Saturday, 30 October 2010

Shattered again

Triptykon - Shatter
EPs are an underrated and often misunderstood medium of communicating an artist's music. This should come as no surprise as most bands view EPs as a wastebasket were they get rid of undesirable songs, songs that are not on the same level as their usual work, songs that don't fit on full albums, songs that are different etc. One of the exceptions have always been Celtic Frost. They introduced themselves with two more than classic EPs showing that a short album can be a full experience when treated seriously. 
Triptykon couldn't be a different case. The band states from the beginning that Shatter should be treated as a piece that accompanies Eparistera Daimones and that makes sense. The title track is a melancholic and melodic track based on female vocals, I am the Twilight is a heavy and claustrophobic nightmare, while the ambience of Crucifixus works well in the context of the record. The point of including the Celtic Frost tracks is  debatable. Yet since they opted to do it, they do it in a majestic way to say the least. The two songs are heavier and better than ever...and these are songs written before 26 years or so.
Me, I will go for the complete sessions boxed set as this would reveal the full experience Triptykon have to offer.

Cromagnon - Orgasm
Experimental band that was active during late sixties and was way ahead of its time. Minimal, psychedelic, folk, noise, industrial rock from 1969. 
Some of those terms and styles had not been invented until even decades later.  Adding the horrific vocals that range from black metal shrieks to moaning, screaming and chanting we get an album that is frightening even by today's standards.  
Julian Cope noted on opening track Caledonia..." Now, when you stick the needle into the groove that is opener, "Caledonia", you'll immediately think you're listening to Einsturzende Neubaten gone black metal, then you'll realize you're WRONG and that there was no reference points such as that available in 1968." 
Absolutely correct. Today, in 2010 we have the reference points to describe Cromagnon's music. I can't even imagine the reaction of the listeners back in late sixties when confronted with the beast that is Orgasm. This is progressive and forward thinking music by definition.      

Seraphic Decay
Seraphic Decay was an american death metal (mostly) label in early nineties. It was relatively short lived but managed to have quality underground releases during its existence. The label released works (mostky 7'') by Rigor Mortis, Incantation, Mortician, Derketa, Disgrace, Agathocles, Disgrace, Xysma, and other underground bands between 1990 and 1992. Those are difficult to find today, they were sought after by collectors even back in the day. is a site run by an obviously dedicated death metaller  and is a job well done. Streaming audio, photos, bios and all the information that is needed for all the label's releases. Not all the bands were great but this is not the point. The site is a great monument of a period that has been crucial for death metal. Seraphic Decay focused on the underground at the time when death metal started loosing orientation startled by the metal's mainstream lights. No wonder the label deteriorated by the time death metal became a completely lost cause somewhere in 1992. Death metal started loosing it from 1990 but 1991 for me marks the end of its golden era. Entombed were using Army of Lovers' singer for their Stranger Aeons video, MTV air play became a cause and even though there were excelent underground bands going on, the genre had lost its teeth. The momentum was lost once and for all. 

I realize that the underground status of a band or musician has become relative. What I didn't realize is when this has happened. Maybe it is the normal course of things as time passes, yesterday's underground to be today's mainstream but I still don't like it. Examples are plenty and one of them would be Steve DiGiorgio that started with Sadus and has worked since with legends like Autopsy, mainstream thrash bands like Testament, viking whatever bands like Vintersorg, hideous power metal bands like every power metal band on earth and Sebastian Bach!!!
Of course there's nothing to restrain an accomplished musician on certain music forms when he doesn't want to be restrained but a hired gun is light years away from a notable artist... and I like to view music as an artform.