As Celtic Frost arose from Hellhammer’s ashes, so arises Triptykon from Celtic
Created to further develop the darkness invoked by its immediate precursors, seminal black/extreme metal pioneers Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, Triptykon evolved from a Celtic Frost side project initiated by Tom Gabriel Fischer (a.k.a. Tom Gabriel Warrior), the group’s
singer, guitarist, and main songwriter.
Following five years of songwriting and recording sessions, the subsequent release of their acclaimed Monotheist album, and a 125-date world tour, mounting tensions began to cripple the resplendently disinterred Celtic Frost by late 2007. The situation eventually rendered it virtually impossible for Fischer to succeed in convening Celtic Frost for songwriting and rehearsal sessions for the intended follow-up to Monotheist. Vastly disenchanted and loath to resign to inactivity, Fischer resolved to establish what was to be a temporary substitute project designed to develop, record, and perform the music and lyrics he envisioned for the projected album. The core of the initially unnamed group was completed by Swiss underground bassist Vanja Slajh, a close friend from a past production project.
Talks with a variety of death/doom/black metal guitarists and drummers followed in early 2008. Among the musicians Fischer intended to approach to complete the new band was – rather unexpectedly, given the severity of their disagreements – Celtic Frost drummer Franco Sesa. Alas, it was not to be. The dissension within Celtic Frost ultimately proved insurmountable, and Fischer left the group on April 2, 2008, due to what his subsequent official statement described as an “irresolvable, severe erosion of the personal basis so urgently required to collaborate within a band so unique, volatile, and ambitious”. Fischer later wrote in his blog: “It was not my departure from Celtic Frost which caused the group’s inexorable demise. It was the group’s inexorable demise which caused my departure.”
The side project was now no longer a mere transient substitute to Celtic Frost but rather the descendant. Fischer named it Triptykon, an homage of sorts to the religiously-themed triptych paintings of the dark ages, such as Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden Of Earthly Delights (the right panel of which had been used as cover art for Celtic Frost’s Into The Pandemonium album in 1987) or Hans Memling’s The Last Judgment. As Fischer has frequently conceded
over the years, these paintings have exerted a distinctive influence on his personal creative universe. Moreover, the name “Triptykon” signifies the third and final occult extreme metal group formed by Fischer after Hellhammer and Celtic Frost; i.e., the completion of his very own triptych.
In late spring of 2008, Celtic Frost’s live guitarist, V. Santura of German black metal group Dark Fortress and progressive metal project Noneuclid, joined Triptykon as a full member.
While Triptykon’s initial rehearsal sessions, in late 2008, briefly saw Fischer’s long-time friend and former Celtic Frost drummer Reed St. Mark complete the line-up. This configuration proved unsatisfactory, however, and the group subsequently enlisted renowned German drummer Norman Lonhard (formerly of Fear My Thoughts).
Moreover, Triptykon succeeded in absorbing virtually the entire Celtic Frost infrastructure, from management to concert agency and road crew, and this became the foundation for all of the group’s further activities. Such infrastructure also included Prowling Death Records Ltd.,
London, the group’s own label (and home to Hellhammer and Celtic Frost), now run as a full partnership between Fischer and Triptykon’s manager, Antje Lange. Triptykon’s gestation, meanwhile, was interrupted only by Fischer’s two studio collaborations with Norway’s 1349 and work on Only Death Is Real, Fischer’s second book.
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The recording sessions for Triptykon’s first album, Eparistera Daimones (“to my left, the demons”), began in August 2009, at Santura’s own Woodshed Studio near Landshut, Germany. The album was produced and mixed by Fischer and Santura; it is a persistent development of the virulent and towering musical darkness perpetuated not only by Fischer’s early work but also within his extensive contributions to Monotheist. As was to be expected, a significant part of the music and lyrics on the album consists of material written during the past few years and originally intended for Monotheist’s successor. This is balanced by much new, original music written by Fischer and Santura since Triptykon’s inception.
Both music and lyrics so far disclosed by Triptykon reveal a group immersed in themes such as history, occultism, human disintegration, religious fanaticism, and nihilism. Songs such as “Abyss Within My Soul”, “A Thousand Lies”, and, particularly, “The Prolonging” bear witness to wastelands of eternal night. The transcending and mergence of seemingly distinct forms of imagination, a hallmark long prominent in Celtic Frost’s efforts, is naturally also abundant within Triptykon’s sphere of inspiration, which ranges across the works of, e.g., Pieter Bruegel, Roland Villeneuve, HR Giger, HP Lovecraft, Hieronymus Bosch, John Martin, and far beyond.
Only Death Is Real, Fischer’s book detailing Hellhammer’s existence and the inception of Celtic Frost, will be published by New York-based publishing house Bazillion Points, in February 2010.
Eparistera Daimones, Triptykon’s debut album, will be released through Century Media Records on March 22, 2010, under license by Prowling Death Records Ltd.
Triptykon are scheduled to commence playing live concerts on April 16, 2010, as headliners of the renown Roadburn Festival (where Fischer has been invited to act as the curator of the festival’s second day). Extensive touring is to follow, and the group has firmly stated that its live repertoire will be evenly divided between Triptykon’s own music and classic Celtic Frost material.