura, bassist Vanja Slajh and drummer Norman Lonhard, gave due homage to the legacy of Celtic Frost while also showing how Warrior was moving forward into new and exciting territory. They finished with the massive, 20-minute Eparistera Daimones closer, “The Prolonging,” and I honestly think by the end of it the audience was more worn out than they were. Given that so much of his persona is wrapped in the dark, bleak and melancholic, it’s strange to think of Tom G. Warrior as excited, but as Nocturno Culto got on stage to guest on Celtic Frost‘s classic “Dethroned Emperor,” he clearly was.

And he remains excited now. When discussing his relationship to the other members of Triptykon, his voice tells of the passion he feels for making music with this lineup and being able to explore, unhindered, these fresh endeavors. On the eve of Triptykon‘s first North American tour, which kicks off Oct. 6 in Manhattan, and the release of the new Shatter EP later this month, the feeling I get is it’s a great time to be in the band, a great time to be inspired and a thrilling new beginning for a man who has helped define and redefine heavy metal for the better part of 30 years.

You’ll find the full Q&A, in ritualistic fashion, after the jump. Please enjoy.

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Frydee Monkey3

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 3rd, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

I decided to end this week with some Monkey3 because they’re a band about whom I know dick-all other than they’re instrumental and they’re European. When it comes to their members, discography or just about anything else, I couldn’t tell you, but I looked up this video and the song is killer, so apparently I’ve got my work cut out for me. There’s always more music out there. People who say nothing’s good these days are just wrong.

Well friends, as I stare down the barrel of a much-welcome long weekend, I’ll wish you a happy Labor Day if you’re in the States and a happy socialized medicine (which really makes every day a holiday) if you’re not. I look forward to spending the next couple days waiting for an alleged hurricane to not show up, then laughing when it doesn’t. It’s the little things.

If you didn’t see the response George from Las Cruces (the band, not the city) left to the live review post’s previous commenter, it rules.

One last order of business: tonight on 89.5FM WSOU here in New Jersey they’re reviving a show called Blurred Visions that plays stoner rock and doom, and to which I have sentimental attachment because I started it back when I was an undergrad at Seton Hall. If you’re around and looking for something to listen to at 1oPM Eastern, check it out here.

Otherwise, as always, I wish you the best and safest of weekends.

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Knut Bask in the Wonder of it All; Release New Album Today

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 29th, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

Here’s a fun fact that may or may not have been forgotten: Swiss sludgers Knut were around a long time before that baby polar bear of the same name got all famous at the Berlin Zoo. Today, their first album in four years, Wonder, is out on Hydra Head, who extols the band’s underground cred thusly by means of an unsuspecting PR wire:

There is simply too much music in the world these days, and little of it seems to embody what could be described as passion or even soul. Rarer still are the bands who have stuck around long enough to be considered consistent institutions of musical integrity and ingenuity. All but extinct are the bands that embody/possess the qualities above, and who have continued to produce, evolve and thrive despite deficient attention from the music buying public. While artists like The Melvins, Neurosis, Converge and Enslaved have managed to plumb the depths of the various caverns of heavy metal/hardcore/loud rock and emerged atop mountains of accolades (while simultaneously making careers of their craft), Knut have long labored in relative obscurity, churning out some of the finest all-enveloping-mathsludge-metal-pummelry known this (or that) side of the Atlantic.

16 years and 12-plus releases into their existence Knut have managed once again to top themselves and shame their peers with the creation of Wonder. A commentary on the human capacity for creative thought and numinous experience in the face of a violent and oppressive global-market ethos, Wonder stands as a testament to our will for survival and defiance in times of adversity and crippling doubt… and, yeah, it’s proof-positive that Celtic Frost and Swatch ain’t the only Swiss exports from which we may all reap unending benefits.

Knut live:
8/13 Ieper/Ypres, Belgium @ Ieper Fest w/ Converge, Kylesa, Gaza, Despised Icon, AmenRa
8/27 Gigors, Drôme, France @ Gigors, Drôme w/ Melt Banana, Human Toys, DK
8/28 Geneva, GE @ Usine, Geneva w/ Melt Banana
10/2 Bulle, Fribourg, Switzerland @ Ebullition, Bulle

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