The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 107

Posted in Radio on March 31st, 2023 by JJ Koczan

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So I kinda wanted to hear some old shit alongside all the new shit, which I guess I feel okay about. I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like every second of every show has to be super-recent as much as possible to get word out about new bands again as much as possible — and again again as much as possible to the extent of whatever the audience for this show is; I honestly have no idea — but that’s not even close to being true in reality. I could play Death, no one would give a shit.

I should play Death. Next show if I remember, which I’m saying up front is like 70/30 no.

Anyway, so old High on Fire into new Dozer and Altered States’ recent “The Crossing” crossing with The Hidden Hand’s “The Crossing” from their brilliant 2004 opus, and JAAW feeding into Celtic Frost feeding into Vape Warlök. Fucking a. This show’s pretty good. I hope I don’t ruin it by, you know, talking.

A few albums here I’m looking forward to knowing better. Swanmay for sure, JAAW absolutely, and I might even say that of Dozer, perhaps into perpetuity or at very least until long after I’ve reviewed it and hailed it as one of the best albums of the year — which I don’t even feel shy in saying because it’s a fucking given — and Bongzilla, because they’re Bongzilla and I’m glad they’re putting out records. They’re a needed reminder of how even the heaviest things can be made to float.

Thanks if you listen to this show. If not, it happens, but thanks for reading anyhow. If you stumbled here and have no idea what I’m talking about, you might still consider checking out a band or two from the playlist and find something to make your day better.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at:

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 03.31.23 (VT = voice track)

High on Fire 10,000 Years The Art of Self-Defense (2001)
Dozer Dust for Blood Drifting in the Endless Void
Devoidov Stab Stab
MiR Altar of Liar Season Unknown
Mars Red Sky & Queen of the Meadow Maps of Inferno Mars Red Sky & Queen of the Meadow
Black Rainbows Superhero Dopeproof Superskull
Lammping Better Know Better Better Know Better
Oceanlord 2340 Kingdom Cold
Arriver Azimuth Azimuth
Altered States The Crossing Survival
The Hidden Hand The Crossing Mother Teacher Destroyer (2004)
Iress Ricochet Solace
Grin Nothingness Black Nothingness
Bongzilla Hippie Stick Dab City
MWWB Logic Bomb The Harvest (2022)
Swanmay Stone Cold Frantic Feel
JAAW Rot Supercluster
Celtic Frost A Dying God Coming into Human Flesh Monotheist (2005)
Vape Warlök Inhale Death Inhale Death (2022)

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is April 14 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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Friday Full-Length: Celtic Frost, Monotheist

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 9th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

What a record. I know Celtic Frost‘s legacy was already long since set by the time they returned to do Monotheist in 2006, and that their earlier works in 1984’s Morbid Tales EP, 1985’s debut album, To Mega Therion, and 1987’s Into the Pandemonium — not to mention what Thomas Gabriel Fischer and Martin Eric Ain had done previously in Hellhammer — had already cast them as one of the formative units not just of black metal, but of a new kind of heavy darkness in general. But 15 years later and long since the band fell apart all over again, Monotheist still resonates, and it’s still so goddamned dense. Thick to the point of making it difficult to move through. Righteous in the challenge it issued to its audience. Righteous in its unmitigated grandiosity. Righteous in its crush, righteous in its indulgent use of space and ambience. Righteous in its heft and heavy in its righteousness.

Fischer had gotten divorced in 2004, and that may well have played into some of the spit in his vocal approach on songs like “Progeny” or “Domain of Decay,” though as I recall many of these songs were older at least in their foundation. The CD came with extensive liner notes — a band putting out their first LP in 16 wanting to be understood are well within their rights to do so — with Ain and Fischer, sometimes opaque, sometimes straightforward, talking about the whens and wheres. If you got the digipak, it came with the extra track “Temple of Depression,” which is a welcome speedier thrust between “Os Abysmi vel Daath” and “Obscured,” but listening back to Monotheist now, I wonder if the album isn’t best served as a double-vinyl. Certainly CDs were already in decline in 2006 and now-clunky-looking iPods were high fashion, but vinyl had yet to make its mass-market comeback as the dominant physical format, but Monotheist works exceedingly well with breaks.

