Disintegration. Of structures, of relationships, of mind, of flesh. Death, taxes, annoying customers and that. Inevitable. Inexorable. Thus when it comes, and you're stricken with a raging fever, a violent fervor, you best channel it, lest it devour you from the inside. Hellhammer relatively smoothly, Celtic Frost with turbulence. Rage, man from Switzerland, rage violently, and give countryman Giger a call on your telephone machine for a suitable reflection. Something nasty. The timeless horror that breeds in the noxious crevasse of the human spirit. Gather a likewise band, bleak pranksters this Triptykon, then hit record. Then we listen. Will we smile?
Two minutes of crawling chaos 'til the midnight cataract murders most foul and with precision. The demonic swarm of Goetia, the final word is theirs alone: drop such domineering, illusory dyads. The rusted troposphere tone of Frost's swansong is now sculpted subcutaneously: the initial strike of Huysmans' bellringer Carhaix au contraire the lumbering reverberations. Swift beginnings, torpid finish. With such augmented efficacy, the finest album opener in many a lunar cycle.
Fischer & Co. vs. the sludge monster. A strangled rasp and insistent drumwork (Norman Lonhard shines on this album) plot the topography of the Abyss Within My Soul, a Lovecraftian blasted heath, slow and ill luminous, so redolent of Cathedral's molasses-in-winter debut LP. Peel the veil, see In Shrouds Decayed, the hypnotic, bastard genetic moisture of Into the Pandemonium, Sisters of Mercy and The Swans. The selectively deployed creaky croon has improved to the point to where I'm convinced therein lies the faintest hint of Peter Murphy.
The Shrine echoes a 103-second gloomy sustain, announcing the hyperthrash/To Mega Therion mashup of A Thousand Lies. Sure, we receive fewer instances of the nigh-incomprehensible, snarling Warriorism of old, and the main riff isn't an immediate soul-destroyer as, say, Dethroned Emperor, but if this was a disgruntled employee, he'd be enrolled in anger management. Of course, he'd hit back with Descendant, a penetrating smear of laborious grime; listen intently to pick out bubbling veins below V. Santura's gurgling feedback, then get sideswiped by the vicious coup de grâce.
Subversion is the law of the Myopic Empire, a march undercut with piano and Vanja Slajh bass grind, a song that might require repetition before a comfortable settlement inside this listener's files. A dozen spins shall confirm or deny. The cradling dirge of My Pain mostly works in no small part to Simone Vollenweider's lullaby anchoring the bittersweet tang of this rotting sanctuary. Now it's time for mass. Ladies and tophats, open your hymnals to, given its near 20-minute length, the aptly-titled The Prolonging, a shifty, metalized neo-prog workout, leaden chunks of barks and chords falling about, stops and starts, boredom is but a fantasy save for you short-attention span wankers, wisps of plucked strings and tom hits spiraling: as you perish/I shall live. Submerge.
Comparing Eparistera Daimones to Apocalyptic Raids or the initial, crucial Frost output is an exercise in futility. Those releases laid the still-eviscerating blueprint that's been xeroxed a billion times by every black, death and extreme metal act worth its salt, a singular atmosphere of time and place and shadow. Perhaps only Slayer can lay claim to such a vital influence from those heady days. Here and now, as is so often not the case, the primary creative force didn't willfully engage in a campaign of misinformation: this is his darkest (read: lugubrious, grim) work yet. His best? Another question entirely. (The correct answer is Morbid Tales, if you were at all curious, and you are.) A logical extrapolation of the themes and sounds of Monotheist? Certainly.
We listened. We smiled, like Vlad before his forest of the impaled. Tell me again anger and hatred and despair aren't useful emotions. They'll come in quite handy this afternoon, when I'm still down here in this dump instead of at home watching Arsenal vs. Barcelona. In sum, despite a few niggling faults, a motherfucker of a record. Serving suggestion: in the witching hour, with headphones.