Triptykon - live in Philadelphia (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


live in Philadelphia (2019)

live show

“Oooo! Oooo! Oooo!” chanted the crowd in tribute to vocalist/guitarist Tom G. Fischer’s famous vocal interjections at Philly's Filmore on April 14. The Celtic Frost legend, who has carried that band’s dark ethos to his newer band Triptykon, smiled, then grimaced, and then smiled again. In his stoic Swiss accent he announced, “You seem to have an unhealthy fixation on ‘ooooo.’ Is that really all you’ve learned from me?”

The band then cut into an extra heavy rendition of one of Triptykon’s gnarliest numbers, “Tree of Suffering Souls.” The live take was slower than the studio version with the band reveling in the tracks nasty, nasty, nasty twisting sound that resembles a jet engine crashing to earth. Fischer, who perhaps uncharacteristically thanked the audience a few times and even cracked a smile here or there, seemed to want to show how meaningful this music and the dark lyrics are to him.

While Triptykon has been playing a Celtic Frost heavy set list recently, it appears the band is now back into the contemporary mostly, with a heavy portion of Triptykon tracks making their way onto the setlist like “Goetia” and “Altar of Deceit.” For the show, the band was stoic, almost making it a point to say that the songs were more important than the musicians. Likewise, they made it a point to set ambiance. Most metal bands at Decibel beer & metal fest smashed along at volume ten the whole time. Yet, on “altar” for example, Triptykon stretched out the quiet gothic intro before slamming into that trudging smash which has become their trademark.

For his part, Fischer sounded wonderfully possessed, with his tar-roar cutting through the band’s wall-of-sound. Which, that of course, made the set even more vibrant when they launched from the generally lower, and heavier Triptykon tracks to the more revved up Celtic Frost classics. “Dethroned Emperor” was especially fiery with Fisher really drawling out the “em-por-reeerrrrr” refrain.

While a fair amount of metal either revels in the genre’s over-the-top imagery, or salutes hedonism for the sake of hedonism, Fischer and company were strikingly reserved in their on stage activities. For the most part, they did their music do the talking with room shaking guitar strikes (V. Santura walks that magic line between head bang thrashing and stone metal crushing) and floor vibrating bass smashing (how on earth does Vanja Slajh find tones that deep?) . This is a band that knows were the heaviest notes lie. By contrasting a reserved presentation again music that is decidedly explosive and cosmic, Triptykon quite interestingly seemed to emulate the presentation of spiritual music and how it moves adherence, despite the fact that their entire existence is forged in opposition to religion.

“War-ri-or! War-ri-or! War-ri-or!” the crowd again roared after a particularly massive tune, referring to his older “metal name”. Fittingly, Fischer responded in line with Triptykon’s approach to music as a whole. He said, “Thank you, but it is not just me. We are a band. In all the music that I’ve made, it was never just about me.”