Part of that is the aforementioned density. Celtic Frost‘s sound is about more than just the chug of their riffs, and they never hit harder or certainly with more elaborate produciton behind them than they did on Monotheist, making their atmospheres all the more consuming. The 2LP edition traded out “Temple of Depression” for the more atmospheric “Incantation Against You,” with guest lead vocals by Simone Vollenweider — a performance worthy of the investment that was also a bonus track on the Japanese edition CD; you could go nuts keeping it all straight — but the way that the songs split up into sides highlights the natural flow from one movement into the next, the album working in stages until finding its culmination in “Triptych I: Totengott,” the 14-minute “Triptych II: Synagoga Satanae” and “Triptych III: Winter (Requiem, Chapter Three: Finale),” the last a four-minute orchestral instrumental answer back to previous Celtic Frost works that would be a fitting culmination to Celtic Frost‘s career even if they didn’t know it at the time.

The initial salvo of “Progeny,” “Ground” and “Dying God Coming into Human Flesh” is unfuckwithable. The immediacy of the first, the still-catchy crush of the second and the ambience of the third — it sets the stage perfectly for Celtic Frost Monotheisteverything Celtic Frost and their vast array of guests, engineers, session players, etc. will offer throughout, the actual band involved being Fischer, Ain, drummer Franco Sesa and guitarist Erol Unala. Ain and Fischer sharing vocal duties on “A Dying God Coming into Human Flesh” particularly, in how it pushes wider the context of the listening experience, is a thing to be treasured in the message it sends to the audience. As heavy and as bludgeoning as Monotheist is, it stretches no less wide as it goes deeper.

And deeper is exactly where the LP version heads on side B, with “Drown in Ashes” bringing in guest singer Lisa Middelhauve (Xandria) in a grim duet with Fischer ahead of the return to harsh doom chug in “Os Abysmi vel Daath” — a landmark hook in any language — and the spacious, patient “Obscured,” again with Vollenweider turning in an emotive performance alongside Fischer, the two touching on harmony even as the distortion builds behind them. “Incantation Against You,” though it starts the next platter, builds in turn on that, with “Domain of Decay” bringing a return of sheer aural force for a quick four and a half minutes before “Ain Elohim” offers as pure a take on Satanism as I’ve ever encountered: “There is no god but the one that dies with me,” along with a stretch of pure avant garde metal that’s outside genre even as the band helped define it.

While we’re pushing boundaries, “Totengott” feels prescient 15 years later with its Ain-led ambient black metal, while “Synagoga Satanae” brings the summary of the proceedings — including co-producer Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy, Pain, etc.) on backing vocals — as a whole and “Winter (Requiem, Chapter Three: Finale)” serves as epilogue, a final, ultra-purposeful three-part ending that especially isolated on side D of the 2LP version underscores the strength of intention behind everything happening on Monotheist.

This is the kind of record a band does once in a career. It is all-consuming, an utter creative blowout, and in hindsight, it’s not surprising they didn’t make another. It’s not so much that they couldn’t have topped it — I won’t say a negative word about what Fischer has gone on to do in Triptykon in carrying forward what Celtic Frost established here, up to and including the 2020 live record from Roadburn 2019 completing Celtic Frost‘s “Requiem” — but it seems ludicrous now to think they would’ve done anything else. How could they? What’s left after you’ve already dug to the marrow of yourself and presented it to your listener? Sometimes there’s just nothing more that needs to be said.

Beautiful, genuinely engrossing, punishing, Monotheist is a museum piece for what heavy metal can be. That’s not what everyone will want from a given listening experience, but the last statement Celtic Frost would make was that if you weren’t going to meet them at their level, then you were only going to be obliterated for standing in their way, even at the cost of obliterating themselves.

One of the best albums the aughts had to offer, and of course rest in peace Martin Eric Ain, who passed away in 2017.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

I’m having dental surgery on Monday. They’re putting a screw in the hole in my mouth here a molar was until I had it pulled, with an eventual eye toward a dental implant. I guess the screw will be an improvement over the presently empty spot, though that’s been an interesting experience. They had to take the tooth out in pieces it was so dug in, did a good amount of bone graft with some magical science pellets. I anticipate having a rod screwed into my jawline will present some discomfort. I don’t expect it to interrupt the flow of the Quarterly Review, and that and passive interest-in-what’s-gonna-happen is about the extent of my feelings on the matter, apart from the general nervousness about leaving the house, doing a thing, and so on.

