Tom G. Warrior. The name alone is sufficient to illustrate one of the most genius, creative, and worshipped figures of metal’s history. Having been the mastermind of Hellhammer/Celtic Frost music and one of the creators of extreme metal, he has since shifted from his chaotic, profane aura to a more avant-garde approach with his current band Triptykon. ‘Requiem’, an upcoming live album by Tom’s child, is an ode to his rich and troubling tale in metal.
Being comprised of a classic Celtic Frost tune, a newly written opus, and a controversial song from the final moments of Celtic Frost, the album takes an orchestrated, atmospheric approach to different parts of Tom’s journey. “Rex Irae”, which originally appeared on Celtic Frost’s 1987 ‘Into The Pandemonium’ album, is a perfect start for the experiment, injecting the crowd with doses of somberness. The track received a makeover of sorts but is still recognizable as a Celtic Frost’s great, even if in a new way.
The second part is a new song, “Grave Eternal”. Tom and the company choose a less metal aura here, betting more on atmospheric and avant-garde elements. This is probably the main reason that Dutch Metropole Orkest was asked to be a part of the concert, as the majority of the orchestrated moments are present here. The track was definitely written to fit this format, as it has very little to do with heavy metal.
As a 32-minute piece with no interaction from the crowd whatsoever, this is where things get a little bit worrying for me. I understand and am sympathetic to what Triptykon is trying to do here, but it’s hard to praise an album that has no energy, power, or climax on a metal website. ‘Requiem’ is, almost in its entirety, an atmospheric and intimal experience, which has in its nature to sacrifice any form of dynamic, blood-pumping no-frills old fashioned metal.
The album finishes off with ‘Monotheist’s (2006) “Winter”, which somewhat continues the somber and dense aura in detriment of powerful elements. There are perks to the whole avant-garde, gothic style of music and it shows here, as the gloomy passages and ice-cold atmosphere fill the spaces left by the slow-paced playing. If there is one thing that Triptykon excels, is providing a sad, hopeless feeling in the form of music.
This is an ambiguous album. It is perfectly executed, hauntingly beautiful, and almost of erudite cinematography. It is also lackluster in any form of entertainment you would expect from a live album, especially when it comes to interaction with the crowd. As mentioned above, the musicality and instrumental execution are top-notch, with special attention to drum monster Hannes Grossmann (Alkaloid, Hate Eternal, Eternity’s End) and Vanja Šlajh, especially in the vocal parts.
We all had high hopes for this, partially because Tom’s reputation needs no introduction. Alas, the final product is underwhelming, with no evident climaxes or glimpses of geniality; on the contrary, it seems to be a performance that focuses on musical perfection instead of feeling and, well, providing us with a show to remember.
As a gothic/doom metal album, ‘Requiem’ works wonderfully. The only problem is that, when inserting two Celtic Frost tracks here, fans will automatically expect something else than what is delivered by Tom and the company, hence the underwhelming part. This is best enjoyed with the lights out, closed eyes and as background music, so don’t expect to be blown away by Triptykon’s show here. Recommended only for die-hard fans of the band; Hellhammer/Celtic Frost old-school fans, stay away from this.