Fucking Celtic Frost, man. How good is that record? I got to interview Martin Ain and Tom Fischer when they played New York on tour, in-person, and it was fucking awesome. They had rented an apartment downtown and then later that night they demolished B.B. King’s in Midtown Manhattan, and it was well worth breaking my blood oath never to go to Midtown. That room was pure love, despite the blanket of bleakness cast over the entire proceedings. So heavy. I just looked to see if there was any audio or video of it on YouTube, and there isn’t, but if you want to go down a rabbit hole, there’s plenty of older live stuff there.

This week brought the exhale that was being able to send The Pecan to daycamp for three hours every day. An easy pattern to fall into, thanks largely to the fact that he was in preschool before. We dropped him off a bit ago, in fact. He didn’t even look back at us as he went through the door, so I guess he likes it well enough. Very good.

That three-hour respite is huge, from 8:30-11:30. It allowed me to do the Quarterly Review this week while staying sane in the process, and since he still takes a rest in the afternoon — sometimes he naps, but mostly he just goes up to his room and farts around making various degrees of noise in unsupervised but contained fashion — I had some time to unwind, read a book, which is massive as far as my general quality of life goes.

I’m reading Star Trek books, as usual, a three-part series called ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ about Jim Kirk and Gary Mitchell, who dies in the (second) pilot of The Original Series, about how they’re best friends and Kirk has to deal with the fallout of having to kill Mitchell after he becomes a megalomaniac with godlike powers. You’d want to retcon it now making him a malevolent Q. And by you, I mean me, in fan-fic. As regards brain power, though, it’s this or that, and I’m better off here.

But that impulse is there for sure.

Come hang out in the Facebook group. It’s getting to be a whole thing.

New Gimme show today, as previously noted. You can listen free: 5PM Eastern. Lotsa Neurosis, little bit of me talking about how good Neurosis are. Good fun.

That’s about all I’ve got. Thanks again to everybody who’s snagged some of the new merch. Thinking it might be time to end the run in another week or so, just because I’m starting to feel like a shill plugging it, but please know that your support is sincerely appreciated. Much love.

Great and safe weekend. Hydrate, watch your head, all that stuff. Have fun.

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Triptykon to Perform Commissioned Project at Roadburn 2019

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Triptykon (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Tom G. Warrior and Triptykon completing a triptych that Celtic Frost began 31 years ago on Into the Pandemonium with the never-heard second part and performing the whole thing in full with a complete orchestra accompanying? SuchRoadburn move. So Roadburn.

The first-unveiled of Roadburn 2019’s commissioned projects — it ain’t the last, folks — is precisely the kind of once-in-a-lifetime shenanigans the universe has come to expect from the festival. Year after year after year, Roadburn delivers incredible experiences, and since moving into commissioning bands and collaborations in 2017, the fest has basically not only become a proving ground for acts looking for a foothold in Europe, or, you know, the world, but a place where artists challenge themselves creatively as well as in performance and presentation. All kidding aside, it’s unreal.

If you’re scratching your head wondering just what the hell something like “Chapter One: Overture – Fourth Incarnation” means, I can’t imagine you’re alone. Just understand that it’s something that’s never happened before and could very well never happen again.

Typical Roadburn. Amazing.

PR wire:

roadburn 2019 tom g warrior

Tom G. Warrior returns to Roadburn to perform Celtic Frost/Triptykon Requiem in full

Triptykon will return to Roadburn Festival in 2019 to perform the complete Celtic Frost/ Triptykon three part Requiem, complete with orchestral accompaniment.

Having previously performed at the festival in 2010 and 2014 with Triptykon, and taken on curatorship duties for the former (selecting bands such as Sarke and Thorr’s Hammer to perform); it’s our pleasure to welcome Tom G. Warrior back to Roadburn on Friday, April 12.

The first part of the three-part Requiem appeared on Celtic Frost’s Into The Pandemonium, and was titled Rex Irae. The third part, titled Winter was brought to life on the Celtic Frost album Monotheist in 2006, and until now, the missing second part has remained incomplete.

Tom explains:
“The intention to finish the full Requiem remained with me. I was going to do it one distant day with Triptykon, the group I formed to continue to pursue the path I began in Hellhammer and Celtic Frost. It was 2018, yet again 16 years after I last worked on the Requiem, when Walter Hoeijmakers, founder of the legendary Roadburn Festival and one of my most beloved friends, contacted me to propose Roadburn as the venue to perform, at long last, the finished Requiem.

“Walter and his team very kindly provided for the resources necessary for such a substantial undertaking, and so, at 54 by now, I found myself commencing work on the second and thus final part of the Requiem this year.

“The three parts of the Requiem will therefore be performed by Triptykon at Roadburn 2019, with full classical orchestration, congregated specifically for this occasion by Florian Magnus Maier, who is our esteemed classical collaborator and arranger in this project, and whose patience with me appears to be limitless. We feel very proud and deeply honoured to be joined in this endeavour by the renowned Dutch Metropole Orkest.”

Click here to read more from Tom about the history of the Requiem.

Celtic Frost/ Triptykon Requiem, as performed exclusively by Triptkyon and the Dutch Metropole Orchestra at Roadburn 2019:

Rex Irae (Requiem, Chapter One: Overture – Fourth Incarnation)

Grave Eternal (Requiem, Chapter Two: Transition)

Winter (Requiem, Chapter Three: Finale – Ninth Incarnation)

The Requiem will be performed with the world renowned, Grammy-award winning, Dutch Metropole Orkest.

2018 marked the first occasion when Roadburn commissioned artists to create music especially for the festival, with Waste of Space Orchestra and Vánagandr: Sól án varma both delivering spellbinding performances to enraptured audiences. The commissioning of the Celtic Frost/Triptykon Requiem is possible due to the continued support of Brabant C and City of Tilburg

Single day tickets will go on sale on Thursday, December 13. Weekend tickets are on sale now

Tickets are be priced as follows:
3 days ticket (Thu-Sat) €181 + €4,50 service fee
4 days ticket (Thu-Sun) €204 + €4,50 service fee
Day ticket (Thu, Fri or Sat) €62 + €4,50 service fee
Sunday ticket €55,50 + €4,50 service fee

Click here for more ticketing information.

Celtic Frost, “Rex Irae (Requiem)”

Celtic Frost, “Winter (Requiem)”

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Triptykon Added to Roadburn 2014 Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 25th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

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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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 JJ Koczan

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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Triptykon: 72 Minutes to Destroy Your Soul

Posted in Reviews on March 29th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

From the day it was announced that acclaimed guitarist/vocalist Tom Gabriel Warrior was leaving Swiss black metal innovators Celtic Frost following their fucking awesome reunion album Monotheist, it was clear that whatever he did next was going to be a tricky proposition. After all, this isn’t the first time Celtic Frost broke up, and considering it took them about half a decade to get Monotheist together, was it really such a surprise to see the band come apart? The upside was that when Triptykon, Warrior’s new band, was revealed, he more or less said his plan was to make it sound like Celtic Frost, and to that end, he was taking the parts he was going to use for songs on the next Celtic Frost record and turn it into Triptykon’s first album, Eparistera Daimones.

Century Media, to whom Monotheist was also licensed for release back in 2006 (time does fly), sent over some mp3s of Eparistera Daimones for review, but I knew that, as with Monotheist, if I wanted to really get a sense of what this album was about, I needed the real deal. So I bought it. Whether or not that makes me morally superior to anyone who by now has downloaded this blackened metallic beast is a debate for another time (but we all know it does); the point is that, with the expository liner notes, with H.R. Giger’s explicit cover art — covered in the CD packaging by a strategically placed promo sticker – with the production info, with the lyrics, I feel like it’s possible to get a more fully realized notion of what Eparistera Daimones is trying to accomplish. In a word, that is “iconoclasm.”

How else to explain the vicious turns, unexpected twists and occasionally unleashed, unhinged aggression of Triptykon’s debut? Clearly this is an album that, while knowing of the expectations pinned on it and the revitalized reputation it’s going to be responsible for upholding, doesn’t give a shit and is going to do what it’s going to do. Joining Warrior on the release are drummer Norman Lonhard, bassist Vanja Slajh, numerous guests, and former Celtic Frost live guitarist V. Santura, whose modern black metal vocals contrast with Warrior’s own to great effect on early cuts “Goetia,” “Abyess Within My Soul” and blistering centerpiece “A Thousand Lies.” If there’s one single factor that separates Triptykon from Celtic Frost (the absence of Martin Eric Ain being obvious to the point of not really needing to be said), it’s Santura’s contributions. Plus, as a co-producer with Warrior, his affect on the overall sound of Eparistera Daimones is even broader, and judging from the outcome, it’s much to the album’s benefit.

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